Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters & Marvels
In this bonus feature included in the 'Monsters, Mutants, and Marvels' DVD, 'smiling' Stan Lee explains to 'bearded' Kevin Smith how he has helped shape the Marvel Universe.
Thankfully, this homely tête-à-tête is broken down into the following categories: (1) Stan's Early Years. (2) Creating the Fantastic Four. (3) Heroes of Science. (4) Relationship with the Fans. (5) Living in the Marvel Universe. (6) Collaborating With Jack Kirby. (7) DC / Marvels Friendly Rivalry. (8) The X-Men Phenomenon. And (9) Comics into Movies / TV.
Please, by all means, check out these selected 'Stan quotes' taken from this interview:
- I envisioned myself winning the war single handily. But before I knew it, I was enlisted into the 'writing corps'.
- Comic books have always seemed to follow trends. We weren't very creative in those days.
- I wouldn't know a 'gamma' bomb from an egg-plant. I just liked the sound of the word.
- The 'Marvel Method' came out of pure necessity. I couldn't handle the work load if truth be told.
- You get creative people to produce good work by allowing them to create.
- I loved the movies. So why not allow the artist to get a screen credit? It just made sense to me.
- Why not set the stories in reality? It helps ground them.
- I have a very bad memory, and that's why most of the characters had alliterative names.
- There is not a bad thing I can say about Jack Kirby. He should have been a film director. He's that good.
- I was friends with a lot of the artist at DC Comics, and had lunch every week with their editor, Julius Schwartz. I made up the rivalry myself. It drove them nuts.
- When I watch the comic book movies for the character's I've created, I forget that I created them. Ha!
Also, here's some of the stuff Stan says about some of his own creations:
America-- I brought him back in the sixties because I loved working on him in the past.
- The Fantastic Four -- One day our publisher, Martin Goodman, played golf with the big wigs at DC Comics. And when they told Martin how good they were doing with their new team book, guess what he asked me to do next? My own personal soap-opera.
- Doctor Doom -- He's one of my most favorite characters. I made him a monarch who wanted to conquer the world. A non-arrestable offence.
- Hulk -- Frankenstein meets Jekyll and Hyde with pants on.
- Thor -- 'Mjölnir' is a made-up word. So it does not matter if you are unable to pronounce it properly.
- Daredevil -- I was concerned that blind people would take him the wrong way. I was wrong.
- X-Men -- I wanted to call them 'The Mutants', but my publisher did not like the name. He thought nobody would understand it.
- Silver Surfer -- He allowed me to get my own philosophy out there. Bless him.
- Iron Man -- He's my version of Howard Hughes.
Nuff said, huh?
Today my Uncle and I walked around his old-haunts up 'East London' in the pouring rain. I must say that it was a very nice excursion all in all. I learnt a bit more about him, his past, and what he was like a much younger man. Moreover, I, in turn, got to thinking about this interview too. How Kevin Smith learnt a bit more about Stan Lee via his humble musings.
True stories. Both of them. And very synchronistic on many different levels. Because, lets face it, what other way are you going to know why x did z, or how n came to y, if you don't sit down and listen to what people have to say? Huh?
Well, when I say 'ignorance', I of course mean it in the best possible way. Stan himself admitted in this program (as he did in the other one, click here) that many of the things he did at Marvel during those early years, all had to do with necessity, creativity, and a drive to produce good work for the masses. Why else devise the 'Marvel Method'? Why else come up with the alliterative names? And why else compose a basic story concept which he could reinterpret to infinity and beyond?
Now to add some depth to this stance, you also need someone who is good at listening to the speaker as well. Like Kevin did with Stan. And like I did with my Uncle. Though, please note, the person who is hearing what is being said, has to focus the irritation, and help define the 'train of thought' in more definitive terms.
Overall, this portion of 'Stan Lee's Monsters, Mutants, and Marvels' is a must watch for any comic book fan. It's warm. It's revealing. It's nice to listen to. And it has nothing to do with porn in a church.
Nuff said redux.
THE RATING: A