A 9-year-old Wichita boy’s dreams came true at Planet Comicon in Kansas City, Mo.
Vincent Manning got to meet his hero, Stan Lee, the comic book writer, editor, publisher and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.
Vincent said his dream is to become a comic book artist, and Lee wrote Vincent’s favorite comic, “Spider-Man.”
When Vincent first met Lee last month, “I wanted to pass out,” Vincent said. “When the doors opened, it looked like (Lee) was being lit up.”
Vincent was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and pancreatic insufficiency in 2014 after 37 trips to the hospital that year alone, according to Vincent’s mom, Amanda Bacon.
Vincent’s wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation was to meet Lee, but the foundation was unable to set up the meeting, Bacon said.
But she found out Lee was going to be in Kansas City and contacted Planet Comicon’s event planning coordinator, Kelly Bever. Bacon received confirmation for the meeting, which she kept secret from Vincent until the day of the event.
Bacon said she did not have to pay for anything, and Bever provided the family with VIP passes.
“I cried like a baby,” Bacon said. “Just the feeling of – it was the look in (Vincent’s) eyes and the smile on his face. He really couldn’t believe it was happening. It really melted my heart.”
Vincent said he thinks his mom is “awesome.”
“She’s better than Make-A-Wish,” Vincent said. “She’s ultra Make-A-Wish.”
Vincent will use his wish from Make-A-Wish to travel to Disneyland in September, where he will get to eat breakfast with his favorite characters.
At Planet Comicon, Vincent’s tour guides were Wolverine, played by Daniel Wise; Elite Supergirl of Kansas City, or Jessica Meditz-Porter; and Travis Macken, who built the R2D2 characters in the “Star Wars” films.
Vincent was accompanied by his mom, stepdad Matthew Bacon and an uncle.
“We got straight VIP treatment,” Matthew Bacon said. “He didn’t have to wait in any lines.”
Lee gave Vincent a collectible Stan Lee figure that he said had just been released in Japan but was not yet released in the U.S.
Vincent said his favorite part of the day was attending Jedi Academy, taught by Obi-Wan Kenobi. He practiced using a light saber, fought Kylo Ren, became a Jedi knight and can now use the Force.
“I’m super appreciative to everyone who volunteered to help get Vincent that,” Bacon said. “They just did it because they’re kind.”
Vincent was introduced to comics by his stepdad, who said he has been collecting comics since he was a boy. Vincent received his first comic when he was 1, and Matthew Bacon said he estimated that they now have nearly 500 comic books.
“(Vincent) is the safekeeper of all my old toys,” Matthew Bacon said.
Amanda Bacon said getting to attend Planet Comicon was deeply moving.
“(The Comicon was) life changing, to watch his eyes glow like they did,” she said of her son. “And not only just his, but my husband’s and his brother’s, too.
“In fact, I came back the next day, and I was like, ‘What are we going to do now?’ You can’t really beat that.”
Morgan Bell, 316-268-6514.