Ever wondered what’s Stan Lee’s favorite Marvel movie cameo? Or why he prefers people call them comicbooks instead of comic books? Me too. Lee spoke to Washington, D.C., area media in advance of his visit next weekend for Awesome Con 2017.
It’s hard to imagine Lee is 94 years old. He sounds as spry and sharp as he did back in the 1990s when he hosted the Marvel Animation Hour featuring Fantastic Four and Iron Man. And he’s quick with a punchline, but it’s his appreciation for his life’s journey that’s most apparent. Here’s some highlights from the interview.
On what he’s most looking forward to in coming to Awesome Con and D.C.?
Well, I don’t know whether Trump will have time for me or not (laughs). Meeting the fans and my fellow artists and writers and just have a good time.
Which character do you think hasn’t gotten their due?
The Silver Surfer has been underrated. He’s a great character. I was always able to get bits of philosophy that he would utter. They don’t use him as much as I wish they would. He’s one of my favorite characters.
Which authors did you read as a child?
I loved reading Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne. I read everything I could lay my hands on. I even read Shakespeare. I loved to read. George Bernard Shaw, Charles Dickens, HG Wells. I read anything I thought was worth reading.
What’s it like seeing Marvel evolve from the comic stands to this huge empire?
It’s indescribable. My birth name is Stanley Martin Lieber and I intended hopefully to one day write a good book. When I got into comics most people hated them. I couldn’t understand that … I thought comics were a good way to tell a story. People disliked comics so much that I changed my name… because I didn’t want to embarrass my real name in case I ever wrote something meaningful. I didn’t want to be plagued by being known as a comic book writer. That’s changed tremendously now. I’m very proud to be known as a comic book writer and the public’s perception of comics have changed completely.
I never thought in a million years thought it would turn out like this. I’d speak at colleges and places telling them that comics were really a good way to tell a story. You’re seeing the action and reading the dialogue. Not much different than going to the theater and seeing a Shakespeare play. You hear the words and seeing the action. The difference is in comics the characters don’t move.
How comic books should be written.
The word comicbooks should never be written as two words because it means a funny book. It should be one word. That makes it a unique type of literature. Don’t ever let me see you writing it as two words (chuckles).
Advice for aspiring writers
So many people try to write for other people. I think this story would be good for people for 25-30 or people 18-22. I never tried to write for any particular age group or social group. I read stories that I myself might enjoy reading.
I’m not that unique. If there’s a story I like there must be millions of people with similar tastes. I wanted to please me. I was my toughest critic. I’m a normal guy. If you try to write for other types of people it’s a lot more difficult. End of school lecture.
What’s his favorite Marvel movie cameo?
The ones in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 I got a kick out of, but my favorite was when I was in the bar with Thor (Avengers: Age of Ultron). The thing I loved about that cameo was it was more than a cameo. That is the only cameo I’ve done that had two scenes. Now I’m shooting three or four scenes. Eventually I hope to be the co-star.
Big thanks to the gang at Awesome Con for letting me participate in the conference call.