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The universal themes of Marvel comics


Travelling the world with Marvel
Stan Lee Writer
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The only surprises I've had with the receptions I've received travelling around is… how uniformly warm the receptions were, places that I never would have expected it. When I went to China, I was in Beijing, and I think they… they told me I was the first person to make a speech in the Great Hall of the People, and they gave me the title, Exalted Creator. I still can't believe it. In Japan, I… I was welcomed so warmly, and in Poland — I wouldn't have thought anybody would care about our comics in Poland — I was treated like a visiting dignitary. And of course… I remember I was in Mexico, in Mexico City some years ago, and the crowd was enormous, and one of the fellas said, ‘Gee Stan, you could run for president here. You'd be elected’. Sounded good. And I… in Canada I've always been treated… You know it's a funny thing, I had to… I had to make two speeches in Canada, one at the University of Manitoba, and one at — oh my, I forgot the name — Winnipeg. And I never could remember, is Manitoba in Winnipeg, or is Winnipeg in Manitoba. But they were great, in Toronto; they were great in Quebec, and… England of course. I mean, I… I did a speech once at a place called The Roundhouse in London, and it was so wonderful, I mean the reaction of the audience, and I'd been… of course my wife being English, we've been back there so many times, and each time… and in France, and Italy… In Italy I went to Lucca many years ago, and the whole city turned out. It was like Stan Lee Day in Lucca. So, there are a lot of places I haven't been. I haven't been to Africa, and I haven't been to Russia, and I haven't been… I was invited a number of times to Australia and New Zealand, and I would have loved to have gone, but it's just too far away. I never had the time, at the time of the invitation. I remember in Australia they said to me, ‘And we'll have a bodyguard for you’, the… they mentioned some man who was the heavyweight champion of Australia. They said, ‘He'll be one of your bodyguards’ and I said, ‘My God, are you afraid of an assassination?’ they said, ‘No, no, they love you here; he'll keep the crowds back’. But I would have really wanted to go there. But no, as I say, the only thing I've been surprised about — and very pleased about — in all these different countries with somewhat different cultures, they all seem to have enjoyed these stories, these comic book stories, and…and that's a nice feeling.

The creative genius of American writer, Stan Lee (1922-2018) brought us 'Spider Man', 'X-Men' and 'The Hulk'. They climbed tall buildings and fought the bad guys, but had normal worries too, about love, acceptance and family. Readers loved them and Marvel Comics, with Lee at the helm, went on to become hugely successful. In 2010 the Stan Lee Foundation was founded to focus on literacy, education and the arts. On January 4, 2011 Lee received the 2428th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Listeners: Leo Bear

Leo Bear is a Hollywood-based features writer. Her background is in news and features writing. Leo spent five years on the entertainment newsdesk at BBC Worldwide before going freelance and moving out to Los Angeles. She specialises in writing lifestyle features, celebrity interviews, health stories and travel features for publications including Eve Magazine, OK! Magazine, Total Film, TV Hits and Conde Nast Gourmet Travel Guide.

Tags: China, Beijing, Great Hall of the People, Japan, Poland, Mexico City, Canada, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Toronto, Quebec, The Roundhouse, France, Italy, Lucca, Australia

Duration: 2 minutes, 53 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008