Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fox Buys Rights to Stan Lee's Life for 1970s Action Movie

The big question, of course -- Will Stan Lee make a cameo in his own movie?

The Hollywood Reporter revealed today that Twentieth Century Fox has acquired the movie rights to the life of Stan Lee, co-creator of some of Marvel Comics' greatest superheroes. Oh, and it's not a standard biopic, as you might expect, but a period action adventure movie.

That's right, Stan "The Man" Lee as a '70s action hero.

According to the article, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, the producers for the movies Twilight, The Maze Runner and the upcoming Power Rangers, are attached to produce "what is being described as being in the tone of Kingsman: The Secret Service, or as one insider put it, 'Roger Moore’s 007,' with Lee as the hero with an alter ego."  No writer has been hired yet, but executive producer Matt Reilly will oversee the project for Fox.

Born on December 28, 1922 in New York City, Stanley Martin Lieber started his comics career in 1939 as an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic book publisher Martin Goodman's company.  Timely eventually evolved into Marvel Comics in the 1960s.

In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the concept of superheroes and achieved considerable success with an updated version of the The Flash, and later with the superhero team the Justice League of America.  In response, Goodman assigned Lee to create a new superhero team, which he did, giving his characters a flawed humanity not seen in DC's superheroes.  The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the Fantastic Four.  

The team's immediate popularity encouraged Lee and Marvel artists to create a series of new titles.  With Kirby primarily, Lee created the HulkThorIron Man, and the X-Men; with Bill Everett, Lee created Daredevil; and with Steve Ditko, Lee created Doctor Strange and Marvel's most successful character, Spider-Man, placing all of them in a shared universe. Lee and Kirby put several of their new characters together into the team title The Avengers and revived previous Timely superheroes from the 1940s, including the Sub-Mariner and Captain America.

Lee used comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with racism and bigotry.  His "Stan's Soapbox" column, in addition to promoting an upcoming comic book project, also addressed issues of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice.  In 1972, Lee stopped writing monthly comic books to assume the role of publisher. His final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) was #110 in and his last Fantastic Four (vol.1) was #125.  In later years, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics.

Currently, as Marvel broadens its scope into television and film adaptations, Lee has made a number of cameo appearances in the various projects.  A few of these appearances are self-aware and sometimes reference Lee's involvement in the creation of certain characters. His next cameo is set for this year's adaptation of Doctor Strange.

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