11 inducted in Disney Legends ceremony at D23 Expo 2017

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Photo credit: Disney/Image Group LA, acquired from D23 Press Site

Cast members from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars then took the stage to perform on top of soundtracks highlighting the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Clyde Geronimi, and Manuel Gonzales.

Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was the creative genius behind Marvel characters who are still beloved around the world, and he continues to influence artists today. His son Neil accepted the award on Jack’s behalf. “We would like to thank everybody. My father, I know, would be very humbled and proud to accept this award. He was probably the most humble person on the face of the planet,” he said. “My father did not create superheroes, he didn’t even create super humans, he really just created super people. Thank you for enjoying his incredible and staggering body of work.”

Photo credit: Disney/Image Group LA, acquired from D23 Press Site

Stan Lee

Iger introduced Stan Lee as being famous not only for creating thousands of characters, but also for developing Marvel’s juxtaposition for characters who have extraordinary responsibilities and powers, yet simple and relatable lives at home with family. Stan Lee then took the stage, his voice cracking with emotion as he commented on how he “was thrilled to see that testimonial to the work of Jack Kirby.”

Lee then told a story about himself as a boy. “I’ll go back a few years to a teenage boy — a kid around 8 or 10 — who loved to read everything he could get his hands on,” he said. “One day in a bookstore, he saw a book that was an expensive book. It was called The Art of Walt Disney.” Lee explained that he couldn’t afford it, but he saved all his pennies for the book. “To me, [Walt Disney] was more than a man, he was an inspiration… to think that today, I’m standing here in the house that Disney built and we’re honoring Jack… it’s so thrilling I can’t tell you. And of course I can’t leave without saying, Excelsior!”