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Feature: Spider-Man 3

Dark days ahead…

As the first images of the eagerly-awaited movie are unveiled, we talk to Spider-Man creator Stan Lee about the web-spinning superhero and other comic characters.

If they conferred Sainthood for services to popular culture, then surely the first in line for the honour must be Stan Lee, the fabulously prolific creator of a whole pantheon of superheroes from the Incredible Hulk to The X-Men, to the webslinging Spider-Man.

Stan Lee, now in his eighties, is showing no signs of stopping, or even slowing down. With his trademark bravura style, he is acting as producer on a host of projects to bring his comic book creations to the big and small screens. As fans around the world raise a cheer at the sight of the moody shot of the iconic Spider-Man in a new black costume, we share a few words and reminiscences with the creator of the sensational Spider-Man legend.

First up, we ask the biggie – what does Lee consider his greatest personal accomplishment and his greatest professional accomplishment? Lee’s answer is surprising, and modest. “I guess my personal accomplishment is my marriage to my wife! We’ve been married for 58 years, and of course I have my daughter. As far as the professional accomplishment, I don’t know, I never really look back at yesterday, I’m always thinking of what I’m doing today and tomorrow.”

Spider-Man has transferred successfully from comic book to the big screen, which gives Lee an enormous amount of pride. “Spider-Man has become as big, or bigger, than Superman! It’s all over the world, it’s unbelievable. It’s incredible. And another unbelievable thing, the X-Men are almost as big.”

But Lee’s workload does not allow for a return to his old stamping ground. “I don’t follow the storylines that are going on at Marvel. I don’t have time to read the books – Marvel’s or anybody’s, which I regret, because I used to always know everything that was going on! Now I barely know the names of the artists and the writers of the new ones.I formed my own company called POW Entertainment which you may figure out stands for Purveyors of Wonder. And we’re doing our own movies and TV series.”

And Stan Lee’s venture into the world of TV is putting a unique spin on a rather over-familiar genre. “We have a reality show that will be on the Sci Fi Channel called So you Want to be a Superhero? It’s going to be a bunch of guys who try to prove that they can be a superheroes. It’s going to be very funny and I think it will be interesting. I’m going to be like Donald Trump. At the end of every episode, I will say to some contestant something like, ‘Take off your costume,’ or ‘Take off your cape!’ we haven’t quite decided what I’m going to say yet.

Do the contestants actually have to have super powers? (If so, where can I get bitten by a radioactive spider?) “No, no,” Lee laughs. “It’s going to be about the qualities of heroism, loyalty, all of that. We haven’t started yet, we just got the okay, the greenlight from the network last week.”

by Judy Sloane

Read the full interview in
Starburst #335

Image © Visual Imagination, Spider-Man © Sony Pictures/Marvel Enterprises
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #335, see below for ordering options
Starburst #335
April 2006
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