A newspaper in New Zealand went viral after it mixed up the late Stan Lee with famed director Spike Lee.
The Gisborne Herald — one of the four independently owned newspapers in the country — incorrectly announced the death of Spike Lee on Tuesday, Nov. 13 with a photo of Stan Lee, a gaffe that garnered international attention.
“‘Characters first, superheroes next’: Spike Lee dies at 95,” the caption below the Marvel Comics creator read.
Spike, who directed such critically acclaimed films as Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, poked fun at the mix-up via Instagram.
“God Bless Stan Lee. Me? Not Yet. And Dat’s Da ‘I’m Still A Live, And Strivin’ Truth, Ruth. YA-DIG? SHO-NUFF,” he joked shortly after the headline’s publication.
As for the Gisborne Herald, it addressed the mistake in an article on Wednesday.
“International spotlight on Gisborne Herald after headline gaffe,” it said. “The Gisborne Herald achieved international infamy overnight with a front-page error.”
The case of mistaken identity comes one day after the beloved comic book writer died at age 95 on Monday, Nov. 12 following a medical emergency in Los Angeles.
Stan co-created iconic superheroes like Spider-Man and Black Panther while revolutionizing the comic book industry in the 1960s with the debut of the Fantastic Four.
The editor-publisher later went on to co-create X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and Iron Man. He kept the title of chairman emeritus after leaving Marvel in 1972, and he was listed as executive producer on some of the most successful films featuring Marvel characters.
Roy Thomas, Stan’s first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, opened up about the icon’s unparalleled work ethic in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday.
“I think he was ready to go. But he was still talking about doing more cameos,” Thomas said. “As long as he had the energy for it and didn’t have to travel, Stan was always up to do some more cameos. He got a kick out of those more than anything else.”