At age 89, you're writing a new series, Stan Lee's Mighty 7, in which you're a character training aliens to be superheroes. There haven't been any iconic new superheroes in decades. Is it that hard to think them up?
Very hard. But that's what I and the other writers have to do. This is probably the world's first reality comic book, because I'm a real person in the book and there will be other real people and places and incidents. Reality TV is doing so well, I figured, why not model this book after that?
Do you have a favorite villain?
No, I love them all. A superhero without a great villain is like a day without sunshine. I must say with a touch of embarrassment I'm my own biggest fan. My favorite is usually the one I'm writing at the moment.
Which are you personally more afraid of: mutants, zombies or space aliens?
I don't understand zombies, because it seems to me that somebody who is dead and comes back to life should be so grateful that he's here living again why would he want to eat up other people? I think the first thing he'd do is get a nice apartment and figure how he can make a living and get a girlfriend. I'm personally more afraid of what's really going on with nuclear weapons and things like that.
It's primary season. Which superhero would make the best President?
Maybe Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four, because he's the smartest of them and the most ethical. And he's a little bit boring. He talks too much, uses big words. Another one except I don't think he'd be eligible to run, because he's from another planet is the Silver Surfer.
Why are there so few women among comic-book illustrators and authors?
Mainly because most comic books are written to appeal to males.
Isn't that a vicious cycle? If women created the books, isn't it likely more women would buy them?
Well, you're right. But since it is a business, most publishers feeling that the market is mostly male, they have no desire to be revolutionary. But I do recall that we received more female fan mail than male fan mail for Iron Man. I've always given that a lot of thought. He was handsome. He was wealthy. But he also had a bad heart and was afraid that he might die at a moment's notice. I think there was just something about it that awoke a female's maternal instinct.
The Hulk has been difficult to turn into a successful movie character. Why?
In all honesty, I would not have made him so big. I would have made him 7, 7 ft. tall. Then there are a lot of ways you can use him, storywise. But once he becomes that big, there's really nothing you can do with him except have him smashing things.
Who's the next great comic-book hero turned movie hero going to be?
Believe it or not, Ant-Man is being considered. He's a man who can turn into the size of an ant.
Is it true that you've been married for 64 years to your wife Joanie?
Oh yeah. I wouldn't lie about it.
Does that require a superpower?
You just marry the right girl.