Comic Book Superhero Stan Lee Talks About His Legacy and the Disney-Marvel Deal
by, 04-18-2010 at 07:02 PM
Explaining his success, comic book legend Stan Lee has no time for false modesty.
"First of all, you have to start by being incredibly brilliant."
He says it with a wink and a smile, but he's really not kidding.
In the world of superhero fanboys, there are few people as idolized and revered as Stan Lee. The co-creator of such iconic characters as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and many others, Lee spent over 65 years at Marvel Comics as editor-in-chief and publisher, and remains the chairman emeritus of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. In 2005, he co-founded POW! Entertainment, an independent media company that develops movie, television, home video and online properties. POW! created the digital comic book "Time Jumper" with Disney and is currently working with them on several other projects--none of which he can talk about. "And it frustrates the hell out of me," says Lee.
At last week's National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, Lee sat down for a conversation with Chris Hardwick, host of G4TV.com's Web Soup. At 87-years old, Lee is sharp, funny, honest, and is clearly having more fun than anyone else in the room. And that's hard to imagine, considering the audience is comprised mostly of 30- and 40-something males paying tribute at the Church of Stan. Even yours truly had a hard time keeping his geek under control, but during the audience Q&A, I was lucky enough to be able to ask Lee about Disney's recent acquisition of Marvel. Below are excerpts from this very entertaining interview.
About his early days in comics, and the stigma attached to it at the time:
In the 1940s, being in the comic book business, it was like Rodney Dangerfield. You got no respect. I'd go to a party with my wife and somebody would come over, "Hey, what do you do?" I knew what was going to happen, so I'd say, "I'm a writer," and try to walk away. And they'd say, "Oh, what do you write?" So I'd say, "Magazine stories," and I'd walk a little further. They'd keep following me. Finally, I had to say "comic books," which at that time the person would turn around and walk away.
My publisher told me back in those early days..."Stan, don't use words of more than two syllables. Don't give me talk about characterization and plot. Give me a lot of action. I want a lot of fight scenes, because our readers are either really young kids or illiterate adults." Nobody ever thought that anybody who was educated would read a comic book--and that was the business I was in.
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