Two years since Stan Lee last graced the stage at Fan Expo Canada, the legendary creator's 2012 return was greeted with a massive welcome as he stepped into Hall G at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to take questions from fans.
Before he was formally introduced, the audience yelled out in unison "Excelsior!" Lee then appeared, quipping, "I thought I heard that word!"
From the moment he walked on stage, Lee had the crowd in the palm of his hands, making wisecrack after wisecrack and sharing stories from his illustrious career.
Speaking on success of Marvel Studios and Joss Whedon's "The Avengers," Lee was quick to take at least some of the credit for the ambitious film's massive box office before sneaking in a plug for next summer's Marvel movie. "Well, you know why it made so much money right? My cameo is placed at the very end and its quick, so what happens if you miss it? These people go back out and buy another ticket so they get to see me!
"Wait until you see my cameo in the next Iron Man movie! It's so funny!"
Asked whether there are any issues he has with any of the the Marvel films, Lee was frank and forthright in his critiques. "I would have liked the Hulk to be smaller in the first two movies, and I didn't like the way Doctor Doom was portrayed in 'Fantastic Four,'" he said. "Now with Daredevil, they just wrote the whole thing wrong. They made him too tragic. That's not the way I wrote him. I think they're working on a new Daredevil movies and it will be better, so hold your judgment until then."
With so many Marvel characters making their way to the big screen right now, it's easy for some characters to be stuck in background. Lee weighed in on some of the lesser-known characters he feels will eventually make their way through the devlopment process and into theaters. "Deadpool is such a popular character, I'd be surprised if he wasn't in his own movie in the near future, or introduced in another movie first. They're thinking about a Doctor Strange movie, a Black Panther movie, an Ant-Man movie -- there's just so many ideas in the works right now at Marvel!"
While Lee was more than happy to discuss all things Marvel, he also made a point to talk about his own company, POW! Entertainment, through which he said he has some other cinematic plans. "I'm writing a character right now, and he's a Chinese hero," Lee said. "There will be a movie about him and you will have not seen anything like this before. It's called 'The Annihilator!' We're also working on two other movies right now with another studio, but I can't talk about that yet. They'll release some news soon."
Despite all the talk of films form Marvel and POW!, Lee made it a point to focus on the fiftieth anniversary of what may be the most famous character he had a hand in creationg: Spider-Man. "When I created him, it was tough. We already had a Hulk, we already had the X-Men, we had the Fantastic Four, so I thought I'd go the insect route. But Insect-Man didn't sound right, and neither did Mosquito-Man. But then it came to me...Spider-Man! Happy 50th Spidey!"
With that, Stan Lee left the crowd the same way he was welcomed, with a resounding "Excelsior!"