"He's pretty good at catching bad guys, but he's apt to get an allergy attack while he's fighting, he worries about dandruff, he'll have an ingrown toenail, [he] tears his costume," creator Stan Lee told CBC-TV's 90 Minutes Live back in 1977, when listing some of the non-heroic problems in Spider-Man's life.
This humanizing of superheroes like Spider-Man wasn't something that happened during Lee's early days in the business — and was not an approach he set out to use in the first place. But it was one that he found worked well with audiences.
TORONTO — Stan Lee struggled in his final years to get broadcasters behind a Canadian-set TV series about an Indigenous cop with special powers, says a producer who teamed with the late Marvel Comics founder to help it take shape.
"The funny thing is I started doing that as a gag and really to keep myself awake, you know, and I found that the readers are as crazy as I am — they started enjoying this sort of thing," Lee said.
"So, after 20 years of writing pap … I suddenly realized, yeah, I could actually have fun with what I'm doing."
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Lee said the approach became part of an effort at Marvel Comics to "make our characters have feet of clay," making them more relatable and more rooted in everyday life — even if those same characters, like Spider-Man, have super powers that the rest of us don't.
Beyond Spider-Man, Lee, who recently died at the age of 95, was the creative force behind many iconic Marvel characters including Iron-Man, The Hulk and The X-Men.
The comic book legend would return to make another appearance on 90 Minutes Live, about a year after this interview.
Lee also made an appearance on CBC's Beyond Reason, a game show in which a "psychic panel" tried to guess the identity of a mystery guest.
The man who had created so many iconic superheroes went unidentified — though one panellist, astrologer Geof Gray-Cobb, guessed Lee was "a multi-millionaire who has talent for making money."
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The “X-Men” star (aka Wolverine) revealed to host Stephen Colbert how he was once embarrassingly snubbed by the entire 300-strong press pack on a Comic-Con red carpet because Lee was also in attendance — and everyone wanted to speak with and photograph him.
Stan Lee struggled in his final years to get broadcasters behind a Canadian-set TV series about an Indigenous cop with special powers, says a producer who teamed with the late Marvel Comics founder to help it take shape.
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Kevin Gillis, creator of the animated series “The Raccoons,” says as recently as a few years ago he was working with Lee on a live-action version of an unrealized comic book idea “very near and dear to his heart.” Lee died on Monday at 95.
His show was called “Stan Lee’s The Chosen,” and its concept revolved around an Indigenous man who left his reserve behind for a job as a Toronto police officer. When the man’s father dies, he learns that he’s next in line to be a shaman and has powers inherited from his ancestors.
Lee wanted the storyline to explore the man finding a new connection with his heritage, and contrast it against his life in the city, Gillis said.
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“Stan was very clear, he didn’t want him to fly, he wanted him to have vulnerabilities… the one gift that he (had) was he could see things a few seconds before they happened,” Gillis added. “We’re still trying to get it made.”
Even with Lee’s reputation for building solid characters like Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men, bringing “The Chosen” to life was a struggle.
so…? if people have met him or knew him during his life whats wrong with bringing up that good memory as a way to remember him and all that hes done….?
It wasn’t for a lack of trying on Lee’s part either, Gillis added. The Marvel figurehead was so enthusiastic about “The Chosen” that he pulled out his tireless charm at every turn.
One day he asked Gillis to borrow his iPad, and recorded a personal message to each Canadian TV executive saying “how important it was that he wanted to do this series before he died,” Gillis said.
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“I’d walk into the pitch meetings and before I got Stan on the phone I’d hand the iPad over to the executive.”
Seeing the famous face address them by name must’ve been a thrill, but while European broadcasters signed onto the idea, Gillis said getting the rest of the financing into place didn’t go as smoothly.Global TV in Canada told them it could only afford the budget if a U.S. broadcaster was on board too – and that never happened, Gillis said. The deal fell apart.
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Video: Stars Pay Tribute To Stan Lee
Shortly afterwards, “Stan Lee’s Lucky Man” debuted overseas. The action series starred Irish actor James Nesbitt as a police officer with the power to control luck.
Video: Stars Pay Tribute To Stan Lee