Stan Lee London Film & Comic Con Interview

Comic book legend Stan Lee gave a press conference at the opening of the London Film  Comic Con 2014. Stan spoke about leaving Marvel, his movie cameos, gave advice for aspiring comic artists and teased rivals DC comics. The even marked Stan lee’s final European fan convention appearance and possible one of his last public engagements.

Video and full transcript below of the sensational interview with the creative force behind Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and many more.

How does it feel to be here at the London Film & Comic Con?

I didn’t know it was a big deal like this, oh man what if I do or say something wrong. Will you be kind to me… Well first of all, Rule Britannia! That gets us off to a good start.

When you left Marvel what was it like to give your babies over to someone else?

Oh it wasn’t fun. They made me the publisher so I wasn’t the editor and head writer any more. So I had to watch other guys do things. And they were good. We had the best staff in the world but I missed being with the artists and the colourists, the people who make the books go. I missed being with the other writers. Being a publisher wasn’t as much fun. What I did mainly, because I’m not a business man, was I travelled around the country and came to London lots of times. Just talking about Marvel and promoting the books. So they called me publisher, but I was really more of a glorified press agent. That was more fun than sitting in an office figuring out if we’re making money or not.

Of all the stories you’ve written are here any that have meant something particularly special to you?

Any of my stories?  Every one of them. They were classics! There are so many books. I mean I had favourite stories with Fantastic Four, Daredevil, The Hulk and Spider-Man.  With all of them I guess. There was one story I remember even though it wasn’t with our top characters. I did one where Daredevil fought the Submariner. They were both our heroes and I had to not make it look as if one could really beat the other. So they practically fought to a draw. In the end the Submariner went back to the ocean and he left daredevil lying exhausted on the sand and he said something like “You were a noble competitor”.  I enjoyed the way I made them both seem heroic even though they were fighting each other. I had so many stories. The problem is I’m my biggest fan so I loved every story I wrote. So they were all my favourites.

How do you think the new wave of Marvel movies like Ant-Man & Doctor Strange will change the Marvel Universe on screen?

The movies have been great. We got so lucky we got the best directors. The best special effects people. The best actors. People wo had not been especially big stars before. Like Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor, he’s wonderful. I was with him filming yesterday. I did my cameo of course. Chris Evans as well who plays Captain America. It’s funny you may remember that he played the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four. It’s so unusual to take a guy from one part and give him another role in the same series. But it worked out beautifully though, he’s great.

So how do I think it will change, all it can really do is make it better for Marvel if we do these movies and they’re successful.  There are people now reading Marvel comics that would never have thought to read a comic book before. So it helps the comic book business. The movie business has been unbelievably incredible. The Marvel movies are about the biggest money making movies of all.

You know it’s funny. I keep thinking that DC could probably make a lot more money with Superman & Batman if they announced that I’d have a cameo in them. People wouldn’t believe it. They’d have to go to the movies to see it!

Do you have a favourite Marvel movie cameo?

My cameos are like my characters I like all of them. The one I did where I was the librarian and I was playing music while Spider-Man was having a life and death battle with the Lizard. The time they wouldn’t let me into the Fantastic Four wedding because they didn’t believe I was who I was. I thought about a few this morning I’d forgotten all about, but I loved them. I love all of them, but the one I did yesterday I can’t tell you what it is but I can’t wait for you to see it. It was for the Avengers Age of Ultron but it really was good. Don’t miss the Avengers just because of me!

Thank you so much for Spider-Man we think he’s the best character ever

Oh I wouldn’t disagree with that!

What do you think is more important for a great comic the artwork or the story?

Impossible to say. It’s like saying what make a great song hit the music or the lyrics. You can’t have a great comic without a great script, but a bad artist could ruin the script. If it’s drawn badly you’ll think the script is bad. There’s nothing in art that is as close to being a 50:50 value as comics, where the artist is 50% as valuable as the writer and vice versa. When they are both doing a great job then you have a product that’s really great.  If one of them doesn’t do such a good job the whole product suffers.

Do you have any advice for aspiring comic artists or authors?

You know that’s the toughest question to answer when people say I want to writer or draw comics, what would you recommend? I don’t know what to tell you. I have been away from the comic books for so long. But if you want to draw comics I’d imagine there’s always room for another great artist. But you’ve got to understand you have to be as good s the people ho are already drawing the scrits. Otherwise they don’t particularly need you and they’ve already got the artist. Make sure before you submit anything to a comic company or an editor, that what you’re submitting is at least as good as what they’re already using. Now that’s easier said than done because those artists are superb. But if you want to be a comic book artist you have to be superb also. Years ago you just had to be able to tell a good story with pictures. You didn’t have to be that great an artist as long as you could depict the story. But now every great artist wants to be in comics and the competition is really very keen. So just be sure the material you send to the editor I knockout artwork and good luck to you!!!

Given their popularity do you think we might see stand-alone movies for The Hulk and even Loki?

I’d like to see a stand-alone movie for all our characters and we will eventually. They’re working on a Doctor Strange,  Black Panther and Ant-Man. Everything. But as far as would I like to see what you said, sure I love stand-alones. But the audience loves when we team them up. That’s why Avengers is so big, They love to see all or at least many of the characters together rin one movie

Do you think we might see more TV series based on Marvel characters?

I think any one of them would work in TV. Some of them unfortunately require expensive special effects in order to get the most out of them. Some of those special effects would be too expensive for TV. The Hulk a million years ago was one of the most popular TV series if you remember and I think Spider-Man on TV would be sensational. But they’re spending so much time and money on the movies that they just don’t have time. But sooner or later they’ll probably find a way to have them on TV too. Marvel is very greedy and if there’s a way to make an extra buck believe me they’ll follow through.

Do you think we’ll ever get to see Kevin Smith take on a Marvel project?

Kevin would do a great job. If you’re familiar with him he’s the fellow who did the movie Mallrats all those years ago, which was my first starring vehicle. Kevin knows the comics as well as anybody. I don’t know why Marvel doesn’t hire him to do one. But maybe they will.

Do you feel you still have anything left to achieve?

If my mother was still with us she’d be disappointed because she was sure I’d be president of the United States. I just couldn’t make it. Oh… wait a minute I have something for you to do! Am I glad I thought of this. I want to bring back a present for my wife. My wife is English and I was thinking what I could get her. Are any of you friendly with the Queen?  If you are I think it would be nice if I was made a knight of the British Empire, because then I could go home to my wife and say you’re now a Dame. Imagine how happy she’ll be. So right after this interview call her highness, get together and work it out!

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