th Jack Kirby, he created The Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and Thor. With Steve Ditko, he created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Daredevil and Iron Man were also Lee's co-creations. Lee said the success of the stories over the years, and in Hollywood, was something he didn't foresee. "When I was writing these stories, I never in a million years thought that things would turn out the way they did. I just hoped that people would buy the comic books so that I could keep my job,” he said. "However, as of a few years ago, I realized how good a job Marvel does in producing these movies, and what a good job the studios do in picking the best writers and the best directors and the best actors. And I think the movies are just going to be getting better and better.” Lee said he has high hopes for this summer's Marvel films. "I can tell you that ‘Fantastic Four' No. 2 and ‘Spider-Man' No. 3, not only are magnificent movies, but obviously the reason that everybody goes to them is to see my cameo,” he said with a laugh. "And if you don't mention that every so often, ‘he said with a laugh,' — I mean I can picture people reading this and saying jeez, that Stan Lee is as conceited as everybody says he is.” Lee hinted that the cameos in this summer's movies were a little more involved than previous ones. "In these two movies, I actually have cameos where I speak. In the Spider-Man movie, I say a little something to Peter Parker, and in the Fantastic Four movie, I replicate a scene that had been in one of the comic books. I can't say any more than that. If that doesn't pique your readers' curiosity, I don't know what will.” Lee's charm and self-deprecating humor have served him well on television, as well — the Sci Fi channel recently ordered an additional 10 episodes of "Who Wants to Be a Superhero,” the reality show in which contestants compete to become a Stan Lee character. Lee said he was surprised at how important the comics had been to some of the contestants. "A few of them almost got misty-eyed when they were talking about how important the comic books were to them when they were young and how great it is to be on that show and so forth,” he said. "As I travel around and meet more and more people, I'm amazed at how important comic books were to so many people over the years. ... And so many of them will say to me how much these comics meant when they were young, and some of them say that they still mean a lot to them. They still read them. And it's very gratifying to hear that from so many people.” Lee's company, POW (Purveyors of Wonder), is also releasing animated DVDs of new Stan Lee creations, including Mosaic and The Condor.
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Comic book creator Stan Lee, left, and filmmaker Kevin Smith discuss the comic book industry during a benefit in December. That discussion is available on DVD. PROVIDED