Marvel-ous Superhero Stan Lee Takes Flight

For a guy who is 88 years old Stan Lee still has super powers, just like the many comic book characters he created.

Ken Rutkowski with Stan Lee at METal

In the world of comic books, Lee is a real Super Hero. At Marvel Comics he co-created Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Fantastic Four and many others. His influence over the comic book industry is enormous. His name is on 35 million comics annually. More than 2 billion of his comic books have been published in 75 countries and 25 languages

And like any great superhero Lee keeps on going. The fruits of his work are currently on display in theaters. “Thor” is the story of a powerful warrior sent out of Asgard to Earth where he becomes a great defender. The movie is slaying its way to a box-office hit.

Bottom line is this: In the world of comic books, like Thor, Lee is a God. And that’s his right as a writer.

“That’s a nice thing about being a writer. I can be God,” said Lee, speaking to an audience of about 200 men at the METal breakfast in Los Angeles on Saturday.

He created Thor in 1962, based on the Thor of Norse mythology. Thor is more real than Superman, the star of DC Comics, Lee explained with some humor.

“Superman has no real propulsion,” said Lee. He simply raises his arms, leaps and flies.

“I happen to be very scientific,” said Lee. Thor flies with the aid of a large hammer strapped to his wrist. When he wants to fly he swings it around like a propeller and lets it go, as Thor flies with it.

“It’s science!” Lee exclaimed.

Thor cover in 1978

Brilliant though he is, Lee acknowledged a weakness.

“I have never been one for memory,” he said.

This explains why the alter ego of Spider-Man was named Peter Parker, the Hulk character Bruce Banner, or the Fantastic Four character Reed Richards. Having people with the first and last name beginning with the same letter was easier to remember.

“If I could remember the first name it gave me a clue of the other,” Lee said.

With that kind of memory it was not uncommon for Lee to sometimes flub a story line.

“I would get these indignant letters from readers,” pointing out flaws in continuity, he said.

This led to the creation of his No-Prize, which is exactly what readers would get. Lee would mail a pre-printed envelope that, on the outside cover, congratulated them for the “No-Prize which you have just won!”

The envelope was empty.

Lee, sitting cross-legged on a chair wearing his trademark large-rimmed glasses, tan-brown pants and olive green shirt displayed enthusiasm, whit and ego while being interviewed by METal founder Ken Rutkowski.

During a Q&A session, when asked what inspired him to create Thor he replied, “Greed.”

Asked who his favorite character was he said only the one he was working on at that time.

“I am my own biggest fan,” he said.

Spider-Man in 1962

On a recent Twitter post Lee wrote, “Finally saw THOR! It’s even better than everyone said it is! But, forgetting about my cameo for a moment, the movie itself is great!”

Known on Twitter as TheRealStanLee, he tweets about four times daily and has more than 143,000 followers.

Asked his definition of a hero Lee said, “The good guy who fights a bad guy. It’s someone who, when he or she needs to help someone, difficult or dangerous it may be, they do not walk away.”

About his creation of X-Men, Lee once said they used it to point out the injustice and wrong-headedness of bigotry.

Asked to elaborate, he said that was not a starting point. Merging in a message about the evils of bigotry “usually comes later. That’s not what I start with when I sit down to write.”

Stan Lee gets hugs from Bianca, Alexis and Maya at METal

With credits on several blockbuster films Lee spoke of the exquisite blessing it provides.

“The best thing about movies is you have cinematographers, actors and all kinds of creative people working their hearts out. They make beautiful movies and I get all the credit! It‘s a wonderful business.”

But if the movie bombs he can also say, “I had nothing to do with it!”

Lee’s current focus is on POW! Entertainment. POW! stands for Purveyors of Entertainment, where he is founder, chairman and chief creative officer. POW! creates and licenses intellectual property for the entertainment industry.

Stan ‘the Man’ Lee is also known for his signature sign-off of Excelsior which, translated, means “even higher.”

If Lee can fly any higher than he already has, he might in fact meet God.

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2 Responses to Marvel-ous Superhero Stan Lee Takes Flight

  1. David Moss says:

    Brian,

    Thanks for the great article on Stan Lee. You’ve captured the amazing experience of seeing him speak live. Without his comic books when I was young, my life would have had a lot less hope.

    It’s truly amazing to experience how much energy and optimism Stan has at 88 years old. What an inspiring guy!

  2. Michelle Reingold says:

    Wow, great insight into Stan, “The Man” Lee. I feel like I was there from reading your article. Thanks Brian!

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