In a further tribute to the legendary Stan Lee as part of his 100th birthday celebration year, Kartoon Studios will debut a first-ever exhibit, Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee on Tuesday, July 18th, at the Comic-Con Museum.
In advance of the annual San Diego Comic-Con (July 20 – 23), where Stan Lee appeared numerous times over the course of his 78-year career to delight his legions of fans, the new exhibit, which runs for eight months as part of the Comic-Con Museum, will feature never-before-seen items donated by auction houses and private collectors, including Heritage Auctions, DC Comics, Metropolis Comics, Gary Stiffelman, Dr. Michael Vassallo, Michael E. Uslan, Rob Prior, Danny Fingeroff, Benjamin LeClear, Mark Yturralde, Mark Ditko, Patrick Ditko, and Funko.
Curated by Michael Uslan, Originator and Executive Producer of the Batman movie franchise, and David Uslan, both consultants to Kartoon Studios’ “Stan Lee Universe” and the Comic-Con Museum, the exhibit will be highlighted by a series of paintings of Stan Lee from the renowned ambidextrous painter, Rob Prior. Additionally, the entire first section of the exhibit is devoted entirely to Stan Lee’s co-creators of the Marvel Universe, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and other amazing co-creators. The comic books on display begin in 1941 and follow the history of Stan Lee at Marvel Comics.
Incredibly rare and historic pieces of original art from the ‘Golden Age’ includes the earliest art known to still exist that features Stan’s comic book writing, plus a rare copy of Captain America #3, 1942, which includes his first use of the pen name “Stan Lee.” The many comic books to be featured across the walls and in display cases include the first issues and first appearances of what would soon constitute “The Marvel Universe.”
From what Stan Lee dubbed “The Marvel Age of Comics” the exhibit will also showcase a few of the rarest pieces of original artwork focusing on the co-creators of the Marvel Universe: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Gene Colan, Johnny Romita, John Buscema, Marie Severin, Jim Steranko, and others. Never before seen paintings by the legendary Greg Hildebrandt, who painted the first Star Wars movie poster and the 1970s Lord of the Rings artwork that influenced the look of the films, will be on display.
Additionally, courtesy of DC Comics, there will be a display of comic books and original art from the historic time Stan Lee met with his chief competitor, DC Comics, where he re-imagined Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and many others the way he would have created them at Marvel.
Lastly, Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee will also feature one of the final creations of Stan Lee, never before seen by the public.
Andy Heyward, Kartoon Studios’ Chairman & CEO, said: “It has been our privilege to manage the rights of the Stan Lee brand and to ensure that we honor the legacy of one of the most creative forces of our generation, as we grow it into an ongoing robust business. As we celebrate what would have been Stan’s 100th birthday year, we are grateful to have the Comic-Con Museum and the talents of Michael Uslan and David Uslan to curate this unprecedented exhibit and to continue to develop initiatives that pay tribute to the man responsible for creating some of the most memorable and successful characters and stories of all time!”
“We are incredibly honored and proud to work with the Comic-Con Museum to pay tribute to our ultimate hero with this one-of-a-kind exhibit devoted to the man who was the co-creator of the pantheon of Marvel super-heroes, and considered to be the PT Barnum of the comic book industry, as well as featuring some of the most talented people to ever work in the comic book industry!”, Michael Uslan and David Uslan jointly stated. “We are tremendously appreciative of the generosity of those who donated to make this a spectacular experience for Stan’s many fans. We truly believe he would have declared this exhibit to be “Amazing! Fantastic! Incredible! Uncanny!”
The Comic-Con Museum is open Tuesday – through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus July 24, 2023 following the Comic-Con Convention, with the last entry at 4 p.m. Children five years of age and below are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at comic-conmuseum.org or at the door.