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For the adults still very much in tune with their inner child, London Super Con offers much: a plethora of comic book artists; Q&A sessions; a panel on legendary British comic house 2000AD; IDW publishing making their UK con debut; and a Lee-hosted career retrospective.  “Most other events have comics in their title, but only a small proportion of their make-up devoted to it. We put comics at the forefront, with a guestlist of UK and US artists and writers,” Super Con spokesman David Montieth says.

Chief forthcoming exports from the Marvel-verse, about which Lee is sure to be pumped by fans, are this year’s big-screen adaptations of The Avengers (Apr 27) and The Amazing Spider-Man (Jul 4).   The Avengers brings Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America (all previously introduced with their own origin-story movie) together in a tag-team extravaganza – a business model that has scared rivals DC Comics – upon which Marvel Studios has a lot resting. So who better to get behind the camera than comic book nut and Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon? “He’s done so much great TV stuff,” Lee says of fanboy fave Whedon. “You either know how to do things that people want to watch or you don’t, and Joss really does.”

If The Avengers poses a pivotal moment for Lee and Marvel Studios, The Amazing Spider-Man is equally as ambitious, not least because of the highly successful Sam Raimi take on the character began in 2001. One short trilogy later, though, the Tobey Maguire-starring version was canned, and the appropriately named Marc Webb (500 Days Of Summer) brought in as helmer for the back-to-basics (and back-to-school) reboot. In stepped Brits Andrew Garfield as Spidey, with Rhys Ifans as his nemesis, The Lizard.  So how does Stan feel about having a British duo at the heart of this US-born tale? “I love British actors. I wish I were British,” Lee enthuses. “When British people talk it sounds more impressive than when Americans talk. Everybody was worried about Garfield. How could he replace Maguire? But he brings a whole new feeling to it, the way Parker ought to be but with a different take on it. From what I have seen, the public will love it.”

Lee’s stories have always had a family-friendly, moral sensibility, something which he attributes to his desire for his stories to be enjoyed by grown ups, kids and families alike. Both Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man, though, face stiff competition this year: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises has Batman – a DC Comics creation – back on the big screen. However, Lee, as much as a fan as he is of Batman, is not worried by this cinematic dual.  “When you are doing a movie, you are competing with every other movie being made,” Lee says. “Batman is damn good – but it is darker than what we are doing.” Are there any characters from the opposition Lee is jealous of? “I would have liked to have created everyone which was written,” he says nonchalantly. “I did a series called Just Imagine… with my version of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. They sold well but they can’t make movies of those, too.”

Not yet, but with the ever-expanding wealth of comic book characters venturing on to the big screen, the thought of Spider-Man and Batman going head-to-head in the same film might not be so far-fetched. The idea of yet another feather in his cap, another of his ‘creations’ going cinematic, would make Lee proud, no doubt. z

London Super Comic Con.
Feb 25-26 at the Excel Centre 
E16 1AA 
Tube: Custom House (DLR)


Interview: Stan Lee on Spiderman, Marvel and London Super Comic Convention
Digital Mag

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