Let me tell you a story. My name is Junko Kobayashi and I am one of the co-founders of The Stan Lee Foundation and this is how it all began.
I was working for an accounting firm called BDO Seidman in Los Angeles when one day, on my desk was a rolled-up poster from the company that I would be auditing. That poster had all these well-known comic characters Spider-Man, Ironman, The Hulk and other characters, that I didn’t quite know, surrounding an old man with glasses. That’s right, that was Stan Lee and I had absolutely no idea who he was. From that day back in 1998, I started working with the companies Stan had headed up and fast forward to 2009.
Sitting in an office next to Stan for 8 years, and watching him in his creative mode with artists and writers in the other offices that I worked, I had learned so much about Stan and what an amazing teacher he was. He would passionately discuss stories and asked questions of his writers on “WHY?” and “HOW?” and “WHY SHOULD ANYONE CARE?” then skillfully started telling his story and engaging his audience so deeply that I had to stop and listen too. His meetings were way more interesting than the spreadsheets I was working on, so I had every reason to eavesdrop. This prompted me to consider creating a course, maybe for college, so that I could “bottle” what Stan Lee was so good at, the ability to captivate an audience and tell stories so well that he had every ear listening to every single word. I thought we should all be taught this incredible skill and how can I share this so that others can learn how to communicate like Stan. I thought that would be a valuable tool in anyone’s life, how to create and tell a story, the Stan Lee way.
That summer of 2009 my friend Ted and I were sitting at San Diego Comicon talking with a group of people when he said that maybe we should start a Foundation instead, in order to reach people around the country and maybe around the globe, not just the people who can attend a class. We wanted to create Stan’s legacy of teaching so we decided that we should really focus on the things that Stan’s work did to impact people of generations around the world. So, The Stan Lee Foundation was born and we think that it should continue in Stan’s legacy to promote and encourage literacy, education and arts programs to create future generations of Superheroes.