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Stan Lee exhibit coming to Balboa Park's Comic-Con Museum prior to 2023 event

Remembering Stan Lee
Posted at 11:24 AM, Jul 07, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — An exclusive exhibit dedicated to the late patriarch of Marvel Comics is coming to the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park just before the beginning of the 2023 edition of the event.

According to a press release from Kartoon Studios, an exhibit titled "Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee" will debut at the museum on Tuesday, July 18. The studio, which owns the rights to Stan Lee's name, image and likeness, is celebrating what would've been Lee's 100th birthday year, and this exhibit is another aspect of the tribute.

The new exhibit will run for eight months, and it features never-before-seen items that private collectors and auction houses donated.

Michael Uslan, the executive producer of the Batman movie franchise, and David Uslan, both of whom are consultants to Kartoon Studios' "Stan Lee Universe," curated the exhibit.

A series of Stan Lee paintings by renowned ambidextrous painter Rob Prior is one of the display's highlights.

The entire first section of the exhibit is devoted to Lee's co-creators of the Marvel Universe, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, as well as other co-creators he collaborated with. The oldest comic book that will be showcased is from 1941, and from there, the exhibit follows the history of Lee's time at Marvel.

According to Kartoon Studios, "incredibly rare and historic pieces" of original art from Marvel's Golden Age, including a rare copy of Captain America #3 from 1942, will be featured. That comic was the first time the pen name "Stan Lee" was used.

Some of those historic pieces are the earliest art known to still exist that has Lee's comic book writing.

The exhibit's walls and display cases will be plastered with first issues and first appearances of the characters who make up the heart and soul of the Marvel universe.

Thanks to DC Comics' donation, there will be a display of comic books and original art from when Lee collaborated with his top competitor in 2001 to create the "Just Imagine..." line of comics. In that series, Lee recreated Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and other heroes with a Marvel flair.

Rare, original artwork by the following co-creators of the Marvel universe will also be on display:

  • Jack Kirby
  • Steve Ditko
  • Don Heck
  • Gene Colan
  • Johnny Romita
  • John Buscema
  • Marie Severin
  • Jim Steranko

There will also be never before seen paintings by Greg Hildebrandt. Hildbrandt's claim to fame is the first Star Wars movie poster. Additionally, he created Lord of the Rings artwork in the 1970s that later inspired the aesthetic of the movies.
Finally, "Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee" will also showcase one of Lee's final creations that the public has never seen before.

“We are incredibly honored and proud to work with the Comic-Con Museum to pay tribute to our ultimate hero with this one-of-a-kind exhibit devoted to the man who was the co-creator of the pantheon of Marvel super-heroes, and considered to be the PT Barnum of the comic book industry, as well as featuring some of the most talented people to ever work in the comic book industry!,” curators Michael Uslan and David Uslan said in a joint-statement. “We are tremendously appreciative of the generosity of those who donated to make this a spectacular experience for Stan’s many fans. We truly believe he would have declared this exhibit to be 'Amazing! Fantastic! Incredible! Uncanny!'”

The Comic-Con Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets for adults ages 18+ cost $25, while kids between the ages of 6 and 12 can get in for $12. Seniors (65 and up), students (13 to 17) and military tickets are $18.

The museum will be open Monday, July 24, following the conclusion of the 2023 convention.