Big News for Virgin Comics
The panel started out with a clip of Grant' Morrison's MBX. It will consist of 4 minute webisodes which Grant himself said "Looks bloody great." It's a big action computer animated story that deals with the way war affects the world and the generations after. Very intense, barbaric action.
Stan Lee was in high form, as usual. He is to be a writer/editor for upcoming comics in 2009 at Virgin. Stan says it felt like he never left working on superheroes. He also mentioned that he is reminded of the early days of Marvel. There's lots of excitement in creating new characters in a new universe.
Throughout the panel, Stan kept joking he needed a translator as he sat next to Grant Morrison and was trying to sort through his accent.
Stan also pointed out that there are so many superhero/comic movies hitting Hollywood. "Comics are the springboard to greatness." He believes it all started with the original Superman movie. In today's movies the special effects and quality of actors and writers continues to increase. He feels comic book movies will be with us "a long time."
The talk soon shifted to writing the "Marvel way." This deals with the artist being more of a collaborator in the story and the writer writes the dialogue after. Stan feels it should be called the "Stan Lee way" since he started it. The reason was back in the 60s, he was the main writer and the artists were all freelancers. They only got paid when they did work. While he was working with one writer, he would start off another artist on a different story so they would stay busy. Stan also feels that artists are storytellers in their own right. Often, they could draw a scene better than if they were given a specific direction. The fact that the artists' storytelling makes him look better is an added perk for Stan.
When talking about his characters versus DC's, Stan felt the DC characters were one-dimensional. He admires Superman as he was the hero that started it all. To him, his only problem was preventing Lois from finding out his identity. Stan wanted to give the characters more depth. He also loved the idea of a shared universe. In an early issue of Fantastic Four, Peter Parker is seen in the background with his camera. There was no mention of this. He loved it when the letters came pouring in from the readers that noticed this. Stan also wanted to preach to people even though they don't want to be preached to. He mentioned the Silver Surfer. He would comment how humans were "idiots" and wondered why they hated each other. Stan thinks that could be why the title didn't sell so well.
Grant was asked about his run on Stan Lee's X-Men. Grant says he saw the X-Men as a war between youth and adults. Stan thought this angle was brilliant. He always saw it as just about good versus evil and dealing with predjudice. Stan feels he now has to top anything Grant does.
In the Question and Answer portion, Grant was asked how a writer can get into the business. He replied to go "on welfare for nine years." He followed this with persistance and luck.
Which of Stan's characters would Grant like to write? Iron Man or the Hulk. He says Spider-Man is too specific. He'd feel limited with him.
How does Stan develop new characters? He would sometimes start off with a super power. There aren't too many original ones left. Sometimes he would think of a title or name, then write the story. This lead to Stan's biggest regret. He and Jack Kirby were under deadline to produce an issue. He had no idea. Stan thought the name "Diablo" sounded good. Even after Jack drew it, Stan felt he cheated since there wasn't much of a story. Stan's other regret is that he didn't create Wolverine.
Stan and Grant were asked to create a new character right there on the spot. This was obviously not a reasonable question. The two did agree that now they have to work together. Stan said, "You heard it here first." He also said that he'll let Grant do most of the work and he'll take most of the credit. He'll just need a translator.
The final question was when would Stan pass the torch on. Stan thought this was a nice way of asking when he'd quit writing. Stan said he didn't know. "I'm just having too much fun."
Expect some announcements in a few months over Stan's work with "new and different" ideas.