When Stan Lee came to UT Austin, everyone was trying to get tickets. Except for me. Stan Lee, for those who are too cool to know, is famous for creating Spiderman, The Hulk, and other comic book characters. I've never once read a comic book, and despite being one, I have no particular affinity for superheroes. The night that Stan was to talk, one of my friends came over. He had somehow gotten ahold of several VIP tickets to the appearance. VIP tickets were up front.
The year before Ben Stein had come and gave a very interesting speech. Afterwards I went up and got him to sign a one dollar bill. In retrospect, I wish I had a Doubly Deuce at the time. I figured that I would temporarily suspend my gangsta lifestyle and see what this nerd comic book crap was all about.
[I know this seems like it will be a boring story. It won't be, so stop whining and read to the end. Then leave a comment and tell me I was right.]
Stan Lee was an excellent speaker. He started off by telling us that he didn't have a speech written, and started rambling on and on about the early days of comics. Despite having zero interest in comics, most of his stories were fascinating.
For example, have you ever wondered why the Hulk is green? Me neither.
At first the Hulk was grey. I guess he was supposed to look like he was made out of stone or something. However, back in the triassic period, when comic books were cool, the printing technology was really poor. The Hulk would sometimes appear as black as I do, and other times as black as Michael Jackson does. His editors told him that the hulk needed to be a different color
Why green? Because no major superhero was green.
As the speech drew to a close, he announced that he would be answering questions before his time was up. Two microphones were brought to the aisles - one menacingly close to where I was. When he announced that he would be taking questions, you could see certain portions of the demographic quiver in joy.
I knew exactly what I should ask.
I looked around the room. There were a lot of people there. How would they take my question?
I jumped up to get in line. I was second.
The first guy blabbered on with some stupid question like "Do you feel that any of the characters you've written about have shaped your political views?"
You could see from his facial expression that Stan regarded it as a totally useless question as well. He answered politely with a reply that ended in "... so I hope that answers your question."
Then it was my turn. Thousands of eyes were on me. I cleared my throat.
"Well, Stan," I started, "I've been giving a lot of thought to becoming a superhero lately..."
The crowd started to chuckle. Stan interrupted, "You should!"
"... but the problem is that I can't think of a good name. Can you help me?"
The crowd cheered, lifted me up above them and sang my praises while showering me with money and the phone numbers of their sisters. When that was over, Stan answered.
"Well... you're putting me on the spot a little bit. Hmm.... If I had to come up with one right now... Quintessential Man."
Whoa! It was as if he knew me. What a perfect name! So from now on, whenever you see me fighting crime, feel free to call me Quintessential Man.
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