92 years young, Stanley Martin Lieber never did quite get to write that Great American Novel.
He did something far more impactful to generations of people: After changing his name to Stan Lee, he created the Marvel Universe. All praise its name.
Before I could make out the letters, I could understand fantastic cars whizzing through the sky in the comic books he’s been behind since the Marvel Universe big-banged its way into my life and the lives of countless other fans.
The Generalissimo himself continues to reign supreme in Hollywood thanks to the blockbusters emerging from his canon of work, and he still teaches online courses, writes and creates brand new comic characters, maintains his role as chairman and chief creative officer of POW! Entertainment, Inc, and of course remains chairman emeritus of Marvel Comics. On top of that, he is a certified movie star (just don’t call them cameos anymore).
Since the man behind Spider-Man and Thor and all the rest is coming to Boston Comic Con 2015, and I had roughly 10 minutes to keep a tidal wave of geek freak-out in check while chatting with him over the phone.
So, how are you doing?
I guess that depends on how you treat me! I’m feeling fine and looking forward to coming to Boston and meeting my friend Ken. [Ed note: Ken Bold is Guinness World Records title holder of the world’s oldest comic artist, born Aug 1, 1920, and is celebrating a birthday at Comic Con].
What, if any, are some of your memories of Boston?
When were we in Boston last? Two years ago. I have great memories of it; we went to a convention and had a wonderful time. People were terrific.
How did you feel Ant-Man went? Was it great to see it come alive on the screen?
Ant-Man was terrific: The critics loved it, the fans loved it.
You recently taught a Smithsonian Comics course. Was that fun for you? I mean, you’ve been our teacher for many years now.
I’m working on it now, I think that’ll be great! Years ago, I used to travel to a lot of colleges and do lectures, [and] I think I’ve been to every college in America and England. You know what? I love being with students, I love talking to them and I love their enthusiasm. The Smithsonian thing is very exciting for me.
How did you keep track of all of these stories when you were creating the Marvel Universe?
They are like my own children [and] it’s easy to keep track of your own children. I dreamed them up, and I like to follow their progress and their stories. For me it was easy to keep track of them, [as] I was living with them the whole time, you know?
For sure. Where do you think the next generation of comic book creations is going to come from? I noticed you are working with YouTube on the World of Heroes series.
The next generation of comic book writers come from the fans, just like they always do. So many fans do their own comics now. So many of the fans put them on YouTube, or they put them wherever they can. People look at them and enjoy them. Once you get something like comic books that people enjoy so much, there are always artists and writers rising up through the ranks.
So that’s where the next generation is going to come from.
It will be. From the fans!
We hear that your cameo in the next X-Men movie might be a little bit different.
I’m not allowed to talk about it, but there will be a real difference which will be noticed the minute anyone sees the cameo.
Do you take over when on the Hollywood sets of your comics? They must love having you there.
I love Hollywood and I love making those cameos, although I am getting a little tired of calling them “cameos.” I may start referring to them as “starring roles.”
Well-deserved, as you have given so many fans so much joy over the years.
That’s good to hear. Really. I enjoy doing what I do, and if other people enjoyed it, that’s the best.
On a personal note, can I get an “Excelsior”?
“EXCELSIOR!” So long.
STAN LEE AT BOSTON COMIC CON 2015. FOR TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION, VISIT BOSTONCOMICCON.COM