Marvel Comics legendary writer and Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee has participated in his fair share of publicity stunts and PR shenanigans in his over 50-years of hyping the Marvel (and the Stan Lee) brand. But last week, Lee stepped into the shoes of one of his most famous characters to accept an award at the Spike TV “Scream 2009” ceremony.
“They had me come in on a Spider-Float or something high in the air. It was terrifying!” laughed the 86-year-old of his accepting the Comic-Con Icon Award from “Spider-Man” actor Toby Maguire in the ceremony that will be broadcast tonight, October 27, at 10:00 pm. “I was harnessed in there so, if the thing fell, I couldn’t get out. I’d fall with it. And it was held up by some giant balloons, and I thought to myself, ‘If there’s somebody down below with a pea shooter, I’m dead.’ This was the ultimate. I’ve never done anything like this, but I enjoyed it actually. I don’t think Spider-Man would have been as scared as I was though.”
While the aerial ride across a crowd of assembled fans and creative talent from the horror, comics and genre entertainment set had its bumpy moments, Lee told CBR that he was glad to interact with Maguire on stage, if briefly. “We’re not drinking buddies, because we don’t often see each other, but I do know him, and I think he’s one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He’s just a regular guy. He’s smart, he’s pleasant -Â I like him very, very much. And more than that, I’m grateful to him because he has done such a wonderful job playing Spider-Man. I don’t think anyone could have done it better, and very few people could have done it as well.”
Lee went on to explain that, despite his strong string of cameos in the Marvel movies, he’s still waiting for a bigger on-screen break with an eye towards the upcoming “Spider-Man 4.” “I did ‘Iron Man 2,’ and I told Toby that I wanted Sam Raimi to give me more than half a line in my next cameo for ‘Spider-Man.’ And Sam was in the audience when I said that over the microphone, and somebody who was sitting next to Sam said he yelled out, ‘You’ll get it!,’ so I’m pretty excited. I didn’t get a chance to see Sam, there was so much excitement going on. But incidentally, Sam Raimi is one of the great human beings and the most talented guy in the world.”
Though hob-nobbing with Hollywood talent happens often when he attends events like “Scream,” or for that matter, the now Hollywood-heavy Comic-Con International, most of the time Lee said he’s fielding as many requests as he’s making. “Half of the time [they approach me] to talk to me about my work, and half of the time it’s to suggest that they’re available for any new roles in new movies. But there are so many. At the Scream Awards I met Quentin Tarantino, and he’s a great guy. We had a long talk, and he’s as big a comic book fan as you can find anywhere. He was telling me that the one thing he was unhappy about was that he’d never gotten a Marvel No-Prize. So I told him I would try to send him one.”
Overall, the creator relishes the opportunities he has to meet with comic fans of all stripes. “It’s gratifying. I haven’t gotten used to it,” Lee said. “It’s exciting every time, and the more the better as far as I’m concerned. I love the excitement of the fans. I love the fact that everybody seems to love these characters. And the nice thing about it is that comic book fans are such cheerful, enthusiastic, and I must say, intelligent people, because when you actually sit down to talk to the fans, they’re not just a bunch of mindless geeks. They know something about writing styles. They know about art. They know the difference between a good story and a bad one, between a good movie and a bad one and why one is good or why one is bad. It’s very gratifying to know that the people who are the ones you want to impress are worth impressing.”
Lee hopes that he’ll have more hits in the future thanks to his production shingle POW! Entertainment. He explained that the work he’s already done with the Walt Disney corporation helped prime his excitement over that company’s announced buying of Marvel. “I’ve always loved the Disney Company. When I was a little kid, to me, Walt Disney was God. Those cartoons they did were the greatest. POW! made what they call a first look deal at Disney, meaning every new idea I create I have to show to Disney before I can try to sell it to anyone else. And they’re great to work with. Every one of them are real professionals and nice guys, and of course I love Marvel. So now that Disney is buying Marvel? That’s as good a development as I could ever hope for.”
But until that deal is finalized, Lee has plenty on his Disney plate and beyond. “We have three movies that are at Disney now that are in development, and then we have ‘Time Jumper.’ And I have a manga book I created called ‘Ultimo’ that seems to have become a best-seller in Japan, that they’re now selling in this country in English. I have this little thing on the telephone called ‘Striperella,’ and a few television projects I have in development also, and a Japanese animated cartoon called ‘Hero Man’ that is now being developed. So I’ve been keeping busy, I’m happy to say.”
Spike’s “Scream 2009” Awards air tonight at 10:00 pm Eastern and Pacific.