With a 2014 interview Rolling stoneComic book icon Stan Lee (who was 91 at the time!) Gave a long-range interview about the birth and evolution of Marvel Comics.
He explained the incredible explosion of his creativity with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the 1960s, which led to legendary characters such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Avengers and many more. You don’t have to be a comic book savvy to know that these characters have only grown in popularity (and profitability) since they started saving the world seven decades ago.
In an interview with author Brian Hayat, Lee shared the truth about how he came up with the genre-shuttering concept for X-Men. Instead of gaining their supremacy through radioactive spider bites or gamma bombings, Lee decided that they would be mutants who were just born that way. And like many real-life people who struggle because of their skin color or sexual preferences, they will face discrimination from the public and even from fellow superheroes.
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How did Lee come up with the idea of providing an entertaining book that simultaneously provides a powerful commentary on society? Well, for lack of a good word, laziness. Asked if he remembered what sparked his idea for the X-Men mutant concept, Lee explained:
Okay, I think the Fantastic Four sold out so well. And we thought, my publisher and I, why not another group? My problem was, what power would I give them? Because with Fantastic Four, we already had a guy who could fly, a flame that could burst, we had a woman who was invisible with a force field, we had a guy who could stretch and a strong guy among us. There was the world so it was not easy.
Then, once I understand what power they have, I have to understand, how did they get their power? And they were all different people who weren’t connected to each other, so I knew it would be a heluva job. And I took the cowardly path and I thought, hey, the simplest thing in the world: they were born that way. They were mutants. So I thought it would be a way to find new sources.
Lee’s “Easy Way” has become one of the most successful franchises in comic book and film history. To date, there have been 14 X human Movies that collectively grossed $ 6 billion.
We should try to be lazy more often. As Stan would say, Excelsior!