In an impromptu video released after Stan Lee's passing, the Marvel Comics impresario, who died Monday at age 95, expressed his love for his fans.
"So many wonderful moments with Stan came spontaneously," reads a message posted Wednesday on his official Twitter page. "As we were setting up the camera one day, he casually started talking about his fans. We know how much Stan meant to you, and we thought it would be nice for you to hear how much your support meant to him."
In the undated but relatively recent 98-second video there, a white-haired Lee, wearing a white shirt and beige slacks, sitting in an easy chair before two unidentified, mostly unseen men, responds to being told how much his fans love his sense of humor. "Well, it's an equal lovefest," he says, "because I love my fans. I cannot tell you how much I love my fans. Sometimes at night I'm sitting here and I'm thinking, 'Ah, what's it all about?' Y'know? And then I get a letter from a fan or I read something or I see something or I remember something, and I realize: It's so lucky to have fans, fans who really care about you."
He goes on to say, "They make me feel so great. And there's something — if you think about it — that is wonderful about somebody caring about you as I care about them, whom you've never met, who may live in another part of the world. But they care and you have something in common and occasionally you contact each other. And this business of fans, I think, is terrific and I love 'em all."
As of Thursday mid-afternoon, the video had been viewed more than four million times, and retweeted more than 100,000 times.
Marvel Comics additionally posted a more than four-minute tribute video on its website, with photos of Lee, convention video and a snippet of a black-and-white, 1968 TV pilot for a Stan Lee talk show, as Marvel executives reminisce about the co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and other comic-book characters.
"Stan's best creation was always Stan," senior vice president and executive editor Tom Brevoort says, adding that Lee "was able to somehow tap into his own larger-than-life, self-effacing and self-aggrandizing at the same time personality."
"He championed all kinds of different voices, all kinds of points of view, and the concept of diversity and equality and conversations about social politics," says Sana Amanat, vice president of content and character development, as the video shows images of the Black Panther, comics' first black superhero, and the Falcon, the medium's first African-American superhero. "There will never be a world without Stan Lee," she says later. "He's the heart of the Marvel Universe."