Stan Lee knows adults crave fairy tales as much as kids
It’s safe to say that if it weren’t for Stan Lee, Marvel Studios would not exist and superheroes might still be idealistic people with no true flaws or worries. For over 50 years, Mr. Lee has been the most iconic face of comic books. A committed workhorse, he shows up to support his creations whether on screen, at comic-cons, or as a spokesman for a product.
When we meet to talk, Mr. Lee performing the latter. As part of Gillette’s team-up with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (Go HERE to read about how my adventure), Stan Lee was on hand to give the event some star power.
Photo Credit: Donna Dickens
HitFix Harpy: Fans these days are always on the lookout for your cameos. We’ve got “Black Panther,” “Captain Marvel,” and more coming out. How far in advance do you know where you’re going to be these films? Do they tell you anything?
Stan Lee: Not at all. I’ll get a phone call. “Hey Stan, we have a cameo for you. Can you be at the studio at nine tomorrow morning?” I never know what it'll be. It’s always fun and it’s always a surprise. I always think I could have come up with a better one but I go along with what the director wants me to do.
You never show up and gives suggestions?
Stan: No. You can’t make the director lose face in front of people. [laughs] They’re brilliant though. The one I did but I’m not allowed to say yet what it is for “Age of Ultron” is the funniest cameo yet.
Which was the most fun for you to do?
Stan: I think the one in “Big Hero 6.” I didn’t realize it would be that good and I didn’t realize it would come after the credits. A lot of people went home and missed it. [laughs] That’s why Marvel makes so much money, because when folks get home they realize they missed my cameo so they go buy another ticket.
Do you think Marvel would ever let your cameo’d characters meet? Just a huge rumble in the middle of Manhattan over who is the REAL Stan Lee?
Stan: Oh, never mind a big fight. They should just be a TV special with all the cameos. It would get the highest rating!
Yes! Like “Doctor Who” did.
Image Credit: Marvel/BBC
How much of your life do you spend being STAN LEE the brand versus Stan Lee the private person?
Stan: I’d say about one-fifth. The rest of the time it’s being at home.
What do you do normally when you’re not out here getting your picture taken by a horde of media?
Stan: I have an office. I work with people and we come up with ideas for movies, television and things like that. It’s fun and I love doing it. I don’t do comic books anymore really. I figure if a comic book story is going to be made into a movie I might as well start with the movies and skip the earlier thing and not waste time!
How do you feel about how big Marvel has grown? They’ve recently expanded in a whole new direction with the likes of got a bunch of Lady Thor, and Silk, and Gwen Stacy.
Stan: It’s unbelievable. We’ve been very lucky. More than lucky. The people doing the movies have done such a good job…I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups. Every kid loves fairy tales, stories of witches and giants and magicians. Then, when you get a little older you can’t read fairy tales anymore. But all of a sudden along come these movies and they have all the elements that we loved as children. We have men who can fly! All those things. I think that’s one of the reasons for their popularity.
There was actually a book, “Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology,” about how superheroes have replaced myths in modern culture. Instead of Norse mythology, Greek mythology, we have stories about these superhuman people that you helped create.
Stan: We created our own mythology. And it even includes Norse mythology because it has Thor!
[laughs] Do you know the fan theory about you and all your cameos? The one that says you might be the Watcher and that’s why you show up in every Marvel film? Have you heard that one?
Stan: I’m watching all the time.
Would you like to confirm or deny if you are the Watcher inside the Marvel universe?
Stan: No, I could never. Because if I were the Watcher…it would be a big secret.