Stan Lee’s Last Appearance At Emerald City Comicon – With Todd McFarlane

Alyssa Pack writes for Bleeding Cool,

Saturday at Emerald City Comic Con, Todd McFarlane and Stan Lee sat down to talk to the audience about their work.  McFarlane answered a few questions but stepped aside because he knew that the legendary Stan Lee was the main attraction at this event. Todd McFarlane and Stan Lee made jabs at each other throughout the event, entertaining the audience with their humorous remarks about each other. This panel was definitely one that will go down in the books for Seattle with Todd McFarlane, Stan Lee, and Clare Kramer (moderator)

Todd McFarlane:“Let’s talk about the cameos in Marvel movies. I have a kid staying with me from Germany and when I said I knew Stan Lee he said, “Who is that?”  So I brought up a picture off of Google and he said, “I know that guy! He is in those movies!” (from cameos in Marvel movies)

Stan Lee: “He said WHAT?!?  Who is this person?  People don’t say that’s the wonderful writer that has given people so much literature, people say “Oh, that’s that cameo guy” and I’m not happy about that.”

Todd McFarlane: “Recently you shot about 5 of them, right?”

Stan Lee: “I can’t talk about them. They are the most closely guarded secrets since D-Day. If anyone would ever find out what these cameos were, they would say there is no point in seeing the movie. I know what his cameo is. We all know, that’s the only reason they go to the movies.”

Clare Kramer:“I think we should talk about Spider-Man.”

Stan Lee: “Oh great! This is the man who drew one Spider-Man issue that sold more copies than any other issue. I hate him so much!”

Todd McFarlane: “Sadly, I was just trying to emulate what you were doing but only better.  Talk to us about the invention of Spider-Man.”

Stan Lee: “Do you want to know the intimate details of the creation of Spider-Man? My publisher came up to me and said, come up with another stupid hero. So I was trying to think of something unique and I sat around in my room and saw a fly crawling up a wall. I thought wouldn’t it be cool to have a super hero that could stick to walls. So then I needed a name: Fly Man? Mosquito Man? Then I got down to the name Spider-Man. Oh, it sounded so good! Then i wanted him to be a teenager. So I ran into my publisher and told them about this idea I had, and he said “that is the dumbest idea I have ever heard! You can’t name a hero Spider-Man because people are afraid of spiders. A teenager dealing with personal problems? That sounds like a sidekick! Stan don’t you know what a super hero is?”  Well we had a book called Amazing Fantasies and we were going to publish the last issue, I said I’m going to put Spider-Man in that book.  So a month later after I had forgot about it my publisher came running into my room and said, “Let’s make a series.”

Todd McFarlane:“Explain to the people the difference between comic book and comicbook.”

Stan Lee: “This is important. Thank you for bringing that up. If we can be serious for a moment and pay attention, people always talk about comicbooks or comicbook conventions. Here is the key part, they usually write it like it is two words:comic book. You don’t know what that does to me. That is so wrong! If you write comic book as two words it means a funny book. I never want to see you writing comicbook as if it’s two words. If you write comicbook as one word it becomes something special. Its a type of book that no other book can intimate. Its a COMICBOOK! Pictures and what else is there? Oh, words!  If you see anyone writing comicbook as two words I want you to write them a threatening letter!”

Todd McFarlane:“Let’s talk about your hypocrisy with that. You are a guy who took his one name and cut it into two pieces. You were Stanley Lieber and then changed it to Stan Lee.”

Stan Lee: “I used to be known as Stanley Martin Lieber. So I was writing these comicbooks under the name Stanley Lieber. People in those days hated comicbooks and I don’t blame them. The stories were terrible. The dialogue was infantile. Most of the publishers were like mine and said don’t bother with characterization, just give me action! I got so embarrassed doing these kinds of stories because I thought someday I would write the great American novel and didn’t want to use my real name. So I cut my first name in half to , Stan Lee, so nobody would know it was me. However, later on we started getting better comics. People started realizing comics have a value and I was stuck with the name Stan Lee. I couldn’t figure out a way to go back without confusing people. I had also had my name legally so it would have been too tough going back. So I stayed Stan Lee and somewhere in limbo there is that great name Stanley Martin Lieber and I have never figured out how to get ahold of it.”

Clare Kramer: “I’m interested in when you started working on Spider-Man Todd. Let’s talk a little bit about what that was like.”

Todd McFarlane:“It was weird to me that when I came onto Spider-Man. I didn’t want to copy other artist’s ideas about how Spider-Man should look.  I wanted to draw him more spider like so I added more webbing and the way I drew the webs. They fought me on drawing those webs like that and now it’s the status quo. I was just having fun drawing it and entertaining myself and drew what I’d like Spider-Man to be.”

Clare Kramer: “I think it’s interesting that you can’t even imagine Spider-Man without those webs.”

Todd McFarlane: “Then I had to deal with getting the Venom costume off of Spider-Man. It was decided we would put it on another creature and it was supposed to be a symbiote.  Well they didn’t tell me it was supposed to be a human so I drew it like it was an alien like symbiote. Well since I didn’t know that information I drew it like the classic gorilla like Venom. I think it worked out for the best because I feel like that’s what the fans wanted to see.”

Todd McFarlane: “At San Diego I had a big announcement and that was the Spawn movie. Who would like to see a cameo of Stan Lee in Spawn?” (audience goes wild) This movie is going to be a dark R-rated.  I want Stan Lee in this building and gets caught by surprise. He has a beer in one hand sitting in a wife beater. I want you to come into that movie and be really nasty.”

Stan Lee: “You can’t give me too big of a part because people will mistake me for Clark Gable. Did I ever tell you why Marvel movies make so much money from my cameos?  Well say you’re sitting in the movie theater with your girl and in the middle of the movie she says that she wants some popcorn.  Well then you have to get up and get some snacks and my cameos are so short that you can easily miss them.  So then you will have realized you missed the best part and have to go buy tickets to see it again.”

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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