Stan Lee interview (December 2004)

December 20, 2004 | Interviews

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Stan Lee turns 82 next week having had a career as a writer than is bordering on legendary.
Many of the characters Lee co-created over the years at Marvel Comics, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk and Daredevil to name a few, are among the most recognizable in the world.
So why doesn’t he take it easy instead of continuing to write books like his new Stan Lee’s Superhero Christmas?
“Greed was obviously the motive,” Lee said with a laugh.
Lee, along with illustrator Tim Jessell, have created what they hope will be a new festive children’s classic with by making what the writer said is a very natural combination.
“It was kind of fun to think about Santa Claus dealing with super-heroes because Santa is the ultimate super-hero,” he said.
To contrast all that goodness, Lee had to come up with the ultimate villain. The result was the cold-hearted Ice King.
“The idea of this guy who could imprison Santa is this cell of ice and had these little trolls working with him seemed good,” he said.
The story sees Santa trapped by the Ice King on Christmas Eve. When the heroic Protector rushes to Santa’s aid and is also caught, it’s up to his wife, the Protectress, with the help of their children, Carolyn and Robert, to save the day.
A return to his super-heroic roots was inevitable, Lee said.
“To tell you the truth: people just expect it of me, he said. “Whenever I want to write something they say ‘what kind of super-hero story will it be?’
“I guess I’m a little bit typecast.”
This new holiday release is something Lee hopes will become an annual tradition and maybe even become an animated film or direct-to-DVD project in time for next year.
“It’s got some things that most Christmas specials don’t have: adventure, super-heroes, the ultimate super-villain, Santa Claus and it has the happiest of endings,” he said.
Lee said he never had any interest in returning to his classic Marvel creations to tell this tale.
“I’ve done those and I’m happy with them, but that was yesterday,” he said. “I like to do new things today.”
So as he celebrates birthday No. 82 on Dec. 28 and is still writing, working on developing TV shows, feature films, video games and more, is he ready to slow down and take it easy?
“I’m not (ready to) retire,” he said. “I’ve never worked harder in my life or enjoyed it more.”

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