Stan Lee, the living Marvel himself, will close out the 2012 Hero Complex Film Festival — and he’ll get some on-screen backup from Wolverine, Magneto and the other uncanny mutants in the landmark 2000 film “X-Men.”‘
“An Evening with Stan Lee” will bring the 89-year-old dynamo of pop culture and co-creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men and hundreds of other characters onstage for an in-depth conversation. You could say that Lee is the most famous name in comic books who isn’t a comic-book character — but at this point he he’s appeared in so many Marvel stories — both on the page and on the screen in his movie cameos — that it’s difficult to know where Lee the creator stops and Lee the character begins.
Stanley Lieber was born in New York City on Dec. 28, 1922, but when he got his first published writing credit (it was the third issue of “Captain America Comics” in May 1941), he opted for “Stan Lee” because he thought it wise to save his real name for the respectable writing that he would do after his brief stop in comics. Last year marked his 70th anniversary in comics and he’s become a larger-than-life figure with his Barnum bombast and relentless work ethic.
Seven decades presents a lot of ground to cover but the plan is an emphasis on the Silver Age creations that filled the skies of the Marvel Universe. We’ll talk about his collaborators through the years — Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr., John Buscema, the late Moebius, to name a few — and I’ll try to get him to talk not just about his triumphs, but also his disappointments.
After the onstage segment, Lee will help introduce the night’s screening: Bryan Singer’s “X-Men,” a pivot-point in Hollywood’s approach to comic-book adaptations and the beginning of the superhero cinema as we know it now a dozen years later. The film made a star of newcomer Hugh Jackman (he’s now appeared as Wolverine in five films, counting last year’s cameo in “X-Men: First Class”) and the strong ensemble is led by Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Bruce Davison and Ray Park.
The first issue of “The X-Men” by Lee and Kirby arrived in September 1963 and presented an “outsider” saga with a school for gifted youngsters — more specifically, mutant beings who possess wondrous powers but also face fear, conspiracy and prejudice.
“The Evening with Stan Lee” will have several tributes to Lee during course of the program and of course that should include fan voices prominently. In the comments section below, post some of your thoughts about Lee, his career or his legacy and I might pick yours to read at the event (which, by the way, we will film and post here on Hero Complex).
– Geoff Boucher
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