Following the showing of “The Amazing Spider Man,” Stan Lee once again made an appearance at the Savannah Film Fest. This time it was to answer questions from the students and audience. Lee wooed the crowd with iconic insight on the role of comics in the future, superhero films, famous cameos and even took a shot at the man of steel.
Q: What makes your super heroes different from the rest?
Stan Lee: “Well first of all it’s the name! But also it’s that I gave them personal problems. They had to worry about saving the world as well as paying for rent. When I read Superman, I always wondered more about Clark Kent, where does he live? Does he have an apartment? Things like that … all I knew about him was that when he took off his glasses people were like ‘Oh Superman! Where did Clark Kent go?’ Personal problems and flaws is what gave them more character.”
Q: Where do you think comics will be heading in the future?
Lee: “There will always be comics. I think people will always enjoy word balloons and going from panel to panel. There will be digital comics and whatever new technology comes out there will be comics with that too. But I think printed pages that you can feel, and hold and turn the pages and go back to see what you missed, they will always exist. And they are being made into movies so comics are being represented there as well. But comics are stories and as long as you have stories there will be comics.”
Q: You created so many characters early in your career. Was there any special attachment to those early creations? And how was it having to hand them off to new writers and artists?
Lee: “Well I didn’t like it, even though I knew it was necessary. They made me a publisher, so I became a promoter and I went out and talked about Marvel Comics. But stopped reading the comics, because I was so sad that I wasn’t the one who wrote them. Even to this day, I’m sure they are wonderful stories, people tell me about what’s going on and I’m like well that’s great but I don’t read them.”
Q: Was there any characters that you created that never made it into the comics that you wished had?
Lee: “Nope, they all made it. I was also the editor as well as the writer and I am my biggest fan so every character I wrote, I loved and would end up getting published.”
Q : How long does it take you to make a comic book?
Lee: “It would take me a day to write a comic stript. I would spent three days a week writing and do a book a day. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then I would go to the office the other days and edit them. Then on the weekends I would work on whatever needed the most attention.”
Q: What was the biggest challenge when creating stories?
Lee: “Time! Getting everything done on time. I wrote at home so I would have to balance writing and family, taking out the garbage taking care of my daughter. I only had one day to finish it so time was always my biggest enemy.”
Q: Being the executive producer in all these films, how much control over the characters do you have in the process?
Lee: “None whatsoever, I have very little control. I don’t see the script, occasionally I will have lunch with the director or a star, like the guy making Antman,I don’t remember his name- I don’t remember names, or Robert Downey Jr., for Ironman and we talk about the characters. But all I do for the movies are the cameos really. Then when the movie comes out I am excited to see it just like all of you. I’m seeing it for the first time.”
Q: Can you tell us more about the cameos? How many takes does it take?
Lee: “Only one! They call me One-Take-Lee! But whenever I do a cameo, they call me up and say they have a cameo for me and I come in and shoot it. I come into the studio, dressed in my normal garb and they tell me I got to go to wardrobe and they end up dressing me in the same exact thing I was wearing when I arrived!”
Q: How do you enjoy the cameos in all of these Marvel films?
Lee: “I love them! I feel like an actor! I can’t wait to be in the credits and also think that the Oscars should add a category for “best cameo”! But wait until you see my cameo is Ironman 3. It’s the best one so far!”
Q: Any new super hero’s that are going to be made into movies that are going to come out in the near future?
Lee: “Oh they are all being made into movies! I can tell you there will definitely be a Dr. Strange movie! They are working on Antman, which requires really small cameras! Black Panther is being developed, one of my favorites…the Inhumans…All the hero’s will eventually be made into movies.”
Q: You were the first comic editor to include credits in the comic books. What was the thinking behind that?
Lee: “Well I wanted them to be more like movies so I included credits. I also wanted them to be fun to read.”
Q: Early on comics seemed to be a male oriented audience and but more now a days more and more women are working in and reading comics. How do you feel about this new diversity?
Lee: “I visited a comic class and at least a third of the students were female. So there will be even more women working in in comics and that is a good thing. I think someone realized that women make up 50% of the world so we should pay attention to them.”
Q: You have accomplished so much, with Marvel and POW, what is next? What else would like to do in the future?
Lee: “Visit more places like this. I love the answering the fans questions and enthusiasm of the crowds. I am having such a great time. But now I have to catch my plane. Thank you so much for having me. Excellsior!”