Lucca, comics salon. With the help of Max Bunker and comic book artist Sergio Trinchero, we have finally tracked down the famous Stan Lee, besieged by a crowd of admirers. Tall, smiling, American from head to toe. The author of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and many other superheroes. Go ahead, Stan, say something super awesome. Come on now it’s your turn!
Me? I am Stan Lee, and I came here from America to tell you about our comics and tell you all about my superheroes. It is impossible, believe me. There are ten million people here waiting for the greatest comic book author.
It is impossible, believe me. There are ten million people here waiting for the greatest comic book author. Of the characters. You can’t.
Yes. As you know, our heroes almost always have two identities, one is the shy, awkward guy like I was just now. The other is the one I take on now, by becoming another Stan Lee, a superhero who has come here to introduce you to my amazing characters. So, I’ll tell you that I’m very happy to be among you and that all our superheroes love you madly.
In short, so a little more…
I really hope you like our comics. If so, my collaborators and I will write and draw a ton of new adventures for you. You will surely like them, and then we will print lots and lots of magazines. You will love them and we will print more. You will read them, you will like them, and then we will print more and more, and you will all be happy. I, too, will be very happy because you will buy my comics and I will be able to make more. Thank you.
Stan, everyone knows that in the fifties, superheroes went into hibernation. What prompted you to take them out of the fridge?
I think I understand, and I’ll answer you like this. For a couple of decades, comics were pretty much all the same. The hero almost always won and the villain lost. The hero was good, blameless, flawless, he knew no fear and nothing in the world could worry him. Then I thought the situation could be reversed, and I made our superheroes more human individuals with the concerns and problems of ordinary people. I thought they might feel sick or flee in the middle of a fight with a criminal. Besides, even if superheroes are smarter than other men, why shouldn’t they work for a living or get sick? They should also take care not to become disliked by people overnight. Readers immediately noticed the difference and loved this new genre of stories.
Yes, Stan, you are a writer of superhero stories. Now we’d like to know about the artists who draw them.
For example, there are pencilers, those who draw a stripe with a pencil. Others are inkers, who paint over the strip with ink. There are also colorists, proofreaders who check texts and drawings, and so on. In total, we have about fifty people, and I would say that they are all excellent and talented. Some of them are young, and although they are new to the profession, they are very capable. Others, however, are veterans with more than twenty years of experience. They come from all over the world. In fact, some of them are of Italian descent. Like John Romita, the two Buscema brothers, Frank Giacoia, Dick Giordano, and many others. My secretary is also Italian, her name is Fran Palozzi. I have a hard time remembering surnames, so I just call her Fran.
Stan, almost every Superman has a dual personality. Your Fantastic Four, for example, doesn’t.
It may sound strange, but we don’t care about the dual identity of our superheroes. Some have it, and some don’t. Take The Fantastic Four, for example, their identity is public. They don’t need a phone booth to change clothes. For other superheroes, however, it is absolutely necessary.
Yes, but what happens if the booth is occupied?
If the booth is occupied, the superhero cannot change in time and the world cannot be saved.
Now we will ask you a trick question. How would you have handled the story of your heroes finding themselves in an ancient medieval city like this?
Let me think about it a bit. Here, we can start like this. One day, Dr. Doom, the most fearsome and dangerous criminal on the planet, plans the most colossal heist in the history of mankind. This time, there were no robberies of banks and jewelry stores, or even a diabolical plan to kidnap an entire nation. And Dr. Doom has decided to take over none other than Italy. Luckily for you, Spider-Man knows about Doom’s plan, but he realizes that he can’t handle it alone, so he turns to The Fantastic Four for help. Who happened to be on vacation in Lucca.
So, while Stan Lee, also known as the smiling, fantastic genius, continued to invent stories of stolen and reclaimed Italy through his superheroes. We walked away a little confused, leaving him gesticulating and pawing at the Lucca city square, looking for a likely ending to his highly improbable Italian story.
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