Monday, September 24, 2012

Crusader Fanzine Interview 1964: Stan Lee

A long time ago, in a city far, far away, it was rare to find a comic fan magazine or an interview with a comic book person!!!! These publications were often done on forgotten rexograph or ditto machines in someone’s basement and sent out to very few people.

Here is the first of many interviews and articles which may have been lost or forgotten.

This is one of Stan Lee’s first interviews. In fact, the questioner asks Stan if he minded being interviewed!!!!  We know the answer to that now!

If you like this sort of thing, please check out Nick Caputo's blog, a good friend, he has been essential in collecting material such as this. 

And thanks to Patrick Lemaire for helping out! 

Ed: Before we start, is there anything you’d like to say to fandom?
Ed: Which MARVEL super hero to do you consider to be your favorite?
Stan: Well, really, I like all of them. It’s like your own children- you like all of them.
Ed: Where do you get your ideas for story plots?
Stan: I just sit down - and think!
Ed: Have you ever worked for any other company in the past besides MARVEL-ATLAS-TIMELY
Stan: No.
Ed: How did you get started in Comics?
Stan: They needed a writer. I started writing captions for a mag.
Ed:      Where did  MARVEL COMICS GROUP get its name, ?
Stan:  Well, there was a book long ago called MARVEL.    We liked the name so we called it MARVEL.’
Ed: Do you study any background information for writing stories for your super heroes?
Stan:No,  unfortunately, I haven’t got the time.’
Ed:Are you planning to bring back CAPTAIN MARVEL, as you did CAPTAIN AMERICA, or don’t you have the rights to revise him?
Stan: Actually, it’s up for grabs. However, we don’t like copying, and we like to stick to our own work, so probably not.
Ed: Is there any reason behind the fact that you are always changing the WASP’S costume?’
Stan: ‘We really aren’t satisfied yet!
Ed: Do you consider any one of your heroes to be the worst of the group?
Stan: No, not really.
Ed: Do you mind being interviewed?
Stan: No, not if it is by mail, I don’t like to give in-person interviews too much, because it isn’t really fair to other zine editors, who could not come to NY or an in-person interview.
(EDITORS NOTE: The above shows one more reason why we are greatly in debt to STAN LEE for letting us interview him. Also, we are very grateful to VINCE COLLETTA for making the interviews possible.)
Ed: Do you mind it when a satirical strip is done on one of your super heroes?
Stan: No - because it means that they read the comic.
Ed: Are you planning to start any new super heroes in the near future?
Stan: Of course - One of them will be (CENSORED at MR. Lee’s Request)
Ed: Do you keep your own personal collection of comic books?
Stan: I sure do: I keep a file cabinet of them at home.  I don’t have all of the issues but I do have everything I’ve done in the past three years.
Ed: Did you do most of the CAPTAIN AMERICA stories of yesteryear?
Stan: Yes.
Ed:      Do you plan to have the revised CAPTAIN AMERICA fighting the Russian communists or the Red Chinese?
Stan: No.
Ed: Do you particularly favor any of your villains?
Stan: LOVE OUR VILLAINS: All of them. I like the villains as much as the heroes.
Ed: Why did you kill off  WONDER MAN(who appeared in the AVENGERS)?’
Stan: Well, that is a very interesting story. We intended to bring him back, but, we found out that DC had a story about a year ago, concerning a robot named WONDER MAN. I myself never saw him or heard him. The head of NATIONAL comics wrote to us and informed us of the fact that he had already used the name WONDER MAN. We do not want to use anyone else’s name, so only for that reason, we are not bringing WONDER MAN back. And, besides, we can’t, because don’t copy anyone!
Ed: Are you planning to give CAPTAIN AMERICA his own magazine?
Stan: There is only one thing stopping us, Jack (Kirby) doesn’t have the time to draw it, and I don’t have the time to write it. But, sooner or later, whether it be a year from now, or ten years from now, we will find the time to do it!
Ed: Are you planning to have any of your heroes be killed off?
Stan: Not in the immediate future
(EDITORS NOTE: -not again?- -yes:- HERE, Stan Lee told us a little bit about JACK KIRBY, AND HIS ART STYLE.)
Stan: It’s a funny thing with Jack’s artwork. You never know just how good Jack really is. - If he gets a good inker, he looks good. If he gets a bad inker, he looks bad. But Jack Kirby’s penciling is so magnificent no inker can really do it justice
Ed: Do you save any of your original manuscripts?
Stan: As a matter of fact, there really are no manuscripts to save! The way I do it now, I write the story in synopsis form, and then give it to the artist. He pencils the drawings, and I get it back again. Then, I write the words above the panels, and these are eventually lettered in. So, we work so fast, that there almost aren’t any real manuscripts
Ed: Is the original HUMAN TORCH artist ever going to draw the modern version of the HUMAN TORCH?
Stan: That was CARL BURGOS, and he isn’t going to be drawing the new MODERN version of the HUMAN TORCH. As a matter of fact he stopped drawing for comics. Actually, I wanted to use him just out of sentiment. He may came back later, but at the moment, he is not doing any work for us.

