Geek fans in Utah — once called the nerdiest state in America — are paying tribute to Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who died Monday at age 95.
Lee was among the celebrity guests at the first Salt Lake Comic Con — now called FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention — in 2013, though he was upstaged by the joint appearance of “Star Trek” star William Shatner and “Batman” legend Adam West.
The following year, 2014, Lee was the the main attraction at Salt Lake Comic Con and made the audience cheer when he declared, “You people have the greatest comic con in the world.” FanX organizers have trumpeted Lee’s endorsement every year since.
Lee was scheduled to speak at the Salt Lake City show in 2017, but ill health forced him to cancel. He did eventually talk to his Utah fans at that convention, via Skype.
“[We] don’t think he would want people to mourn him, but would rather they celebrate and emulate his passion for life,” FanX founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg said Monday in a statement. “[We] believe his secret to longevity was living such a productive life. He could have retired decades ago but instead he spent his time traveling the world, meeting fans, and inspiring them to reach for the stars and find the superhero within. … We will always remember the ‘Amazing’ Stan Lee for showing us that ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’"
Kerry Jackson, the founder of “Geek Show Podcast” and co-host of X96′s “Radio From Hell" show, was effusive in his praise for Lee.
“Through Spidey and The Avengers, he gave me a moral compass,” Jackson said Monday in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. “[He] taught me about the importance of responsibility, and principles to follow the example of. They are not just comic books to me.”
“RIP Stan Lee. A true superhero. Forever!” tweeted Kira Coelho, under her cosplay alias Kiki Furia.
Jay Whittaker, one of the panelists on the popular “Geek Show Podcast,” tweeted, “Thank you, Stan Lee, for EVERYTHING. Rest in Powers.”
Debra Jenson, assistant professor of communication at Utah State University, tweeted: “Thank you for the memories your characters, and then you, continue to give us. Your memory will live on, Stan.”
In his 2014 Utah appearance, Lee told fans to join in stamping out one of his pet peeves: The use of the phrase “comic book” as two words. "A 'comic book’ means a funny book,” Lee said. “A ‘comicbook’ is something special.”
Lee showed humility when a fan talked about how inspirational Lee’s comic characters were. “I was just writing these things to make a living, to pay the rent," Lee replied. “I didn’t know I was performing this great public service.”