Excelsior! Stan Lee and Kevin Smith teamed up to rock MegaCon's opening night

Fans donated $25,000 to help victims of Hurricane Irma, and to dine with Lee and appear in Smith's next movie.

Share on Nextdoor

Here are some of the best moments Friday from Stan Lee’s celebrity panel at MegaCon Tampa Bay:

On why Lee wanted to travel to Florida to help raise money for victims of Hurricane Irma:

“We’re all neighbors living in this country. It would be very conceited if I said my being here was helping, but I wanted to be here to give what support I could.”

On what advice Lee could offer one fan to be more like himself:

“I can’t give any advice how to be like me. I’m pretty unique. I had competitors who said I was from another planet.”

On the Stan Lee secret to being successful:

“Whatever you do, try to please yourself. Do something you think is great. I can only write things I would enjoy reading.”

Kevin Smith, talking about the impact of Lee’s legacy:

“The work of Stan Lee taught me to be a good person. I was an altar boy, and the Catholic Church didn’t even teach me to be a good person.”

Kevin Smith and Stan Lee, discussing Smith’s appearance to assist the Feeding Florida auction:

Stan Lee: “You are one great auctioneer.”

Kevin Smith: “Well, they gave me this responsibility, and with great responsibility comes…whatever.”

Kevin Smith, reacting to a bid for a custom skateboard signed by Lee:

"$700! You could buy so much weed."

Kevin Smith and Stan Lee, discussing the chance to win a private dinner with Lee in Tampa during MegaCon:

Kevin Smith: “Dinner with Stan Lee on Saturday. Once in a lifetime. Stan’s looking at the offer right now, ‘I didn’t agree to this shit!’

Stan Lee: “I better brush up on my table manners.”

Kevin Smith: “$1,700 bucks, and he will use a napkin.”

click to enlarge Kevin Smith joins Stan Lee on-stage Friday to auction off exclusive items to raise money for victims of Hurricane Irma. - John W. Allman
John W. Allman
Kevin Smith joins Stan Lee on-stage Friday to auction off exclusive items to raise money for victims of Hurricane Irma.

Friday (Sept. 29) evening began with a proposal and ended with a $10,000 donation to Feeding Florida, a nonprofit agency, to assist victims of Hurricane Irma, which auctioned off an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to spend a weekend with Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee. 

Stan Lee came to MegaCon. Just your average, ordinary Friday night at MegaCon Tampa Bay.

Nearly 1,000 fans turned out for the first big event of MegaCon’s second year in Tampa, and it did not disappoint.

Lee, 94, is credited with creating or co-creating more than 300 characters in the Marvel Comics universe, including The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and, of course, Spider-Man. His name and face are synonymous with popular geek culture.

Though he now rides a motorized scooter and is hard of hearing, Lee didn’t show many signs of slowing down. He was feisty, funny and on-point, trading barbs with his long-time manager, Max Anderson, who sat with Lee to guide him through more than a dozen fan questions.

Convention attendees young and old thanked Lee for inspiring them. Many asked for life and career advice. David Gagliano of Melbourne, FL wasted no time when he was the first person chosen to ask Lee a question. He turned to his girlfriend Donna Burchman in the audience, and proposed. She said yes.

click to enlarge Donna Burchman got a surprise at the start of Friday Stan Lee celebrity panel when her boyfriend, David Gagliano, proposed in front of nearly 1,000 attendees. - John W. Allman
John W. Allman
Donna Burchman got a surprise at the start of Friday Stan Lee celebrity panel when her boyfriend, David Gagliano, proposed in front of nearly 1,000 attendees.

Lee congratulated the couple, and then settled in to reminisce about his near-80-year career in the comic book industry. He talked about how his first job before he was 20 years old was working at a publishing company for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who created Captain America.

“I didn’t want to get in comics,” Lee said. “I needed a job.”

One fan asked about the first comic convention Lee ever attended.

“The first one was in New York City in a cellar of an apartment building,” he said. “It wasn’t exactly like this.”

Another attendee asked what super power Lee wished he had.

“Being able to be funnier on a panel than I am,” he said, laughing. “I used to think the best power would be mind-reading. The best power in the world would be luck.”

“That is you,” Anderson replied to his boss. “You are the example of luck.”

“I’m not that lucky,” Lee fired back, looking Anderson up and down. “If I was, I would have a beautiful girl sitting here.”

Midway through Lee’s panel, a special guest walked on-stage — writer/director/actor Kevin Smith, who first met Lee in 1995 on the set of his second film, Mallrats.

“I’ve known Mr. Stan Lee’s work my entire life,” Smith said.

“What’s he saying?” Lee asked.

“I’m just saying nice things about you,” Smith quipped. “Sit tight.”

Smith was on-hand to serve as auctioneer for seven one-of-a-kind items, including signed lithographs, comics, a private dinner with Lee and more. In all, $25,000 was raised Friday night with the highest bid, $10,000, received for a trip to Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con on October 27, 2017.

Even Smith got in on the action, making an impromptu announcement that he would auction off a paid cameo in his next film, Jay and Silent Bob Get a Reboot, which will film in Louisiana.

“However, it’s a Kevin Smith movie,” Smith cautioned, “so you’ll destroy your career right away.”

As the bidding reached $2,000, Smith stopped: “It’s a Kevin Smith movie. Did you hear that part? $2,000 is the budget.”

He stopped again when another person bid $4,000: “Oh my God, we could have made 19 Clerks for that.”

And, again, as someone bid $5,000: “You do realize Ben Affleck is not in this movie?” Smith asked.

The cameo appearance closed at $6,000, the second-highest bid behind the chance to spend a weekend with Lee at his own comic convention, which includes a private dinner with Lee and an exclusive concert with musical group, The Black Eyed Peas.

About The Author

John W. Allman

John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films...
Scroll to read more Local Arts articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.