Comic books themselves are getting more literate. And there are people who are screenwriters and television writers and novelists who are writing for the comics, for some reason, they love doing it and some of the art work in the comics, I mean it rivals anything you'll see hanging on the walls of museums, they're illustrations more than drawings and all the people are discovering this and they're turning on to it.
The cliché I tried to avoid was I hated "teenage sidekicks." I always figured if I were a superhero, there's no way on God's earth that I'm gonna pal around with some teenager. So my publisher insisted I have a teenager in the series, because they always felt teenagers won't read the books unless there's a teenager in the story; which is nonsense.
I think there's the element of the excitement of what I'm going to see, and with the special effects where you see men flying and walking through walls and shooting flame or whatever they do, especially the younger audiences, which make up a bulk of the moviegoers, they love that sort of thing.
Once, I'd written a Western story, and one of the panels was just a hand holding a six-shooter, and there was a puff of smoke coming out of the barrel, and a straight horizontal line, indicating the trajectory of the bullet. So that page was sent back to me from the Code office, saying that the particular panel was too violent. I asked them what they meant, and they told me--I swear--"The puff of smoke is too big." Well, of course. So I had the artist make the smoke a little smaller, and the youth of America was saved.
The "problem" is that Comic-Con is so damned successful. People who are there seem to have a wonderful time. The very size of it makes it exciting. Wherever you look, there's something exciting. The attendees are always looking around for a familiar face. It's either 'There's a movie star!' Or, 'There's a TV star!' Or, 'There's the guy who drew the Green Lantern!' It means so much to the fans. It makes them feel like they're where it's happening. It's like Woodstock.
Some artists, such as Jack Kirby, need no plot at all. I mean I'll just say to Jack, "Let's let the next villain be Dr. Doom" ... or I may not even say that. He may tell me. And then he goes home and does it. He's so good at plots, I'm sure he's a thousand times better than I. He just makes up the plots for these stories. All I do is a little editing ... I may tell him that he's gone too far in one direction or another. Of course, occasionally I'll give him a plot, but... Read more »
I'm lucky. I don't have to produce the whole movie. What I've been doing is just coming up with ideas for movies. I write a concept, a treatment, an outline, and if I sell that to a studio, then someone else does the actual production and I go on to another project, although I keep the title executive producer.
I'm sort of a pressure writer. If somebody says, "Stan, write something," and I have to have it by tomorrow morning, I'll just sit down and I'll write it. It always seems to come to me. But I'm better doing a rushed job because if it isn't something that's due quickly, I won't work on it until it becomes almost an emergency and then I'll do it.
I'm no prophet, but I'm guessing that comic books will always be strong. I don't think anything can really beat the pure fun and pleasure of holding a magazine in your hand, reading the story on paper, being able to roll it up and put it in your pocket, reread again later, show it to a friend, carry it with you, toss it on a shelf, collect them, have a lot of magazines lined up and read them again as a series. I think young people have always loved that. I think they always will.
Jack [Kirby] and Joe [Simon] wrote and drew the stories themselves in the beginning and I was just, like, the office boy. But after a while they had more writing than they could handle and I was the only guy around, so they said, "Hey Stan, you think you can write this?" When you're seventeen years old, what do you know? I said, "Sure, I can do it!" And that was it.