This week has seen a ton of warm remembrances and goodbyes to Stan Lee, an icon of pop culture who died on Monday at the age of 95 after a decades-long career creating some of the most enduring and popular franchises in the history of the entertainment industry.
One of those goodbyes you may have missed, though, comes from none other than Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin — whose first written work, it turns out, was a letter printed in a “Fantastic Four” comic book (the one where the foursome met Prince Namor) when he was just 13 years old.
Here, via Reddit, is that letter:
“I owe so much to Stan Lee,” Martin writes in a post on his blog — a post titled Farewell to a Marvel. “He was, in a sense, my first publisher, my first editor. ‘Dear Stan and Jack.’ Those were the first words of mine ever to see print. In the letter column of FANTASTIC FOUR #20, as it happens. My first published loc, a commentary on FF#17, compared Stan to… ah… Shakespeare. A little overblown, you say? Well, okay. I was thirteen…”
You had to be there, Martin continues. You had to be there to understand how revolutionary what Stan was doing at the time really was. He goes so far as to argue comics as we know them today might not exist without Stan. And since you can argue Martin’s written career began with a published letter, he bids Stan goodbye by publishing one more letter, short and sweet.
Again, via his blog post:
Let me close with one last letter of comment.
You did good work. As long as people still read comic books and believe in heroes, your characters will be remembered. Thanks so much. Make Mine Marvel.
George R. Martin
35 East First Street
Bayonne, New Jersey