When Stan Lee saw the X-Men on the big screen for the first time, his reaction was visceral and immediate. “I said, ‘Oh man, if we could do more movies like this, we’d take over the world’.”
The comic book writer, who created the mutant superheroes in the 1960s, laughs at the recollection over the phone from Los Angeles. Since 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movie in 2000, he has watched with fascination as his creations came to life on screen, one after another: the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and the Amazing Spider-Man – a character Lee says he dreamed up while observing a fly on his writing room wall. Another Lee creation, Ant-Man, will soon join the packed roster, but not before the Avengers enjoy another outing and the Fantastic Four gets another reboot.
Comic-book movies have become Hollywood’s own superheroes, wielding awesome power over audiences and generating box office receipts that would make even billionaire Tony Stark crack a smile behind his gleaming Iron Man exterior.
The films have led to renewed interest in Lee, the man behind the man behind the mask. At 91, he remains a lively and committed ambassador for Marvel, the comic books publisher-turned-juggernaut with whom he has been connected for more than 70 years.
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