Bleeding Cool has been reporting on the current situation regarding Marvel Universe creator Stan Lee, seemingly housebound and isolated from his friends and work colleagues. We know that his manager of 14 years, Max Anderson, has been fired, alongside a number of negative articles in the Daily Mail and TMZ, and it has been reported that same has happened to his longstanding lawyer, though this is disputed.
Bleeding Cool has also been told that Alicia, Stan Lee's housekeeper for decades, and his gardener have also been let go. Many are concerned that Stan is being isolated from familiar faces.
As some other pros have already said, something is going on with Stan Lee. His personal assistant, Max Anderson, has been fired and is being kept away from having any contact with Stan, who recently was in poor health fighting a bout with pneumonia.
All of the reportage seems to be coming from Stan's "camp," although the identity of those in the camp is a bit debatable.
But I can speak about Max, that's for damned sure. Because I've been a friend of Stan's for decades, and have had plenty of opportunities to watch Max with Stan at various conventions. And I can tell you right now that whatever bad things you may hear people saying about Max concerning Stan: Don't believe it.
I've watched Max manage Stan at conventions for the last fourteen years. In addition to being a tireless supporter of Stan, including organizing and selling all manner of Stan Lee merchandise that has pumped tons of money into Stan's pocket, I have watched Max treat Stan the way a good son treats his beloved father. Max doesn't hesitate to put himself between Stan and overeager fans, creating a bubble of space so Stan doesn't get crushed by well wishers. I've seen Max arrange at conventions for a comfortable couch/rest area to be set up so that Stan has somewhere to go in order to take a nap between panels and autograph fests.
Some years ago, at Dragon*Con, I presented the Julie award (name for Julie Schwartz) to Stan. Now there's no stairway directly from the ground to the stage; you have to come around and use a side entrance. Disdaining that, Stan–who was in his eighties–vaulted from the floor up onto the stage. I saw a hilarious photograph of Stan leaping onto the stage while the people from his table ran up behind him to spot him in case he pitched backwards. Max was the first one out of his chair.
Max has cared for Stan, watched over his business and health concerns for over a decade. He does not deserve to be kept away from Stan, and he certainly doesn't deserve to be savaged by fans for any reason. Max is a great guy.
Jason David Frank, who plays the Green Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Bloodshot in Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe and is a regular star comic con attendee, emailed Bleeding Cool to say:
I have done several shows with Max and Stan Lee. And I can tell you how great Max is always been to Stan. And how great Stan has always been to me. I have known Max for years now, I can testify he is treated Stan like a father. I also know how much Max has helped me and never ask me for a dime. When in fact he could've been entitled to something from me. But he's always helped me at shows introduce me to people just been a class act. I have been to dozens of shows with Max and Stan over the years. What's important to me I have seen these two behind the scenes that most people can't see. I'm on the side of the celebrity and see how Max takes care of him. That's something the public can't see. At Stan's age I know people can swindle him and convince him otherwise. But I know for a fact for many years how close relationship these two gentlemen had.
And legendary comic creator and activist Neal Adams has doubled down, telling Bleeding Cool:
Right or wrong…
I am terrified for the life of Stan Lee.
I could be sued for the things I BELIEVE, so this is what I KNOW…
And the things the LAPD and the district Attorney should look upon seriously.
- Max Anderson … The man who has taken care of Stan Lee, watched over him, guarded him physically, emotionally and financially for well over a decade ( Stan is now 95 years old.) Including through the death of Stan's fairytale wife Joanie, has been fired!
- Max Anderson has been fired, not by Stan, but by "others".
- Before Max was fired he was smeared in the press as prelude to the firing. (Yes, Max is a "tough guy" and we all know it, but dedicated to his charge…Our Stan Lee).
- Stan's lawyer and another dedicated employee were fired … And "replaced".
- Stan's cell phone was taken away from him. (Incredibly).
- No one I know has been able to call or see Stan. (For lunch, say.) Why? At 95 Stan is lucid, sane, intelligent and able to record and did.
- Stan has been tragically stunned by the death of his wife Joanie. He at his lowest, most vulnerable!
- I have had a phone call with Max Anderson and he cried terribly like a son in mortal fear that he was going to lose a father who he adored and who's ass he wiped. He spent hours and days trying to bring Stan out of his suicidal depression over Joanie… And sat with him watching sports before Stan fell asleep… And Max put him to bed.
- Now… Max has been forbidden to speak to Stan. Why???
Max is so damned afraid for Stan that he cries.
For us…. Stan Lee is a National Treasure…And a real giant is guarding his door.
Can the LAPD and District Attorney do nothing to break through this imposed 'cone of silence'?
Bleeding Cool invites other comic book industry figures to comment on Stan Lee's current situation and to ensure Stan's comfort and safety.