I only met Stan Lee once.
I was at the San Diego Comic-Con years ago and I spotted my friend John Petty and went over to say “Howdy.” It turned out John was with Larry Lieber—Stan Lee’s brother as well being a long-time Marvel artist. So, I’m talking to them and I said that I’d be interested in interviewing Larry sometime. And Stan spots us and walks over to chat.
I’m still a little dumbfounded by this. (Imagine a time when Stan Lee could walk the convention floor—without a security detail—and not be mobbed by fans!) It was one of those weird and wonderful things that used to happen at the con. (Weird and wonderful things still happen there, but not quite as often. And sadly bumping into Stan won’t be one of them.)
Stan was every bit as charming and friendly as he you’d hope. So, after a couple of minutes I get up the nerve to mention that I do a funny romance series called Last Kiss. And then I add that I’d recently discovered the tongue-in-cheek romance comic strip The Virtue of Vera Valiant that Stan and artist Frank Springer did in the 1970s. Obviously inspired by the TV show Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, it was over-the-top soap opera. Although it varied in quality, at it’s best it was pretty darn funny.
Reprint of the daily strip from the Signet paperback The Virtue of Vera Valiant #2, ©1977 Los Angeles Times Syndicate.
It seemed perfect for Last Kiss fans and I wanted to introduce them to this mostly forgotten series. So I asked if I could reprint a few panels in my next issue of Last Kiss. Stan said, sure. So, I was thrilled. (I was gonna publish (sorta!) Stan Lee!!!
Not knowing how to contact Stan (or Larry)—and being too shy to ask for their contact info— I said that I’d send John Petty copies. (My thinking was that John seemed to know both of Stan and Larry that he could pass copies onto them.) Before I could explain, Stan chips in with something along the lines of “What am I chicken soup? I want a copy too.”
Unfortunately, I never published a fifth issue of Last Kiss. So, this blog post showing of Vera Valiant will have to do for now. Stan, I assume you have heavenly access to the Internet. And that the connection is very, very fast!
So, Shelagh and I were watching Mom—one of our favorite shows—last week and saw a Last Kiss tote bag in the above scene.. Much screaming (for joy) ensued. My thanks to the amazing John Fluke of Placed4Success Product Placement. This is just one of dozens of times John’s gotten Last Kiss on TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory; Mike and Molly; and Scream.
By the way, Anna Faris (Christine) didn’t really say anything about the tote bag behind her on the show. That was just me having some fun. (But I’m sure she was thinking it.)
The Last Kiss Caffeine tote is available in my Etsy Store.
My Last Kiss e-book collections are on sale for only $1.40 each. Each themed collection features many of my best Last Kiss comics—plus commentaries and samples of the original 1950s-’60s art.
I’m head-over-heals in love with the fact that I’m the first person to be interview by RomanceDailyNews.com.
The new site (launched July 17, 2018) features all things romantic. And what could be more romantic than me and Last Kiss? In fact, in addition to the interview, my Last Kiss comics are a regular feature on the site.
In addition to romance in general, the site will also act as a review and news site for the romance novel industry. Free romance e-books, interviews with romance writers, horoscopes (with a romantic emphasis), romance news events, and more are all featured on the site.
Here’s the Prism Comics crew at the 2016 Comic-Con. I’m the old fart…uh, handsome guy in the green Last Kiss shirt.
During this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the easiest place to find me will be Prism Comics. The Prism booth is #2144 in Hall C. I’ll be signing almost everything anyone sets in front of me—except blank checks!—and selling lots of new Last Kiss goodies.
Here are the times I’ll be in Prism’s Booth #2144:
Thursday, July 19, 1-3 p.m.
Friday, July 20, 12-2 p.m.
Saturday, July 21, 12-2 p.m.
Sunday, July 22, 1-3 p.m. (And maybe a bit longer!)
Prism Comics location map. Click image to enlarge.
World Famous Comics:
I’ll also be bopping in at the World Famous Comics (Booth #5560 in Hall G) at least once a day where I’ve also got some fun, new Last Kiss goodies for sale. No set times for that, though. So, if you want to reach me at end of the building, ask or leave a message with one of the incredibly talented World Famous folks: Justin Chung, Spencer Brinkerhoff III, and Kristy & Brian Miller.
Yes, I’m going to the San Diego Comic-Con (July 18-22) again this year! I don’t have a schedule yet for when you can find me. But I’ll visiting both the World Famous Comics booth (#5560) and the Prism Comics booth (#2144) each day. And both are selling my Last Kiss goodies. I’ll be doing at least two signings at the Prism Comics booth.
More details as soon as I know ’em! —John Lustig
The best thing about going to Comic-Con is catching up with friends—such as my pals Mike and Lisa Pascale. This year I have to pass, but I’ll be back next year!
I first attended the San Diego Comic-Con—now renamed “Comic-Con International—in 1974. And I’ve gone most years since then.
But I’m skipping the con this year.
Instead, I’m staying home to work on a book. I’m not ready to talk about the book yet. (Call it the “Mystery Project” for now.) But I’m tremendously excited about it. And, in order to find time to write it, I need to cut something from my schedule. So <Sob!> I’m cutting Comic-Con this year.
Next year, though, I plan to be back!
Me with a closeup of one of the new full-color shirts I’ll be selling at the RT Booklover’s Convention in Atlanta, May 3-5.
For the third time in four years, I’ll have a vendor’s table at the RT Booklover’s Convention. This time the con (for romance writer’s and fans) will be in Atlanta. This’ll be my first visit to Atlanta. So when not at the con, I’ll be touristing the heck out of the city!
—March. 2-5, 2017: Meet Last Kiss creator John Lustig at Emerald City Comicon (Seattle) at the Northwest Press exhibit, Booth #1719.
Double click the page to enlarge it.
Earlier this week I posted a Last Kiss comic that used art from the opening panel of “The Gay Deception.” Although I’ve posted individual panels from this story several times, I got an interesting response this time. I started getting requests from fans who wanted to read the whole story.
Originally drawn by the Vince Colletta Studio for FIRST KISS #8 (1959), this tale was almost certainly written by Joe Gill and it has a plot that has repeatedly shown up in romance comics and rom-com movies through the ages: The fake date! Or is it really a fake?
So here it is. I hope you enjoy it. Please double click the images to enlarge them.