We’re less than two weeks away from Awesome Con, the pop culture convention that is bringing Stan Lee to Washington, D.C. The comic-book writer and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics is looking forward to the event. “Well, I don’t know whether Trump will have time for me or not. We have to work that out,” he joked. Blogcritics and other media outlets listened in on a conference call led by Awesome Con founder Ben Penrod and LeftField Media president Greg Topalian. Here’s a run-through of the highlights from the interview.
Stan Lee loved reading a lot of authors: Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, George Bernard Shaw, Shakespeare, Dickens. “I read anything that I thought was worth reading,” he summed up.
For Lee, there wasn’t a wide gap between comics and other art forms. At lectures around the world, he argued that
[C]omics were really a good way to tell a story. You’re seeing the action and you’re reading the dialogue. Not much different from going to the theater and seeing a Shakespeare play. You hear the words and you’re seeing the actions. The difference is in comics, the characters don’t move, but it’s the same thing. You hear the words and you’re seeing the action. There’s nothing wrong with the comic form. Actually, it’s a great form. It’s just how well you do it.
Envisioning a comic book as a movie is an interesting aspect of how Lee exercised creative flair in his work. He added credits into the comic books, acknowledging the letterers, production people, and editors with funny nicknames. “I don’t even remember all the nicknames now, but it was enjoyable to me and the fans seemed to like it. That made me happy,” he recounted. “The letterers, editors, and proofreaders – they liked it, too, because they were finally getting some recognition.”
Lee often gets questions from aspiring writers on how to pick writing subjects. His most important caution was against aiming for a certain demographic. “I always tried to write stories that I myself might enjoy reading, because I feel I’m not that unique. If there’s a story I like, there must be millions of other people with similar taste and they’d like it, too. So I never ever wrote for other people.”
Reporters and bloggers on the conference call were curious about underrated Marvel characters. Lee called attention to the Silver Silver, who is also one of his favorite characters. “The thing I like about him is I was always able to get a lot of bits of philosophy that he would utter. They don’t use him as much as I wish they would,” Lee added. It remains to be seen whether in the future the Silver Surfer will get the attention that Lee believes the character deserves.
Lee relishes his experiences doing cameos in the Marvel films. His latest cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was one that he “got a kick out of.” However, he immediately identified the cameo in Avengers: Age of Ultron as his all-time favorite. “The thing I loved about that cameo is if you think about it, that is the only cameo I’ve done that had two scenes. It was more than a cameo. It was almost like a role in the movie,” he explained. “Now I’m shooting for cameos that are three scenes, four scenes. Eventually, I hope to be the co-star.”
Fans can look forward to more Stan Lee cameos as Marvel releases Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok later this year. For the immediate future, it’s time to be excited about Awesome Con, which begins next week on Friday, June 16. Stan Lee will be at the Walter Washington Convention Center on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to meet fans and share more fascinating stories.
Visit the Awesome Con website to find all of the Stan Lee events and much more.