The 89-year-old talked to PARADE about his newest venture, his favorite character he's ever created, and the latest portrayal of Spidey on the big screen.
On Stan Lee’s Mighty 7.
“I wanted to do a new comic book, but I wanted to find a way to make it different than all the other superhero books I’ve done. There are so many reality shows on television now, so I thought we’d make the world’s first reality comic book. Naturally, the first real person I have in it is myself! I’m actually an integral part of the story. I think it’s going to be fun to have a superhero adventure story that takes place in the real world with real identifiable people in the story. But besides the reality angle, it’s also an exciting superhero story with a supervillain and all the things you’d expect.”
On coming up with his characters' names.
“It’s one of the toughest parts because any name you think of has been done before. I come up with what I think is the greatest name in the world, and I Google it, and I find out that I had created it about 50 years ago and I had forgotten! We eventually do get the names we want, and that’s part of the fun of doing this sort of thing.”
On his favorite comic book character.
“It’s like asking a parent who is his favorite child, but if I had to choose a favorite, I would say Spider-Man because he’s really the most well known and the best loved all over the world and that makes me very happy.”
On his cameo in the The Amazing Spider-Man.
"It’s the most integral part of the whole thing! It’s a very funny one. I think you’ll get a kick out of it when you see it. It’s one of the first times when I’m really able to do a little serious acting! I may get an award [laughing]. It’s the most fun you can imagine. I love doing them.”
On Andrew Garfield portrayal of Spidey.
“He is great! They couldn’t have picked anyone better. When Toby was first cast as Spider-Man, a lot of people said, 'Gee, how did they pick him?' But once they saw the movie, they loved him. He became the Spider-Man that everybody thought should be Spider-Man. It's going to be the same with Mr. Garfield. When they see Andrew Garfield in this role, they’re going to say, 'Oh man, whoever the casting director was should get a bonus.' He’s really terrific and he’s a great guy.”
On the superpower he'd most like to have.
“My answer may surprise you — it's luck. If you have good luck, everything good happens to you. You’re lucky, so everything turns out OK. The only reason I don’t have a superhero whose super power is luck is because it’s not very visual. I wouldn’t know how to picture it.”
On his own comic book collection.
“I was too dumb to save them. In fact, most of the guys I worked with never saved the books or the artwork because in those days, we didn’t realize they’d ever be worth anything! When I first started, we worked in a little office and we'd give away the books and artwork to delivery boys and anyone who would stop by. We had no place to put them. Never in a million years did it occurr to us that some day people would collect them!”
On his wife of 65 years, Joan.
“Believe it or not, she is not a comic book fan. It’s probably one of the reasons that our marriage has lasted so long! She has never said, ‘I just read the stories Stan, and I think you should have done it differently.’ I never have to worry about that!”
On being an inspiration to millions of comic book readers.
“It’s a tremendous feeling of responsibility. It makes everything I’ve done in my life worthwhile if it made that many people happy.”
On finding a place for comic books in today’s world.
“I think there’ll always be comic books. There are so many other ways to do a comic strip now. You can do it digitally."
“Most people say that they can’t wait to retire because most people aren’t very happy with the work they do, but I’m doing what I really want to do. If somebody made me stop, they would be doing a terrible thing to me. I feel as though I’ve been retired all my life because I’ve been playing! I’m working with the greatest people in the world. If I were to retire, I would have to find something that I love to do as much and there isn’t anything that I love as much as what I’m doing.”
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