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NYCC: The Stan Lee Panel

The New York Comic Con reserved one of its warmest welcomes for one of the comics world’s elder statesmen: the legendary Stan Lee. One of the biggest rooms in the conference hall filled to capacity with fans wishing to see and hear the man whose name is virtually synonymous with comics. Lee held court with writer Scott Lobdell and voice actor Kirby Morrow to promote his new line of direct-to-video DVDs: Stan Lee Presents Mosaic and Stan Lee Presents the Condor.

The ever-genial Lee no doubt had his patience sorely tested by an errant support post for the giant screen behind him, tripping over it repeatedly until Morrow finally put a chair over it to avoid a further mishap. However, once settled in on stage, Lee was in his element, flashing his million-watt smile and perpetually joking with the audience and his fellow panel members.

Scott Lobdell and Stan LeeThe audience was treated to an extended, action-packed clip from Stan Lee Presents the Condor, starring Wilmer Valderrama in the title role. According to Lee, the new superhero is a young Hispanic boy who is somewhat ashamed of his parents, but obtains super powers through nanotechnology, becoming a skateboarding righter of wrongs. According to Lee, this was a decision that was made fairly early on.

The clip also featured a cameo from Lee that drew big laughs from the audience; Lee commented that he couldn’t wait for people to see the cameo bits he did for the new Fantastic Four and Spider-Man sequels coming this summer, joking that they really made the movies worth seeing.

Voice actor Kirby MorrowAfter the Condor clip, Lee asked Kirby Morrow to explain the other direct-to-video film, Mosaic. The film stars Anna Paquin as a young woman named Maggie who the gains powers of a human sub-race that possesses amazing abilities to adapt to their environment, ultimately becoming more adept at it than the “homo chameleo” race. Morrow plays the title character in the movie, and noted that he did the scratch track for the Condor character before being replaced by Valderrama. Unfortunately, a mix-up prevented the Mosaic clip from being screened, and a representative from Starz Home Media stated that the clip and more material is available at www.mosaicthemovie.com, the official web site of the movie.

Lee stated that he’d like to see both Mosaic and Condor turn into TV series and major motion picures. Mosaic has already premiered on Cartoon Network, and Condor is currently scheduled for a March 19th DVD release.

The Q&A session was rapidly reduced to a succession of fans expressing their love for Mr. Lee and requesting autographs. Lee graciously satisfied the requests and answered what questions he got with charm and humor. In response to a question about how involved he is in the creative process, Lee joked, “I come up with the idea, he does the heavy lifting, I take all the credit. It’s great!” before answering more thoroughly with Lobdell, detailing the path from story synopsis to treatment to full-fledged script, which is then animated.

Lee was also asked about the recent line of Stan Lee Meets… comics, commemorating his 65th anniversary at Marvel Comics (an anniversary only challenged by his 60 year marriage to his wife Joanie; Lee quipped, “We’re going to stick to it until we get it right”). Lee said he tried making them funny without resorting to slapstick or parody, as in the Not Brand Ecch! comics of the 1960’s, and said that his personal favorite title was probably Stan Lee Meets Dr. Strange. Never one to pass up a quip, Lee said he was worried that nobody bought the comics because nobody ever asked about them.

Lee briefly addressed the project he’s working on with ex-Beatle Ringo Starr. Lee joked that he told Ringo, “I want to do something to make you famous.” Ringo will voice himself and provide all the music, and the video probably won’t be out until the end of the year. He was not able to say anything more about the project at this time.

Look for Toon Zone News’ interview with Stan Lee coming soon as part of our New York Comic Con coverage.

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