Ed: Would you name a few of the other heroes you did back in the forties and fifties?     
Stan: Other than Captain America I did Father Time, The Destroyer, Hurricane and some others.
Ed:      Did you do all of the Human Torch stories?
Stan: Yes, I did quite a number of HUMAN TORCH stories.
Ed: :Would you give us same ideas about the MMMS.
Stan: Well , let me ask you, .Do you think it is a good idea?
Ed: It sounds really great; It  is sure to be a hit
Stan: I tell you, we have already received dollars from fans who don’t want to wait, and who want to be sure to get it fast. We are sending the dollars back. We want all fans to use the coupon which will appear in November. There will be a full page ad in all of our superhero books. The ad tells you what to get a big button that says I belong to the MMMS and there will be 10 stickers that you can paste on things. The stickers have a picture of the Thing. Later on we are going to have some printed up for those who don’t like the MMMS and I think they say something like: Help get rid of the MMMS. Then we are going to have a membership card which on the back has the Pledge of Allegiance to the MMMS.
Ed: What inspired you to write Spider-Man?
Stan: Well I wanted to do something different I figured let’s get a superhero who is different than any other hero and that’s what we tried to do.
Ed: When did you start writing?
Stan: I started writing in 1940 when I was 17.
Ed: What happens to original artwork after a comic is finished?
Stan: We send it to a warehouse and it just sits there. If you want to know why we don’t just give the original art is just a case where we don’t believe in giving our readers  things...We will give our readers our time and our best effort. But we don’t believe in bribing our readers. with this kind of deal where “if you send us letters will send you artwork.” I believe if you do this the stories are not good enough to hold the reader’s attention and if this is true you might as well give up. Actually there is no way of be fair. If you sent something to somebody and somebody else who deserves it doesn’t get anything it’s just not fair. That is the reason we have a no prize contests. I hate it when a kid takes all the time to send in a letter to enter a contest and he doesn’t get a thing for it. It’s not that we don’t want to give anything away it’s just that I hate to see losers.
Ed: Why is there no mentions of Monsters To Laugh With and any of your mags?
Stan: We would like more readers to find out about Monsters to Laugh With but the Comics Code won’t let us advertise it in our mags because they did not approve any of it.
Ed: Do you get any of your ideas from books or movies?
Stan: I think that people get ideas from everything that they see and hear.
Ed: What else have you done besides from the comics you were doing?
Stan: Well of course years ago I did Secrets Behind the Comics but I understand there aren’t many copies around.
Ed: Do you read the fanzines that are sent to you?
Stan: Yes,I read every one of them and I’m going blind.  I like looking for my name.
Ed: What other awards have you won besides Alleys?
Stan: I won awards for all types of organizations for books I did included being the State Department.
Ed: Did you choose the name Daredevil for your hero because of the former Lev Gleason publication?
Stan: Actually we had thought of the name and then realized that there had been another Daredevil. We liked the name and we figured what harm would it do because they were out of business.
Ed: Which comics are your biggest sellers?
Stan: Well of course Fantastic Four but Spider-Man, Sgt. Fury, and the Avengers are all big hits and all of a sudden Thor is becoming a big hit. But it’s a funny thing, because all of a sudden Suspense and Astonish are becoming vogue because we have added the Hulk and Capt. America. And the X-Men are really selling so we really don’t have a bad seller. This is just great
Ed: What do you think will happen to comics in10 years?
Stan: Your guess is as good as mine but I do think they will  improve a lot. I know our books are better than what started with  Fantastic Four.
Ed: What about your competitors?
Stan: I think they’re improving too and that all comics are improving. If we get fans interested they will buy our comics and others too so everyone is off better. I think you should level with your readers and do the best job you can. You shouldn’t just bat out any old thing for the comics but you should give the readers good stories.
Ed: Just what gives you ideas for story?
Stan: Actually there is very little inspiration involved. You just sit down and figure it out. Do I need a new villain? What have and I usefor? And what do the readers like?

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