Stan Lee's UCLA Speech

If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.

― Spider-Man: Homecoming

Stan Lee Keynote at the 2017 Graduation Ceremony

Stan Lee’s talk is a lesson in leaping. In fact, that’s his whole career.

Stan Lee gave the keynote address at the 2017 UCLA Extension Certificate Graduation Ceremony. He didn’t use a script. This causes we speechwriters to cringe. However, he knocks it out of the park. What did he say?

He tells a simple story. An anecdote. He explains how Spider-Man was created.

His publisher called him into the office, requesting a new superhero. Stan went to work, and eventually landed on Spider-Man. He tells his publisher who says it’s a terrible idea.

“Stan,” said his publisher, “That is the worst idea I have ever heard.” Then he went on to explain why.

Naturally, Stan was disappointed, to say the least. He didn’t give up. He believed in his idea.

Stan had the opportunity to include Spider-Man in what was expected to be the last issue of Amazing Fantasy. It was a poor selling comic book and would end with issue 15. The magazine was going to close anyway, and this way, he could get this idea out of his system.

The magazine was published, and the sales came in. Huge numbers. His publisher raced into his office.

“Stan! Stan! Do you remember that character we both loved so much? Spider-Man?” From there, they created the Spider-Man comic book.

Stan’s message to the audience (and to you):

If you have an idea that you genuinely think is good, don’t let some idiot talk you out of it.


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