Marvel’s Stan Lee: ‘Luck is genuinely the a single superpower left that hasn’t been written about’
Over eight decades as an entertainment and media impresario – whose operate has spanned comics, movies, Tv shows and far more – the imagination of Stan Lee has produced characters able to surmount or manipulate almost any limitation of the physical planet. Believe Spider-Man (Lee’s favored creation), The Outstanding Hulk, The Fantastic 4 and a host of other multibillion-dollar properties Lee helped dream up and on which the content colossus of Marvel Entertainment now rests.
But the man who has carried out a lot more than most to bring comics to the mainstream says there is a single power that hasn’t got significantly consideration in the superhero canon – luck. “It’s actually the one superpower left that hasn’t been written about,” says Lee. “I believed it would be fun to have a character who has a wonderful amount of luck – some great, some undesirable – and go with that and see where it takes us.”
The result is Fortunate Man, a 10-part Television drama starring James Nesbitt which was commissioned by Sky and is being made with Downton Abbey production company Carnival Films. It tells the story of DI Harry Clayton, a cop from central London’s murder squad who’s offered a charm that appears to imbue the wearer with the ability to control luck. Clayton is played by Nesbitt, greatest known for Television series which includes Cold Feet and The Missing. It is due for release on Sky 1 subsequent year – Lee says he “can’t wait till it’s out”.
A wonderful deal of luck is also on show in Amazing Wonderful Incredible – A Marvelous Memoir, the life story that he wrote and published this month in comic book kind that presents an illustrated Lee on the cover, arms outstretched, standing tall and confident like a lot of of the titans he’s imagined into existence.
Born in New York City to Romanian immigrants, Lee escaped the hardscrabble life of a Depression-era childhood that saw his father regularly out of work partly by throwing himself into books. A lucky break sooner or later let him parlay that love of reading into work as an assistant at Timely Comics.
“I’d by no means really believed of carrying out comics for a living,” Lee says. “I study other issues – novels, plays, every thing. One day I heard about an opening in a publishing company. I located out the company, amongst other issues, published comics, and that is exactly where the opening was. So I sort of fell into it. Comics have been just another form of entertainment to me, but it got to be more and more fascinating every day.”
His fortunate break with the publisher swiftly turned into a string of opportunities for the wide-eyed writer. A single of his very first assignments was a two-page story that carried a generally breathless title for comics of the period, Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge.
It was the 1st time Lee – born Stanley Lieber – employed his pen name (later his legal name) and marked a jumping-off point for his profession as a purveyor of pop culture which has earned him millions of dollars and throngs of fans who swarm him at conventions. He cannot aid but get recognised thanks in part to the trademark glasses, familiar moustache and impish but avuncular grin. His numerous cameos in Marvel blockbusters also preserve him in front of fans.
He insists he nevertheless shows up to perform at the Santa Monica offices of Pow! armed with loads of concepts to bounce off his co-founder and chief executive Gill Champion. Due to the fact even though he can not do considerably about the white hair or the reality he does not hear too nicely any far more, Lee’s superpower is the fertile imagination he nevertheless relies on to locate sparkle in stories he can shepherd onto new media platforms that let him reach new audiences and fans who might by no means touch a comic book.
“We’re undertaking films, we’re undertaking tv, a line of children’s books, we’re functioning on a live action show,” Lee says, ahead of turning to Champion. “Am I permitted to mention that? … We’re so busy. I feel like I just shuffle paper.
“Things haven’t changed a lot, truly, from when I began out. My only job, if you can call it that, is to come up with factors men and women will enjoy reading or seeing on a screen. It boils down to the identical point – story. If I can come up with great story, good characters, Gill decides on whether or not it must be a comic book or movie or something to try to do as a Tv series.”
Not that the public is precisely deprived when it comes to ideas, characters and stories Lee has had a hand in. In addition to Lucky Man, 2016 will see the release of season two of Daredevil, the reside-action series built by Netflix (which debuted earlier this year) around a Marvel character that Lee co-created.
Daredevil: Stan Lee produced the Netflix series. Photograph: Netflix
Other projects keeping him busy incorporate the annual Stan Lee Comikaze convention in Los Angeles, final held a handful of weeks ago. Lee and Pow! also have their World of Heroes YouTube channel, and Lee helped F84 Games launch mobile game Stan Lee’s Hero Command earlier this year.
“Very frequently Gill will say to me, ‘I believe somebody will be interested in this type of film.’ He generally does not like the very first one hundred items I come up with. But the 101st? That is the winner! I’m only kidding,” says Lee.
“My 1st believed is always ‘what can I do that hasn’t been carried out, story-smart? What will this character’s objective be, his motivation, his weakness, how can I make an audience care about this guy?’ That’s where the entertaining comes in.”
Lee’s method to his characters has sometimes triggered controversy. When Sony Images licensing agreements stipulating that Spiderman could only be depicted on the big screen as white and heterosexual emerged, Lee backed the restriction, saying that although he had no difficulty with new characters being far more diverse he saw no cause to adjust these already established.
Much more recently on Radio 4’s Today programme he was asked how he felt about a character in one more of his creations, the X-Men, getting gay. He professed to be unaware of the development, but seemed unconcerned, saying: “I do not care what happens as lengthy as they inform good stories, and they do.”
It matters whether or not or not that stance puts him in tune with his audience, as Lee utilizes himself more typically than not as a proxy for his fans.
“I learned early on that I’m not that various from most other individuals,” Lee says. “So if I can come up with a character I think is exciting and there’s a compulsion on my part to learn much more about this character, I figure a lot of people possibly will have the very same taste I do. As far as what the ‘rules’ are or what a character needs to be successful – A, I don’t know how to place it into words, and B, even if I did, why ought to I tell other people how to do it?”
Education De Witt Clinton High School, Bronx, New York
Profession 1939 joins Timely Comics (later renamed Atlas, then Marvel) 1942 military service 1945 rejoins Timely 1961 debut of the Wonderful Four 1962 the Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man 1963 Iron Man, X-Males 1964 writes Daredevil (pictured) 1972 stops doing month-to-month comics 1994 inducted Will Eisner Hall of Fame 2001 sets up Pow! Entertainment with Gill Champion, Arthur Lieberman