SoCal’s Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS) held it’s annual banquet this weekend, and honored Stan Lee. Stan Sakai has his account of the gala, from which the above photo was taken (L-r: Sergio Aragones, Sakai, Lee.)

EDIT: Mark Evanier’s blog post about the night.

Long time Beat correspondent and CAPS member Michael Aushenker supplied his own reminiscences:
A Tip of the CAPS to Stan Lee

Last night was the bomb! CAPS (Comic Art Professionals Society), one of the cartoonist groups I’m a longtime member of, celebrated its 30th anniversary in effin’ style with the honoring of Marvel Comics writer/architect STAN LEE. It was held at Porter Valley Ranch country club somewhere in the Valley. To coin a cliche: It was a night to remember……

I hit the Ranch with one of my best pals, EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE cartoonist JAVIER HERNANDEZ. I was helping Javy out with his neck tie — looping the knot on top of my own tie 00 in the parking lot when a black chauffeured sedan pulls up…..the good-natured chauffeur, Antoinette, rolls down the window and asks if this is the spot for the Stan Lee tribute dinner and I’m screwing around, joking that this dinner is so formal, you need TWO ties to get in. Then I heard a voice from the back of the tinted car…..STAN LEE! I didn’t realize that all along, I was wasting Stan’s time chatting up the chauffeur.

The hijinks only got better once Javy and I hit the floor running. Lots of old friends and professionals we admire —-

SERGIO ARAGONES, of course, who falls into both categories and wore a spiffy Bart Simpson tie (I teased Sergio that Bart Simpson is the one character that Stan had no part of). Sergio informed us that the Bart tie is one of only two that he owns.

MARV WOLFMAN – this legendary Marvel writer gave the best, most heartfelt speech of the night. He shared anecdotes of the three times he thought for sure he’d get fired, but didn’t, thanks to Stan’s patience and understanding (the funniest of which involved the time when, thanks to a Russian production person under Wolfman’s watch, who didn’t speak any English, a “coming next issue” caption that was supposed to read EYEBALL-POPPING PHOTOS accidentally went to print as BALL-POPPING PHOTOS! Marv sweated bullets as he was called into Stan’s office, thinking for sure that he would be fired…instead, Stan laughed it off, telling Marv, “When was the last time we got letters about the ‘coming next issue’ blurb? Nobody reads those things!”)??

Lots of buddies new and old onhand to schmooze with during the cocktail hour (I enjoyed the puffy things with the beef way more than the tiny wraps and the mushroom thingies) — RAFAEL AND IRMA NAVARRO, who brought Comic Bug comic shop owners MIKE AND CAROL WELLMAN; JIM WHEELOK; GARY OWENS; JUNE FORAY; DEAN YEAGLE; TREVOR GORING; STAN SAKAI and his family; and sitting at our table to share uncountable laughs throughout the night…..Mr. JERRY BOYD, a regular TwoMorrows contributor who brought his Bay Area buddy LEE HESTER of Lee’s Comics.

CAPS Prez BILL MORRISON did a nice job emceeing the event. SCOTT SHAW! did his Oddball Comics slideshow thing – this time, Marvel-themed. MARK EVANIER was the overall host, telling some personal stories of harassing Stan as a child at the Marvel offices. In memory of Paul Norris, who passed away just a few days ago, Evanier requested that everyone in the room take a sip from our glasses of water….(I ask you: Is there a more perfect way to honor the original artist on AQUAMAN?) At times, the event unintentionally resembled a roast, as some of the anecdotes were not exactly flattering. But Stan took everything in stride. At one point, after the CAPS prez delivered an anecdote in which the first part of his story discussed how he initially (and irrationally) hated Marvel Comics (without having read one), Stan quipped from the audience: “It’s a good thing the microphone didn’t go dead before the second part of your story!”

Stan Lee got up to the dais to accept his Sergio award. He seemed genuinely thrilled by all of the accolades and he shared his award with all of the legendary artists who illustrated his creations. It was another moving moment. Then, of course, he spent another half hour signing Marvel merch – very generous on his part considering that this was his night and we should’ve given him a break from the convention-style signings. The sight of Stan kidding around with Sergio (who knew the joint was big enough for these two trademarked mustaches?)…..Hey, you can see the sheer boyish delight in that photo that Raf Navarro posted on my message board — there’s me on the left (what a stud!), my ol’ bud Raf, my pal Jerry (a.k.a. Sesame Street’s Big Boyd) and Suave Jav Hernandez.

Capturing the entire night….the film crew for TRUE BELIEVER, a documentary on Stan Lee in the works….

…..Oh, yeah – and the dinner itself was tasty – Caesar salad, brisket, chicken, pasta with pesto, seasoned legumes….

It was out of control.

Everybody left the country club last night with big smiles on their faces, let me tell ya!