They team up with ''Spider-Man'''s creator to make a superhero comic even guys can love

By Liane Bonin
Updated February 29, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST
Stan Lee

For all the fans who think the Backstreet Boys are, well, super, here comes some comic book confirmation. The band recently teamed with ”Spider-Man” creator Stan Lee to create their very own superhero franchise. Those eager to see Nick and the boys strut their stuff in tights can log on to the Backstreet project and see a preview of the bimonthly webisodes, which are set to debut in June; a limited edition (100,000 copies) of the accompanying graphic novel (an elaborate comic book) is also available online and at concerts. ”When you look at the book, you’re going to say, ‘How on earth were they able to do this for a measly 10 bucks?”’ Lee tells EW Online. ”But we’re rather philanthropic that way.”

In the comic, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, and Howie Dorough are given enchanted amulets by a beautiful alien creature who literally crashes one of their concerts. The amulets enhance each band member’s DNA, giving Nick super Ninja powers, Kevin super strength, AJ perfect marksmanship, and so on. Of course, the Boys retain their ability to break into song faster than you can say the word kryptonite.

Lee, who’s also the mastermind behind ”X-Men,” ”The Incredible Hulk,” and ”The Fantastic Four,” says the boys deserve most of the credit for dreaming up the comic book concept. ”Nick Carter especially had this idea to do a superhero tale, and he sent me this story,” says Lee. ”I kinda liked it, and it needed a little polishing, which I did. But it was a collaboration. We’re in constant touch, and when the [prototype] came out, the boys went over it again and made little changes here and there so the dialogue would sound exactly the way they speak.”

Lee admits he was a BSB fan before he began working with the band — but he hopes the comic will do what no video or album has been able to do before: make it downright cool for guys to like the Boys. ”I think the girls are going to go absolutely wild for it,” Lee says. ”But I think it will help introduce the group to an entirely new masculine audience, because the story is really exciting.” But don’t look for the gore and evil most people associate with graphic novels in the post-”Sandman” era. ”Personally, I’ve never done stories that were very dark,” says Lee. ”I try to get in a lot of action and excitement, but I don’t ever want to do the kind of story where you cringe when you see a few panels.” Well, not unless the rest of the guys give Nick’s tights a wedgie or something.