There will probably be plenty of dispute (at this point, seemingly more so among fans than anyone directly involved) about exactly how much credit Marvel's Stan Lee deserves for the creation of this or that component part of the Marvel Universe for many years to come. What likely won't be disputed is that because of Lee's theatrical public-persona, willingness to engage with fans and eagerness to make readers as familiar with the people behind the characters as they were with the characters themselves, he deserves more credit than almost any other entity in comics - short of DC's Julius Schwartz - for helping create the world of comic-book "fandom" that currently fuels the booming convention and expo circuit (among other things).
As such, that same world of fandom will likely be sad to learn that it will now have to make do with less of Lee himself. The legendary creator has announced a scaling-back of his schedule that will make 2016's Fan Expo Canada his final convention appearance in that country.
Lee, who is 93 years old but said to be in good health, made the announcement earlier today in a statement reading in part:
"I've had the pleasure of participating in Fan Expo Canada over the years and I've always been so impressed by how committed and loyal the fans are."
"Longevity in this business is only truly possible with the support of the fans - and Toronto has some of the best. As a result, I'm making Fan Expo Canada my last Canadian public appearance. I look forward to seeing new and familiar faces in September."
Operated under the auspices of Fan Expo HQ, the largest entertainment convention group in North America (and one of the largest on Earth, period) reputedly hosts over 350,000 fans annually at Fan Expos in Canada, Vancouver, Regina and Dallas; along with the Toronto ComiCon, and Dallas Comic Con and MegaCon. Fan Expo Canada 2016 will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from September 1-4, and is expected to welcome some 140,000 fans. Informed of Lee's decision, Fan Expo HQ Show Director Andrew Moyes stated:
While the news is sure to come as a blow to legions of fans, who've been hyper-aware of the very public Lee's advancing age in recent years, it should be noted that he has not made any "final appearance" announcements for his native U.S. In July, Lee was "rushed to the hospital" after feeling ill and calling 911, but was up and walking hours later to attend the premiere of Marvel's Ant-Man.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, Lee began work for Marvel (then Timely) as an assistant, but had ambitions as a writer and quickly rose through the ranks starting with early work in the WWII-era Captain America comics. He would become an interim editor at 19, and eventually succeed Martin Goodman as the company's publisher in 1972. In the intervening years (along with a stint in the U.S. Army Signal Corps) he and fellow creatives like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others revolutionized the medium by introducing a previously unheard of level complexity and flawed humanity to superhero archetypes; creating a succession of characters and an inter-connected "universe" of continuity that today fuels a billion dollar empire and serves as basis for some of the most popular motion-picture franchises in the world.
Source: Fan Expo HQ