75 Years of Marvel with Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Kevin Smith at the Hammer Museum


Stan Lee and Roy Thomas at Hammer Museum

Let me ask you this… What was the first Marvel comic book you owned? When did you purchase your first Marvel comic book?

It was in 1939 that Marvel Comics began in New York led by Stanley Martin Lieber, known as Stan Lee. It was also the same year my mom was born. In other pop culture history, two of the epic movies “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” both had their world premieres. It was also the year that the first ever world science fiction convention was held.

75 Years of Marvel Tickets

Culture Lovers at 75 Years of Marvel Book Signing

On stage during 75 Years of Marvel Book Launching and Signing

I am proud to say that I was one of lucky few to attend the MARVELous celebration of 75 Years of Marvel at The Billy Wilder Theater Hammer Museum last December 6th. To add to that, I brought my 12-year old son to witness the grandfathers of super hero comic books, Stan Lee and Roy Thomas. The event was hosted by filmmaker and comedian/raconteur Kevin Thomas.

In celebration of 75 years of Marvel, TASCHEN, the book publisher presented a book launching “75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen” by Roy Thomas. The event was an inside look at the mighty history of the House of Ideas, followed by Q&A and book signings by legendary Marvel icons Stan Lee and Roy Thomas.

Kevin Smith interviews Stan Lee and Roy Thomas

Even though it took more than an hour to commute from Orange County to Westwood, it was so worth the drive. As my son and I walked through the Hammer building, the line was staggering. As a blogger, I was fortunate to get a press pass. The event was so popular that they ran out tickets.  Those who were not able to go inside the theater got to watch in an outside courtyard on a big screen. I was impressed by how well organized the event was. 

Ruchel Freibrun popbuff blogger and son Gerald

When my son and I found our seat numbers, I chatted with a fan beside me named Alex from Los Angeles. Alex enthused “I grew up with Marvel. I loved the X-Men as a kid so this is my chance to see Stan Lee and Kevin Smith was a huge deal for me. Hoping there’s a lot of good discussion about the history…where it’s going, some of the design choices and story choices in the past so hoping there’s a lot of information we can get from this.”

This is a cool event ladies and gentlemen. I never thought I’d live so long as to be standing in a museum and talking about comic books. But that’s the world we live in now – Kevin Smith

First up on the stage was Kevin Thomas frocked with his trademark hockey uniform outfit. Kevin, a lifelong comic book fan, directed and written several films including the ’90s flicks “Clerks”, “Chasing Amy” and “Mall Rats”. Upon reaching the podium he started with the words,”This is a cool event ladies and gentlemen. I never thought I’d live so long as to be standing in a museum and talking about comic books. But that’s the world we live in now.”

Later on, he also mentioned, “We’re in this room because we loved these stories. We loved the idea of a simple story about the whole world running away from the worst thing that ever happened and a couple people in very colorful costumes running toward it man. That’s what always brings us together.”  

Towards almost the end of his introduction Smith said, “The internet change everything but this book…the book we’re talking about today is the internet for Marvel in book form. This is the book I dreamed about as a child. Something that massive that will legitimize my passion.”

Kevin Thomas as moderator at 75 Years of Marvel event

Kevin Smith first introduced Roy Thomas as the original comics fan boy and called him the absolute legend. Smith described him as the little fan from Missouri who loved comic books enough to get himself to New York to start to work in the comic industry and go on to create some of this company’s biggest characters.

Next up was Stan “The Man” Lee. Smith introduced Lee as a modern day Mark Twain and he also mentioned “This man was in “Mall Rats ladies and gentlemen.” As he continued to introduce Lee he explained he was a figure that “Without whom we won’t have the Marvel universe we know.

Stan Lee at 75 years of Marvel Book Signing at Hammer Museum

 This was the guy who at one point said, ‘You know I’m not gonna do this anymore. And his wife said to him ‘you know what…. write the one story you wanna write..write anyway you want in that way… if you quit after this job, it does not matter. At least you did it the way you wanted to do it.’ And that was the birth of the Marvel universe.

Stan Lee and Roy Thomas and Kevin Smith Live on Stage at the Hammer Museum

As Lee walked on the stage he greeted the audience “Hello culture lovers!” and received a standing ovation.

Stan Lee and Roy Thomas Sign 75 Years of Marvel at Hammer Museum

To see more about this MARVELous event Live! Click here!

Special thanks to Nancy Lee from Hammer Museum

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