By now, you all know about the onslaught of films based on Marvel Super Heroes that is set to invade theaters throughout the next four years and beyond. But do you know what Stan the Man thinks of all this nonstop production going on lately?
Here’s what Stan Lee, 85, who created the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man and Nick Fury characters, and Joe Simon, 94, creator of Captain America, had to say about the origins of the next wave of comic book characters from their own minds to the big screen.
Thor Release date: Solo film to be released June 4, 2010 Screenwriter: Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend) Origin: Disabled medical student Donald Blake discovers a mighty hammer that transforms him into his alter ego, the Norse warrior Thor. Lee recalls meeting years ago with Fabio, the romance-novel cover boy, about playing the part. “Someone brought him up to my office to see if he could play Thor,” Lee says. “Visually, he would have been good, but in those days we weren’t even in a position to do a movie.” Lee says Thor “will have to be someone big and strong and kind of blondish. And there should be a nobility.”
The First Avenger: Captain America Release date: Solo film to be released May 6, 2011 Origin: Captain America made his debut in 1941 as lowly U.S. Army Pvt. Steve Rogers. “We had him peeling spuds,” creator Joe Simon recalls. “The government shot him up with a super-serum, which made him the first of what was to be an army of superheroes.” Simon and comic-book artist Jack Kirby, who died in 1994, created the character during World War II as an all-American adversary to Adolf Hitler. “We were a war-consumed nation, just like today,” he says. “Hitler was a comic foil for our character, and every comic sold out that first year.” Simon now suggests that Osama bin Laden might be an appropriate foe for Captain America to pursue. But Captain America more likely will take on his most famous adversary, the Red Skull — a Nazi (later turned Communist) introduced by Simon in Captain America Comics #1.
Nick Fury Release date: Not intended as a solo film, but character will appear in The Avengers universe in summer 2011 Origin: Lee introduced the character in 1963 in the war magazine Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos. “It did very well,” Lee says. “But after a couple of years, I got bored with it and wanted to kill it. Years later, I got a lot of fan mail asking, ‘What happened to Sgt. Fury?’ In those days, there was a popular show called The Man From U.N.C.L.E., so I brought Nick back as a colonel for S.H.I.E.L.D.: Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division.”
Ant-Man Release date: Solo film, but timing not yet available Director: Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) Screenwriters: Wright and Joe Cornish Origin: Biochemist Hank Pym can alter his size as well as communicate with and control insects. Ant-Man creator Stan Lee recently had lunch with Wright to discuss the direction of the film. “There’s never been a hero like this in the movies,” Lee says. “I did one comic book called The Man in the Ant Hill about a guy who shrunk down and there were ants or bees chasing him. That sold so well that I thought making him into a superhero might be fun.”
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