Sunday, September 9, 2007

Believe it or Not

This is one of those things which, if it wasn't true, nobody would believe it. I was just browsing through Mark Evanier's always-entertaining News From ME blog, which you can link to at the right side of this very page. Today, Mark linked to an interesting article from the Sunday New York Times Key Magazine, which includes a slide show photo gallery of all the places comic book legend Stan Lee, former Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics and the co-creator of the Fantastic Four, the Amazing Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, the Uncanny X-Men, and, just to balance the scales, the Astonishing Ant-Man, has lived in his long and prolific life. Out of idle curiosity, I decided to check out the gallery and what I saw there absolutely floored me.

It's no secret that I spent my formative years growing up in Levittown, New York, or, as I like to call it, "The Cliche´City of the East". Remarkably, I'm not the only comics professional to hail from that illustrious post-war Long Island village. That lovely little suburb also gave us former Dark Horse and Batman editor Bob Shreck, Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith, and Mr. Monster writer/artist Michael T. Gilbert, among several others. But, love Levittown though I might, it wasn't my first home.

No, from birth until I was seven-and-a-half and casually wandered out into the middle of the street one day, where only my father's quick reflexes saved me from being run over by a passing truck, thus deciding my family to move immediately to the suburbs, I lived in an apartment building in the New York City borough of The Bronx. The address was 1720 University Avenue, and, as I remember it, the place looked almost exactly like this.

The astonishing coincidence in all this? According to today's Times piece which can be linked to in its entirety by clicking here, Stan Lee lived in this exact same building just a decade or so before I did. Now what are the odds of that?

Sort of makes one wonder what future former Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics is living there now, don't it?


Anonymous said...

And maybe this will finally put the kibosh on the story that Stan Lee grew up in Forest Hills...

Anonymous said...

My dad, who is the same age as Stan, lived at 1695 Nelson Avenue during that time. The backs of those buildings almost align (check out the addresses on Google maps). I'll find out if he knew him.

I was in the neighborhood often, visiting my grandmother or going to the Park Plaza movie theater when you lived there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Len,

That is too wild. The odds have to be very small. It makes me wonder if there were commonalities about both of your experiences there that provoked you both to create.

By the way, I am a huge fan of your Blue Beetle run for DC. I have all 24 issues and read them as a child and adult. Here's to underwater hatchways in Lake Michigan!

I just wanted to say that I think you should use your blog to talk about whatever you see fit. I remember reading one of your posts about the negative reaction to some of your comments regarding global warming. While I am inclined to take a different view on this subject, I am more likely to listen to someone who I respect. Besides, you had my full attention as a youth for 24 issues of Blue Beetle. Some of your thinking patterns have probably leaked into my brain subconsciously. Well anyway, L’Shanah Tovah.

Aaron Purnell
Marysville OH