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If I wasn't a comic book writer...


The universal themes of Marvel comics
Stan Lee Writer
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The universal themes of Marvel's comics, I… the good guy gets the bad… beats the bad guy, I guess. I never thought of it in those terms you know. Each story stands on its own two legs, so to speak. You… you write a story, whether it's Spider-Man, or Iron Man, or Daredevil, or Dr Strange or whatever, and you want to make that story interesting. So… and you want the readers to enjoy it and want to come back and buy the next issue. So the universal theme is, to make it as exciting and interesting as possible. And, as I say, I… I'm not part of the Marvel editorial staff any more, but when I was there — and I’m… I'm sure it's the same now — you want the good guy to be the one that the reader would want to emulate, not the villain. Although the villain should be very colorful, and in a way charismatic, but the stories have to be told so that the reader would want to empathize with the… with the hero.

[Q] And do you enjoy writing for the villains more than writing for the heroes, or vice versa?

I can't say that I enjoyed writing for the villains more than the heroes, but of course it turns out that way. See, in the beginning, writing the hero was very exciting ’cause, getting his origin, that's what the whole series is going to be based on. But once you've created the hero, you've got him, and he's going to be pretty much the same in every story. But each story needs a new villain, so it is more interesting to keep coming up with new villains because each one is a new problem. The hero you've already done.

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: Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Daredevil, Dr Strange

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008