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Tuesday, September 17, 2013 

Ottawa Citizen interview with Stan Lee

The Ottawa Citizen interviewed Lee, and what he says here about movies, it honestly lets me down:
Are movies diminishing the comic book?

I don’t think it matters. If comic books become of less importance and movies become more important, great. It doesn’t matter what the trappings of the story are as long as people enjoy stories.

I’m sure that Doritos, which we haven’t mentioned (for awhile), would agree with me on this.
Much as I respect Stan, it's a pity he's saying this, no matter what he thinks of the current situation back at the offices he used to work in. It does matter! If it hadn't been for those four color wonders, those movies wouldn't have been made. The newspaper actually nailed what went wrong: the conglomerates that own Marvel and DC consider them little more than a wellspring for movies and other licensed products, and proceed to milk them for all they're worth at the expense of the comics, all for the sake of something they saw as the next medium worth cashing in on after action stars like Stallone and Schwartzenegger's potential faded as they aged and moved on to political careers. It got to the point where the conglomerates no longer cared about the original medium and only see it as a source for moviemaking (toys too, but that's another story).

I know he grew up in a time when there was a belief held that you shouldn't speak poorly of the businesses you're working/worked for, but still, it's too bad he's taking such a weak view of the situation. Even if it wasn't through any fault of their own, the movies did end up diminishing the comics, and some of the modern contributors to comics have to shoulder blame because they seem to want in on the movie action more than they do the comics.

Lee did address the issue of the modern disasters Spider-Man's fallen victim to, and is a bit better in his reply to that query:
Are you bothered by recent changes to Spider-Man?

Obviously, after so many years of doing Spider-Man stories, the editors have tried to dream up new gimmicks to keep readers interested. But you can tell (everybody) that sooner or later good old Spider-Man will be back. People are supposed to be sweating about the future of Spidey. That’s what they want.
We also want Mary Jane Watson-Parker back as his wife, something he also wanted as the next step for Spidey in the mid-80s. Yet even then, there's still big problems lurking in the background, and they currently take the form of Axel Alonso as EIC. He and the stable of hack writers under his employ are exactly what's driven away much of the audience, casual or otherwise, and stories with political overtones and bad fanfiction elements are just one more dire cause for loss of readership. In fact, if the movie audience discovers what's going on in the original medium now, they might end up developing a bad opinion of the movies as source material for movie adaptations! Is that really worth risking?

The Columbus Dispatch also interviewed Stan Lee about his history and creations, and one of the same questions made by the previous paper comes up:
Q: Three Marvel movies have reached No. 1 at the U.S. box office — including The Avengers last year and Spider-Man 3 (2007) — while Marvel superhero movies have been ranked among the top five films at the U.S. box office in eight of the past 10 years. What makes Marvel stories such a fertile film source?

A: They’re really fairy tales for grown-ups. Most kids love fairy tales, but you grow up and you can’t read about monsters and giants anymore.

Along come these superhero stories, and I think they satisfy that longing for the same excitement and enjoyment you had reading (comic books) as a kid.
I don't think that's accurate. There's such a thing as sci-fi and fantasy novels for grownups. Let's take Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series as an example. That's not a fairy tale in its own right? It all depends on how much intelligence you can inject into a fairy tale, even if its primary target is the younger readers, then adults, too, will find it engrossing.

Lee also mentioned his interests in graphic novels, and I believe that's the medium's missed opportunity for many years - a failure to adapt to a different format that could've guaranteed it better durability, even if the serial fiction didn't come out on the kind of monthly basis a pamphlet usually does. I congratulate his appreciation of GNs, but it'd be a lot better if he'd argue that it's the next step in evolution the comics medium should be taking.

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I suppose he's trying to be charitable, considering that he comes from an era where you didn't speak ill of your employer, but I really wish he'd speak out against Marvel for all their mistakes in recent years, in regards to their comics. Especially in regards to Slott's destruction of Spider-Man.

And you hit the nail on the head regarding Marvel and its current hack writers: the liberal biases and the fanfiction elements to modern storytelling. Superior Spider-Man definitely sounds like some stupid Mary Sue fanfic.

And thanks for mentioning the Wheel of Time! Great series, and it definitely could qualify as a fairy tale for adults. I only recently finished the last book myself.

And my belief is that comics should abandon the pamphlet format and move toward a graphic novel. It'd be much more economical these days.

They might as well abandon the monthly pamphlet format and publish semi-annual books instead. Sales are down, mainly because the medium is no longer popular. But it's also because even the (relatively few) comic book fans remaining find it more economical to buy collected editions instead. You hear more and more fans, when talking about the latest serial, say, "I'll wait for the trade paperback."

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