Stan Lee meets a future comic creator by the name of Paul Jenkins.
Little Paul is sitting outside, looking pretty bummed. A familiar figure pops up and asks the true believer why he's feeling down. Paul says he's making a comic but it sucks. Stan asks to see it and Paul shows it to him. There's an illustration of Spidey fighting Dudley Moore. Stan tells Paul that he should start his stories out with more omph. Instead of "Once Upon a Time," He recommends "Excelsior!" Paul asks how to spell it and Stan hooks him up.
Paul walks with Stan, asking him if he is magic. Stan says he's talent, which is better than magic. With talent, you can create an entire world before breakfast. Paul looks up and sees Thor and Namor flying above him. He asks where Spider-Man is and Stan tells him he can never see him coming because he's sneaky. Spidey is sticking to a tree right behind Stan and Paul.
Stan tells Paul that he believes he is destined for create great things and tells him to try and create something with his mind. He creates a little doodle at first. On his second try he creates a golden guardian. Paul asks who he is and Stan tells him that he's one of Paul's creations. He's far away because he's an idea that hasn't come to him yet. Paul asks if he can fly and Stan says a lot of the best ones usually do. With that, the Sentry takes flight. Stan bids Paul farewell and encourages Paul to keep working towards creating great things.
Boy meets living legend. This is a touching story, one that reminds me of Paul Jenkins' works on Peter Parker: Spider-Man with stories like Heroes Don't Cry. Paul writes some excellent action stories, but some of my favorite stories from him are just like this one. I read this story a few years ago and with all the talk about magic in the Spider books these days, hearing Stan say talent is better than magic made me laugh out loud because it really is true.
I've never met Stan Lee but I've read many interviews with him and seen many TV spots with him and he seems like a very down-to-Earth fellow. So I imagine he'd be just as encouraging to an up and coming comic creator just as he was in this story.
Mark Buckingham's art is always impressive and it was great to see him work with Paul again.
Always nice to see these type of stories appear in comics.