Watch CBS News

Stan Lee celebrates a life in comics

Stan Lee, the man known as the grandfather of modern comics, has given life to some of the world's most iconic superheroes
Stan Lee discusses the evolution of the comic book world 01:23

Before Peter Parker became Spider-Man, he was just a wild idea inside the head of an up-and-coming comic writer. Stan Lee has given life to some of the world's most iconic superheroes, and at 91 years old, he is still bringing new characters to life.

His best known creations like the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Hulk all made the leap to the big screen. Lee is now dreaming up new super-heroes. His "Chakra the Invincible" cartoon airs in India, and his comic about a Chinese-American 'super-soldier' is being made into a movie.

"I think there are more comic book readers today than ever before," Lee told us. "It's the comic books help the movies, and the movies certainly help the comic books."

Lee's career began when he took a job, at 16, as an assistant for a comic publisher. The company eventually became Marvel and Lee its president. But like many of his characters, he also felt the need to hide behind a mask. His name was Stanley Lieber, but he went by Stan Lee to protect his reputation as a more "serious writer."

"I didn't want to be known by my regular name as a comic book writer because it was embarrassing," Lee said.

But he eventually embraced his alter-ego. Now, Lee is even putting his face on his work. He has cameos in nearly all the movies based on his characters. He even stars as himself as the head of a new superhero team in the animated movie, "Stan Lee's Mighty 7."

"I think you never outgrow your love for things that are that colorful and things that are bigger than life," Lee said. "Along comes superhero comics. They are really, I think, fairytales for grown-ups."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.