"Hello True Believers." That's how Stan Lee greeted a screaming, cheering crowd at the BOOM! Studios panel.
"I never get an introduction," lamented the living legend when Mark Waid said "The man who needs no introduction."
Waid introduced Ross Richie, Boom! Studios publisher and the panel's purpose, to introduce people further to the new line of comics developed by Lee.
Richie discussed the viral campaign, and Stan Lee joked that doctors contacted him about back pain from the "Stan's Back" logo.
Waid discussed the origins of the deal, and said in their first meeting, "Stan rolled back his sleeves, and said "all right" and I got schooled."
"You'll notice when he talks like that, I don't interrupt," said Lee of Waid's flattering comments.
Waid continued, telling the audience that Lee is heavily involved in every step. He wants to see the scripts, see the art, discuss the stories with the editorial team and more.
Going into the individual properties with Richie, he first brought up Soldier Zero by Paul Cornell and Javier Pina. "Pina delivers eye-popping visuals with this."
The story, for the uninitiated, centers on an Afghanistan war vet who is wheelchair bound. He gets equipped with an "alien weapon of war" suit, which gives him powers and the ability to walk again.
Waid noted initially he was going to be someone who had a lifelong disease printing him from walking. Stan Lee came in toward the end of initial development and said he should be a war veteran. That book premieres this month. The covers were shown for the first issue, as well as the first few interior pages. Lee said, "don't leave it up there long enough for them to read it, we want them to read the book!"
The Traveler, by Mark Waid and Chad Hardin was up next. "Chad's storytelling is great, his energy is so strong, this guy is going to be a breakout artist." Time travel is Waid's favorite sub-genre of science fiction. This hero doesn't care about the "butterfly effect" and will just go ahead and change anything in history if he needs to in order to protect someone. The villains are the Split-Second Men, a name Lee thinks is funny.
"I used to have DOCTOR DOOM… now we have Split-Second. But I like it, it's different and courageous, and you're gonna like it or you'll answer to ME," he joked.
Preview pages were shown of Traveler as well.
The third series is Starborn by Chris Roberson and Khary Randolph. Lee said he figured out the characters were born in the stars "all by [him]self" with Waid trading barbs and saying, "you're earning every penny, Stan."
Waid and Lee argued a lot about this story and how they wanted it to go. "It's okay to have characters that are aliens, but you have to be able to relate to them," said Lee.
Waid noted Roberson's pedigree, which outside of comics also includes sci-fi novels.
Lee, riffing off Roberson's I, Zombie book said he didn't understand why zombies were such bad guys. "If you died, and woke up, you'd be so happy!" Waid joked that would be their fourth book.
Waid continued to talk about Starborn, with Lee ribbing him the whole time. "You're doing so good, and I'm being a bastard," said Lee to laughs. The central character thinks he has created this huge expansive world with aliens and battles, only to find out they're actually repressed memories.
The panelists also praised the artwork in the book by Randolph.
Lee said of Waid's description, "Don't hold it against him that he told you the whole damn story. Buy it anyway and see if he missed anything." Three covers were shown for that book as well.
Stan Lee signed out then, saying, "These guys are great. I've learned as much from them as they have from me. So buy the books, please, or they'll never have me on another panel!"Which Stan Lee BOOM! title are you most excited for?