It is our second Christmas without comics legend Stan Lee, but the writer and editor who looms larger over the artform of comics than any other figure is far from forgotten. In the spirit of that, ComicBook.com is continuing our tradition of looking back each holiday season to the time when, in 2002, the late Marvel icon read Clement Clarke Moore's beloved poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," better known to most audiences as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." The poem has been the inspiration for adaptations in prose, comics, and cinema, both played relatively straight and very different (there's a Sesame Street variant where Cookie Monster eats all Santa's cookies and has to surreptitiously replace them). But it's hard not to get a little emotional hearing ol' Stan read it aloud.
You can see the video above. While introducing the poem, Lee jokes that Clement Clarke Moore would likely "turn over in his grave if he knew I was going to read this."
Fans who grew up watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends will instantly recognize Lee's voice and his narration style. Even in his advanced years (he was almost 90 when this was recorded), he never lost that characteristic attitude.
Lee, the most celebrated figure in American comics, began his comics career in the 1940s and is widely credited with revolutionizing superhero storytelling by co-creating (largely with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) the Marvel Comics Universe in the 1960s. Lee had a hand in the creation of Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men and hundreds of other characters for Marvel and other publishers during the course of his career. As the face of the publisher for decades, Lee cultivated an image as the godfather of comics, and became the ambassador between comics and the outside world. At a time when most critics did not take the art form seriously, Lee was one of the first comics creators to speak at colleges.
As a result of his Marvel pedigree, Lee is also one of the highest-grossing film producers of all time, having been kept on as an executive producer for Marvel Studios films as well as those from Fox and Sony which feature characters from Marvel. There is a certain symmetry to that, since in the early days it was Lee who most aggressively pursued TV and movie deals for Marvel.0comments
Over decades of such productions, Lee has also become the king of the cameo, appearing in dozens of Marvel-related film and TV projects, appearing in every Marvel Cinematic Universe up until (fittingly) Avengers: Endgame.
Excelsior, True Believers, and to all a good night.