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Comic Con: Stan Lee and Grant Morrison take the stage

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Stanlee_lThe “Reinventing the Page: Stan Lee and Grant Morrison Talk Virgin Comics” panel didn’t start out promising: the brief video detailing Grant Morrison’s new project from Virgin, a series of Hindu-mythology-inspired animated shorts called “MBX,” looked more like clips from a video game (lots of rampaging hordes, stick fighting, one magical bow-and-arrow thrown in for good measure).

The real fun began when Grant Morrison and Stan Lee (pictured) finally came to the stage. Ostensibly there to talk about their respective Virgin Comics projects — Stan Lee for an unnamed superhero universe project where he will serve as both a writer and an editor — the panel thankfully devolved into the Stan and Grant Show, with both writers playing wonderfully off each other. While the moderator posed one or two questions, the panelists themselves soon took matters into their own hands, with both writers interrogating each other about their writing processes and favorite stories.

On their writing styles: Lee, of course, still employs the MarvelMethod, something he only came up with when he was working on too manyprojects at once and had to keep the artists busy. He hasn’t gone backto a full script since. Morrison prefers a “bastard child” approach,turning in a script and rewriting the dialog to fit the art afterwards.

Morrison said he felt very honored to have worked on the characters Lee hadcreated, including the X-Men who, he felt, resonated so well with theyouth at the time because it was the classic story of adults vs.children, of the old guard being afraid of new ideas. Lee laughed atthat, saying he never thought of it that way (he always looked at theX-Men as a method of exploring prejudice). Lee said that he considered himself theluckiest guy in the world because he had writers like Morrison makinghim look good.

My favorite anecdote from the panel was the haphazard way Lee brought theidea of a shared universe (now so integral) to superhero comics. He hadjust asked Steve Ditko, in a Fantastic Four story, to draw Peter Parkerin the background of the press box at a baseball game, and the lettersthat followed from fans afterwards was enough to make him want to do itagain.

Perhaps the best question came from an audience member, who asked ifLee and Morrison could create a character together on the spot for theaudience. A bout of friendly bickering ensued, but Lee asked if Morrisonwouldn’t mind helping out on Lee’s as-yet untitled superhero project(with Lee quipping, “He’ll do most of the work, I’ll take thecredit”), so keep an eye out to see if anything will come out of that.A collaboration between the grandaddy of comics and the modern era’sgolden boy? It’ll at least be interesting.

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