Filipino fans express concern over Marvel legend Stan Lee’s health

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Stan Lee. (Reuters)

Following his recent overnight stay at the hospital due to reported irregular heartbeat, legendary comic book creator Stan Lee was interviewed via Skype by ABC Los Angeles station KABC.

In that interview, the man synonymous with Marvel comic books and co-creator of iconic superheroes like Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men assured everyone that he was “feeling great” and ready to resume his travel schedule — which includes a Manila trip for the ComicCon Asia event this March.

Despite this assurance, the 95-year-old Lee, has on at least three occasions since last year canceled appearances at major comic book conventions in the United States including a recent date with the Wizard World of St. Louis scheduled for this weekend. Health reasons have been cited for the cancellations.

Recently, Lee was also photographed in a wheelchair at the Hollywood premiere of another one of his superhero creations, “Black Panther.” Lee is also known for his cameo appearances in just about every movie based on a Marvel superhero.

For ComicCon Asia, the Marvel legend is scheduled for a Q & A Session (priced at P2,800 per head), an autograph signing (at P4,480 per ticket) and a photo session with fans (at P6,720 each).

Fans who want to be part of all these activities may also avail of the “Excelsior” package (P15,800) which also includes a two-day pass for the event and exclusive ComicCon Asia merchandise.

Tickets for these activities are already sold out but organizers have promised to open up more slots due to popular demand.

A wheelchair-bound Stan Lee poses with fans during the recent premiere of ‘Black Panther’ in Los Angeles. Right, the announcement poster for additional slots to Lee’s upcoming appearance at ComicCon Asia in Manila. (Photo from the Marvel Studios Twitter page)

In light of the reports about Lee’s health, however, not a few of Lee’s Filipino fans are appealing to him as well as to ComicCon Asia organizers to also cancel his coming Manila appearance.

“As much as I would like to have a photo op and autograph session with the man, I think his health should come first. Tickets are already sold out. Do not overbook him. He was just rushed to the hospital. If you’re a true fan, you will understand. Do not prioritize money over Stan Lee’s health,” commented Facebook user Mark Alcasabas at the Stan Lee thread on the ComicCon Asia Facebook page.

“I really hope they reconsider this move. Even if he has a doctor/nurse on standby 24/7, nakaka-concern pa rin yung health niya (his health is still a concern). Not to mention our weather isn’t the best during March. The fans don’t want him to be overworked,” added Judith Razon.

“We all would like to see a real life influential comic legend. It would help get our country recognition because of the media coverage and us fans will be very elated. However, due to the unfortunate news about his health, human condition is more important. We all hope and pray for his condition improves first and foremost,” wrote Facebook user Dan P. Sourcing in a survey thread initiated by this writer at Comics Club Philippines Forum asking members if they still want to see Stan Lee following despite health concerns.

“I don’t want to be branded as the fan who prioritized meeting The Man without considering his well-being. As a fan, ask yourself, would I be happy with a signature/photograph at the expense of complicating The Man’s health condition?…But MORE IMPORTANTLY, it is imperative on the part of the ORGANIZERS to re-assess their intent. Do they continue, with the event knowing that The Man is already weak. Or do they consider his health and cancel the appearance?…Which choice will benefit the greater good?,” wondered Paolo Ollero in the same thread.

Choi Petrache, however, has a different take on the matter even as he concedes that Lee’s health may still force him to cancel his Manila engagement.

“As much as compassion is what drives our community, business is and always will be business, let’s not forget that a contract has been signed freely and voluntarily by both Stan Lee and the organizers. An offer was made and Stan Lee accepted it. Should circumstances warrant the rescission of their contract, so be it. We live as free men doing what we want to do, if Stan wants in on Manila, let’s go. If doctor’s advice would want him to take a breather, that’s fine too. But let’s not paint a bad picture about the organizers because of this. After all, no matter how much Comic Con Asia forces Stan to appear, if his health doesn’t improve, there’s really nothing anyone can do. All in Stan’s good time,” Petrache noted.

Comic Con Asia, which will take place on March 24 to 25 at the SMX Convention Center beside the SM Mall of Asia is produced by PSL Entertainment and Nam Entertainment Group, and is supported by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao in his capacity as the country’s tourism ambassador.