On Tuesday, Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee had his legend cemented — literally — in Los Angeles, when he joined the great icons of Hollywood who have pressed their hands and feet into wet cement in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre.
“All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Lee told the crowd that turned out for the ceremony. “I've always wondered: ‘Why is the bottom of your heart more important than the top of your heart?’ I thank you from my whole heart, and you've made this day certainly totally unforgettable, almost unbelievable.”
But it was a bittersweet honor for Lee, whose wife, Joan, died on July 3, bringing their nearly 70-year marriage to an end.
“I've been the luckiest man because I have had friends, and to have the right friends is everything,” Lee said. “People you can depend on, people who tell you the truth.... I have been lucky. I've been lucky to have a wonderful wife.”
After placing his hands and white sneakers in the cement, Lee told Fox News it was an honor he never could have imagined.
“It's hard to put it into words,” he said. “I never expected something like this when I was creating the characters or writing them. I was just hoping the books would sell so I would keep my job and be able to pay the rent.
“All of the sudden, to realize that the characters have meant so much to people and that they would actually go to the trouble of having me sign my name in whatever the hell that is I signed it ... it's hard to believe. It's all like a dream.”
It’s far from the first major honor the 94-year-old has received.
At 71 he received a comic book creator’s greatest honor: induction into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. And at 85, the creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Thor, Black Panther, the X-Men and the Avengers was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Just last weekend, he was honored as a Disney Legend at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. This weekend, he is expected to be honored at Comic-Con in San Diego.
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.