Among comics lovers, Stan Lee was as much a superhero as the characters he helped create.
Those fans, along with Lee's friends and colleagues, got to pay their final respects at a Los Angeles memorial Wednesday night for the Marvel Comics mastermind who helped bring the world Spider-Man, Black Panther and The Incredible Hulk.
Lee was called a mythmaker and a dream dad — and was compared to the pope, Jesus and the burning sun — during the public remembrance and celebration held around his hand and footprints outside the TCL Chinese Theatre. The event was followed by a private gathering inside the theatre, according to Lee's company, POW! Entertainment, which organized the memorial.
This was no night to hold back for the friends, co-creators and super-fans of the Marvel Comics mastermind who died last month at age 95.
Lee-lovers like filmmaker Kevin Smith and actor Mark Hammill told tales of their hero worship. Smith, a Lee super-fan, was among the hosts of the event whose title opens with Lee's catchphrase: "Excelsior! A Celebration of the Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible & Uncanny Life of Stan Lee ."
The evening included speakers, musical performances, an art exhibit, and costumes and props from Lee's creations and Marvel-movie cameos.
Smith moderated a discussion of Lee's life and work that included Hamill, actor Vincent D'Onofrio and Wu Tang Clan member RZA.
Smith, in a statement, called Lee "the literary titan of comic books" and "our modern-day Mark Twain."
Lee's only child, daughter J.C. Lee, received a key to the city of Los Angeles in her father's honor from Mayor Eric Garcetti.
A U.S. Army trumpeter and bagpipers played songs of mourning for Lee, a World War II veteran, surrounded by Lee fans in their own impeccable uniforms — dressed as X-Men and Avengers.
Lee died at a Los Angeles hospital in November at age 95. He was laid to rest in a small private funeral the same week.
Lee's wife and partner in nearly everything, Joan Lee, died in July of 2017, leaving a void that made her husband, by then in mental and physical decline, vulnerable to hangers-on.
Lawsuits, court fights and an elder abuse investigation emerged around Lee, but all appeared to be resolved in the months before his death.
He was the face of Marvel until the end of his life and was most widely recognized for his constant cameos in dozens of Marvel movies spanning his last decades.
His co-creations with comic artists also included The Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man and most of the other heroes in the Marvel comic and cinematic universes.