Marvel superhero creator Stan Lee has admitted he used to be so embarrassed to be connected with comic books that he changed his name.
The 93-year-old, who went from Stanley Martin Lieber to his instantly-recognisable moniker, has no qualms about his connection to that world now, but revealed with regret that he can no longer read his creations.
He told Radio Times: “When I was young, I was embarrassed to tell people that I wrote comic books. I even changed my name because people hated them so much.”
Back then, parents objected to the graphic violence, but Lee said, with better writers and sharp dialogue, he’s “happy to say it’s a different story today”.
Lee is responsible for teenage favourites such as Iron Man, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and his favourite, Spider-Man, but he lamented that he now has to leave others to flesh out his ideas.
“I can’t read a comic book. The print is too small. Not only a comic book, but I can’t read the newspaper or a novel or anything. I miss reading 100 per cent. It’s my biggest miss in the world,” he said.
“I can’t even read a script. I come up with ideas for stories and somebody writes an outline for me - but I can’t read it. I have to hope it’s good.”
His next project is TV show Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, based on what he sees as the “greatest superpower”- luck.
James Nesbitt stars as Harry Clayton, a London cop given a bracelet that bestows on him no powers of invisibility or super-human strength, just plain good luck.
Lee admitted: “This show is very different to anything I’ve done before. Each episode looks beautiful and it’s a thrilling story with a surprise in almost every scene. I think it’s going to be a major hit.”
Although he nurtured company Marvel Comics before it was sold to Disney and founded his own company POW! Entertainment in 2001, Lee is modest about his influence on the planet.
“I never thought I had that much impact,” he said, humbly.
His only wish, he said, is that he could roll back the years so he could continue to provide entertainment to the world.