In a private event at Ace Comic Con Arizona yesterday, Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers presented the 95-year-old comic book author and former Marvel editor-in-chief a special challenge coin that, when turned over, is a key to the Arizona city.
"My part for you is not a proclamation," Weiers told Lee. "My part for you is a challenge coin. This is the city of Glendale and I want you to have my challenge con and then on the opposite side it says from the office of the mayor, of course, Glendale Arizona, and then your own key."
Lee accepted the honor with his trademark wit, joking that the coin was going to cost him more at the tailor's shop.
"Isn't that great," Lee said. "It's heavy, too. It'll break a hole in my pocket. I'll have to pay the tailor extra money for it."
The presentation just days after Lee's pregame appearance and puck drop for Friday's Arizona Coyotes hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers was cancelled in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Lee, though it is not clear if the allegations played a part in the cancellation. Those allegations surfaced Tuesday and claimed that Lee made inappropriate comments and advances towards several nurses who had worked in-home for Lee at his Beverly Hills home. A statement from Lee's lawyer, Tom Lallas, categorically denied the claims, insisting that Lee "fully intends to fight to protect his stellar good name and impeccable character."
As reported by the Daily Mail, a nursing company that had been employed by Lee claimed that young, female nurses complained that he groped them, demanded oral sex, and walked around naked. Lee and the company reportedly parted ways at the end of last year and, according to Lallas, no parties have filed a civil action or a police report in the matter. Lallas further claimed in an email to The Arizona Republic and AZ Central that Lee was asked to pay money with the threat that if he did not, the accuser would go to the media.
"Various anonymous individuals have attempted to extort money from Mr. Lee based on false allegations, but when we have asked them to identify themselves and provide their full legal names and contact information, they have, not surprisingly, gone radio silent," Lallas wrote.
However, if the key ceremony is any indication, Lee is not letting the allegations get him down. He is scheduled to appear at the very first Ace Comic Con in Glendale this weekend, appearing on both Saturday and Sunday. The event itself runs January 13-15. And Lee won't be the only star in the Marvel Universe at Ace this weekend. Stars of Captain America: Civil War, including Chris Evans (Captain America), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barns), and Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) are all attending as well.
Lee will make his next cameo appearance in the upcoming Black Panther movie. Based on the character he co-created with Jack Kirby, Black Panther will open in theaters February 16.