Stan Lee Interview

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(OCT 06 WoW)

What can you say about Stan Lee that hasn't been said before? The Man co-created much of the Marvel Universe and has done all he can to promote comics to devotees and the general public alike. Westfield's Roger Ash recently spoke with Lee about his latest Marvel series, Stan Lee Meets, in which he meets some of his famous creations.

Westfield: How did the Stan Lee Meets series come about?

Stan Lee: They called me from Marvel and asked me if I would do it. I said sure. I never say no to anybody at Marvel for anything. [laughter]

Westfield: What was the appeal of coming back and writing this?

Lee: I've done so many stories over the years, I didn't want to just do another story. I said if I do them, I'd like them to be something different than what I've done before. I thought about it and thought about it. I thought it would really be fun if I put myself in the stories where I'm relating to the characters and if I kept everything in character -but found a way to make the stories humorous. The only way I enjoy doing these is not letting the characters get out of character. In other words, I won't do it as a burlesque or the way Mad Magazine would do it. They will act like the characters normally would. I'll be the only idiot in the story that doesn't seem to make much sense. Although, in context of the story it's gotta make sense. That's the way I tried to do it. I hope I succeeded.

Westfield: Why did you choose the characters that you did?

Lee: I'll be honest with you. I don't remember if I chose them or if I was told those would be the ones to write. I think it was half and half. Tom Brevoort and I discussed it. I have the worst memory in the world, mainly because I work on so many things it's often hard for me to get them straight in my mind. I have a feeling that somehow between the two of us, Tom and I figured that these would be good characters to do.

Westfield: I'm not sure I'd want to meet Dr. Doom.

Lee: I think that's the funniest story I wrote. And the one for Dr. Strange also. Actually, I like them all. I think the readers will love them. If they don't, then I know absolutely nothing about anything. [laughter]

Westfield: One of the first books is the one where you meet Dr. Strange. What can you tell us about that story?

Lee: I don't know if I should give it away because the whole point of these stories is to make them surprising; to let the reader see these characters in a way that they've never seen them before. I can tell you this much. I go to visit Dr. Strange at his mansion, his Sanctum Sanctorum, in Greenwich Village. I hope he's still living there. He was when I wrote the series. Not the expected things happen. I think everything that happens is totally unexpected but when you read it, hopefully it'll make sense and be very funny.

Westfield: What is the appeal of still doing comics?

Lee: I love two things. I love writing comics and I love Marvel. It's kind of flattering after all these years that the guys would ask me to write something. It's hard to say no.

Westfield: You're working with a number of different artists on this series. Is there anything you want to say about the folks you're working with?

Lee: They're all fantastic! And the amazing thing is that each one is totally different from the other one. They all have totally different styles and I love that. The artwork was sensational. I could have written anything and they'd make it look good.

Westfield: Is there anything else you're working on that you'd like to let people know about?

Lee: There are so many things. They're doing a DVD 3-pack of the three X-Men movies and they want to have an X-Men comic book to go with it. I'm writing that. I wrote something where I meet Magneto and Professor X. There's some problem going on and, of course, who's the one who solves it for the two of them in a very ridiculous way? I think that's kind of a funny story too.

Westfield: Any closing comments you want to leave our readers with?

Lee: I'm almost overwhelmed by the cleverness and the brilliance of the people at Marvel who are coming up with all of these great new ideas like the Ultimates and this new Civil War. If I were still working there, I would be so proud if I had thought of the Civil War which I feel is an absolutely wonderful idea. And all the things that they create breathe new life into these characters and bring new readers to Marvel and, I think, to the whole comicbook field.

The fact that movies like X-Men and Spider-Man and FF have been so very successful has done so much to increase the public's awareness of what a cornucopia of enjoyment and new, exciting ideas comic books really are. I think that the movies have done great things for the comics. The comics have done great things for the movies. All in all, it's a win-win situation for the fans because there's so much to be excited about and to be interested in. People always ask me if I think comics have a future. I think they have a bigger future than ever the way things are going. Especially the way the Marvel editorial staff is creating so many brilliant new innovations.