A Brief Tribute to Stan Lee and a Story About my “No-Prize.”

Comics, Flashbacks, Letters to Editors, Treasures, Walt a Life

waltjaschek-holding-noprize

In 7th grade, I wrote a gushing fan letter to Stan Lee. The letter was subsequently published in its entirety in Captain America #107, November, 1968. A thrill. Here’s the cover, by Jack Kirby (another hero:)

captainamerica107

But it got better. Stan deemed the letter worthy of a “No-Prize,” his inside-joke “award” for fans – an envelope with literally nothing inside. So when, a few weeks later, said envelope from Marvel arrived, my 12-year-old head hit the ceiling.

This is my way of saying… RIP Stan, entertainer extraordinaire, wizard of words and worlds, and an outsized influence on many, including me. I’m so happy you lived long enough to see your co-creations explode into every corner of pop culture. Thanks for the ride.

And thanks also for this little envelope: no prize I’ve gotten since surpasses.

noprize

“Congratulations,” it says. “This envelope contains a genuine Marvel Comics No-Prize which you have just won. Handle with Care.” I did, through the decades. That’s a pic I shot recently. The outer envelope (from 625 Madison Avenue, New York, 10022) has yellowed. The No-Prize itself… is mint. 

My advice to students: “Let Loose the Large.”

Academia, Awards, Guest-Speaking

walt-and-umsl-students
“Let Loose the Large”
 was the theme of my presentation on thinking big in copywriting, unleashed to a lecture hall filled with media and advertising students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis 4/13/12.

“Let Loose the Large.” Meaning: make a large list of large ideas; pick the largest one; use your large powers to make it a large reality; and be the largest version of yourself you can imagine.

The students (a fun subset pictured, playing with some props I brought,) seemed to enjoy this combination of pep talk, process peeks and portfolio pieces. The questions were smart; the connections, invigorating. After, I received this nice certificate from UMSL’s Dr. Kristy Tucciarone, head of the advertising program in the College of Fine Arts and Sciences.

walt-and-kristy

(Was the “awesome advertising” certificate for me, or my Beatles t-shirt? Either way, thanks, Dr. T!) 

Reporter Myra Lopez from UMSL’s marketing department was there, and posted a fun article/photo in UMSL Daily. Read the article and comments: “Award-winning copywriter lets loose the large.” Myra took the pics on this page, too.)

And speaking of “letting loose the large,” my advice to all:

Do that.

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Walt Jaschek has a degree in Speech Communications from UMSL. Year: 19… [cough cough.]