Stan "The Man" Lee
do you read comics? a lot of comics? a whole, whole lot of comics?! i do. as a comic book fanatic, one mystery always puzzled me: why do Reed Richards, Nick Fury, Peter Parker (in Earth X), and every other middle-aged super-hero have grey hair on the sides of their heads? i had never seen that hair pattern in real life... until, that is, i began my research for this portrait. Stan Lee, the co-creator of most of the Marvel Universe, has grey hair on the sides of his head.
it's a small wonder that Reed Richard's was created in Stan Lee's image. what amazes me more is how his characters -so many of his characters- emerged into lives of their own. in his comic books, Stan Lee frequently references William Shakespeare. in those stories and Lee's autobiography, he writes with sincere humility about the "small offering" that he has made in comparison to "The Bard." i wonder if Stan Lee knows that Shakespeare, in his time, was not a well-respected writer. while he was prolific and successful (as Stan Lee is), Shakespeare was criticized for stealing stories from previous sources. (Did you know that the Hulk was lifted directly from the film versions of Dr. Jeckell & Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein?) More seriously, Shakespeare's plays were dismissed as violent, escapist melodramas that would only appeal to a lowbrow audience. it's a good thing that didn't have the Comic Code back then.
this portrait was created as part of a gift to be presented to Stan Lee at the 2004 Wizard World Tour.