You read that right. We’ve seen Stan “The Man” Lee in cameo after cameo of comic book film, and now it’s transpired into an period-piece action-adventure film with himself as the protagonist. That might be an exaggeration, but The Hollywood Reporter indicates it is actually the plan by 20th Century Fox producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey. Just imagine… a 1970s Stan on a (debauchery-laden) jaunt to Hollywood to pitch film adaptations of his famous characters.
If you don’t know who he is, Stan Lee has been a legendary figure in the publishing for more than fifty years, spearheading Marvel Comics through the Silver Age and working alongside enough artists and editors to round out a veritable Bullpen of creative genius.
Lee’s own writing talents, natural hucksterism, and knack for promotion were integral in the creation and development of some of comics’ most recognizable characters; the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, Doctor Strange, and Daredevil. While generally considered the epitome of senior ambassadors to the comic book world, Lee also has a share of controversy when it comes to creator rights, character ownership, and a tumultuous relationship with artist Jack Kirby, “The King” of comics. Lee has never been secretive about his life like some of his contemporaries, such as the reclusive Steve Ditko, so there’s plenty of material that could be used, even exaggerated for entertaining effect.
My take? I’m genuinely interested to see a list of actors cast before anything else. We’ve actually seen Jack Kirby as portrayed by Michael Parks in a single scene in 2012’s Argo, but who to cast as Stan Lee himself? The internet rumor mill circulated a few years ago about Bryan Cranston, which would be an absolute delight. I’m also still holding out that this film could develop into the closest thing we see to Sean Howe’s MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY adapted onscreen. Such a large component of that book was the dynamic between Stan and Jack, and would make for some amazing historical context following the late 1960s.
Until we get S2: Stans United, make mine… Fox?