Excelsior! Comic Book Legend Stan Lee comes to S.F.’s Amazing Fantasy

If you miss the comic-book creator's appearance this afternoon, you can catch him at tonight's Giants game.

Stan Lee (Hands of Respect)

Having helped create iconic comic book characters such as Spider Man, The Hulk, The X-Men, an Iron Man, Stan Lee is a virtually unmatched luminary in pop culture. The 94-year-old has endeared himself to generations of fans over his long, fruitful career in the comic business, and continues to be involved with the ever-expanding Marvel Universe.

Bay Area fans are in for a special treat this week, as Lee will be appearing at Amazing Fantasy in San Francisco today, Friday, Sept. 15, from noon to 2 p.m. to sign autographs and take photos. It’s rare for the comics giant to appear in a local shop — usually, he’s at huge conventions — so this is a unique chance to meet the legend in such an intimate setting.

“We never thought something like this could happen, it’s fantastic,” says Frank McGinn, owner of Amazing Fantasy.

The shop on Irving Street has been in business since 1978, and McGinn, who started working there in the mid-’80s, took over in 2000 and renamed the store after one of his favorite Lee comic books.

Lee will also attend “Marvel Night” at AT&T Park with the San Francisco Giants Friday night. At both events, he will be spreading word about his new “Hands of Respect” initiative, which encourages people to respect folks from all walks of life, and which partners with law enforcement groups from around world.

“What we’re doing is trying to bring back a basic human fundamental of having respect for one another,” says Jerry Olivarez, Executive Director for Hands of Respect.

Lee has long been a champion of social justice — from the panels of the comics he’s written, often featuring outcasts and their attempt to fit into society, to an open letter he published back in 1968 as part of his “Stan’s Soapbox” column denouncing racism and bigotry.

“Stan has literally put his blood, sweat and tears into this campaign, it’s the most passionate project he’s ever worked on — and that is out of his own mouth.”

Stan Lee at Amazing Fantasy, Sept. 15, noon – 2 p.m., $120-$150, 650 Irving St., 415-681-4344 or amazingfantasty.com

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