WonderCon 2021 – Learn about Stan Lee’s College Appearances in the ’60s and ’70s

Day Two of WonderCon 2021 gave us a look at Stan Lee, the college campus speaker. Check out the video below for the full panel discussion about Stan Lee’s college speaking engagements as he became a huge in-demand speaker during the “Marvel Revolution.”

  • Stan’s first college appearance was at Bard College in Upstate New York. He was confused as to why a college would invite him to come to talk.
  • Michael Uslan, the creator of the Batman movies, first met Stan when he was 11 years old in 1962. He was off from school and convinced his mom to take him on a DC Comics Tour in New York City. He begged his mom to see the Baxter building, home to the Fantastic Four.
  • His mom called Marvel Comics and she talked to Stan Lee’s secretary, Flo, trying to find this building. His mom said her kids will be so heartbroken since the building doesn’t exist, leading them to getting a meet and greet at Marvel HQ with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This set Uslan on a path that would get Stan to speak at his college.

  • Uslan goes on to tell a story about how he convinced his college to have him teach a class on comic books, which went viral through the country.
  • It got so big that he got a call from Stan Lee, praising him for what he was doing for the comic book industry and asking what he could do to help.

  • Scott Saternye then talks about his experience with seeing Stan at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he took photos of his appearance, which ended up appearing in Fingeroth’s book.

  • Tim Tulenko was a sophomore at Princeton when he invited Stan to come to speak in March 1966. He also created Princeton’s Merry Marvel Marching Society chapter.

  • While reading the Fantastic Four “Calamity on the Campus” he realized one of the buildings in the comic was a real building, at Princeton.

  • Finding this out, he sent a letter to Marvel and got the following back, which led to getting Stan Lee to appear for a talk at the university.

  • The Tulenko brothers got the following message back getting confirmation of Stan’s appearance.
  • During his talk, he ended up answering questions from the crowd including questions about Dr. Strange.
  • Stan Lee told the audience that Steve Ditko, comic artist and writer, was leaving, which got a huge reaction since it wasn’t out in public as of yet. And there is actual audio from this appearance you can listen to below! (2:35 mark for announcement of Steve Ditko leaving).

  • Flo had sent the following letter with Stan’s thanks for the appearance.

  • The speakings led to Stan Lee going to colleges throughout the next 10 years, which led to great publicity for Marvel.

The panel was great at learning more about Stan and we highly recommend a viewing to hear even more stories and see some great photos about his various appearances at colleges.

About the Panel:

  • “Early in the 1960s’ “Marvel Revolution,” Stan Lee became an in-demand speaker at college campuses. Today, former students who were behind Stan’s earliest campus appearances recall those groundbreaking events. Panelists include Michael Uslan (Indiana University; executive producer of the Batman movies); Tom & Tim Tulenko (twin brothers and founding members of Princeton’s Merry Marvel Marching Society chapter, who brought Stan there in 1966); and Scott Saternye (Virginia Commonwealth University). Danny Fingeroth (A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee) moderates.”