The Sci-Fi Pop Fest takes place on the 6th of November in the Eustis Expo Center, Lake County Fairgrounds, in Eustis, Florida. And despite the very laws of nature, they have a very special guest attending. Dan 'The Man' Lee.
That is of course not Stan Lee, who died three years ago but is, as we said, Dan Lee. That's right, Stan Lee now has lookalikes who will appear in his stead, and have their appearances advertised at comic book conventions, alongside comic creators such as Roland Mann. Yes, it's weird, we are not saying it's not weird, we are just saying that it's a thing.
Dan Lee has shown up once before, though obviously not for a short while. Suncoast Comic Con in 2020, saw him appear with a number of people getting photos. Doing a little internet sleuthing reveals him as Dan Gruden and he advertises himself as a Stan Lee Lookalike of Florida. So I asked him about his career turn.
Dan told me "This all started about two and a half years ago while I was working part-time at Disney. Guests started coming up to me saying I looked like Stan Lee, then someone did a TikTok on me and it went viral. My grandkids said I should attend a comic con and see what the reaction would be. Well, I put on a green sweater, white shirt, and tan pants and went, really not knowing what a comic con was all about. Well, I found out fast, I didn't even make it out of the parking lot when people started coming up to me to get selfies. When I made it inside, I was totally mobbed. I don't know how many photos were taken but it was eye-opening. I went to two more and the reaction was the same, so I made a web page and a Facebook page, Hey, He Looks Like Stan Lee. I then went to a celebrity lookalike convention called Sunburst and the reaction was the same. Just as it was getting started it all came to an end due to COVID-19. It's just starting back up with one guest appearance and two more coming up plus I'm working on doing a short film, details not completed yet." I asked how he felt about looking like Stan Lee, "it's a great honor. People are all smiles, hugs, and some tears. It makes me feel great that I can bring a little happiness to those who idolized him and keep his image alive. I've put in an application to ReedPop, a promotion group that do Comic Cons in London and Birmingham in the near future, waiting for a response, hopefully I'll see you soon." MCM London, you have to make this happen. Dan told me "I'm retired from Ford Motor Co and I'm 73 years old. I would like to make this into a small retirement career."
I know some people online have found this a little on the ghoulish side, but I think Stan Lee would have loved this. He always believed in his brand and wanted it to live on. And Dan Lee seems to bring a lot of love out of people, just like Stan did.