Marvel and comic book legend Stan Lee arrives in Australia for Supanova Pop Culture Expo

Marvel and comic book legend Stan Lee arrives in Australia for Supanova Pop Culture Expo, By Chris Hook - 13 June 2014
(The Daily Telegraph)


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Stan Lee fan Allan (left) presents the man himself with a green and gold shield similar to that of Captain America. Picture: John Grainger Source: News Corp Australia

WHILE a Captain Australia franchise probably isn’t on the cards, that didn’t stop some Aussie fans presenting comic book legend Stan Lee with a green and gold shield in Sydney today.

Lee arrived at Sydney Airport to be greeted by diehard fans who presented the former Marvel Comics president with a Captain America shield replica styled in Aussie green and gold as opposed to the traditional US red and blue.

Lee is in town to speak of his numerous comic book creations at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo.

Stan Lee leaves Sydeny Airport this morning. Picture: John Grainger Source: News Corp Australia

The talented creator was once classified as a playwright by the United States army during World War II.

That status put Lee in some pretty fine company along side the likes of Dr Seuss (Theodore Geisel) and Frank Capra.

“I was the token nobody and I did most of the work because the others were resting on their laurels,” the 91-year-old Stan Lee recalls with a chuckle. “I had to find a way to rewrite (training manuals) so it was all simple and they could be understood quickly, so it wouldn’t take too long to train the troops.”

Captain America fronts The Avengers in a Marvel creation that brought many of it superheroes together under one title. Source: Supplied

By the time he joined the army, Lee — born Stanley Martin Lieber — had already made his comic debut, writing some text for an early Captain America adventure.

He had soon proved precocious enough to be made the editor of the comic book company that would, in the early 1960s, become Marvel Comics. But it wasn’t for his editorial administration that Lee became a pop culture giant. It was for his creative enterprises.

The public adored the heroes of rival company DC Comics’ characters such as Superman, Batman and The Flash (and many others) but Lee had a brilliant idea.

Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man, one of Stan Lee’s most popular creations. Source: Supplied

The DC superheros were flawless alpha males, so he made his characters into fragile humans lugging a heap of emotional baggage. Which made the likes of Lee’s 1961 creation Spider-Man very relatable to a male teenage fanbase.

“I thought I would make him a teenager too, because up until then teenagers had only been sidekicks, and I thought, ‘for fun let’s make him the real hero, instead of just being the sidekick’ and then I thought I’d give him some personal problems because superheros didn’t have personal problems in those days.

Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, another co-creation of Stan Lee. Picture: AP Source: AP

“I figured all that would make him very different, so he’ll either be a bomb or a big hit. I took a gamble and luckily enough, he did well.”

Marvel’s suite of superheroes such as Thor, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Hulk and others saw the company take off under Lee’s creative stewardship and these days it’s a multi-billion-dollar behemoth owned by Walt Disney and spawning movies and TV shows.

The past six months have seen Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor and X-Men movies, while the TV drama Marvel: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. rates well.

Marvel's Agents of S.H. I. E. L. D is just the latest franchise to spring from the Marvel universe. Source: Supplied

And Lee is in town this week to talk about all of this for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo, which begins today.

It’s a full card, with other pop culture luminaries including Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Ming Na-Wen, Torchwood and Arrow star John Barrowman with fellow Arrow performers Manu Bennett and Katie Cassidy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jaime Lannister in Game Of Thrones) and many more pop-culture performers and creators of all kinds including writers, artists and filmmakers.

Hugh Jackman’s character Wolverine was co-created by Stan Lee during his time at Marvel. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

And while Lee might have met his fans by the thousands over the years, he never gets sick of it.

“So many grown-up people have said to me they felt very much like Peter Parker (Spider-Man) when they were young and they read the stories and it made them feel better that despite all his problems he still managed to win in the end and they felt that maybe they could too,” Lee says.

“It always touches me when somebody says something like that to me.”

Supanova Pop Culture Expo, Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park; Friday June 13-Sunday June 15, weekend pass $62.50, day pass $27.50, various other passes available,,

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