With the death of Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee on November 12 at the age of 95, fans remember the charismatic and legendary writer, editor, and publisher of Marvel, and have reminisced about the time that Marc Bolan of T-Rex once interviewed him back in 1975.
With Lee’s inspiring creations of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and so many others, Lee leaves his worlds of imagination still open for all today. And as Far Out Magazine report, having inspired so many people, it should come as no surprise that Stan Lee was also deeply revered by Marc Bolan himself.
The love that Marc Bolan felt for Stan Lee was discovered by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys back in 1976, when Tennant was performing a two-year stint as the London editor for Marvel UK. His role was to make the words of Marvel Comics suitably British so that it would appeal to UK audiences, while also suggesting whether bawdy illustrations of women in the comics needed to be redrawn for British fans.
When Neil Tennant sat down and interviewed Marc Bolan, the T-Rex singer jumped at the chance to discuss Stan Lee and spoke with rapturous praise about the man who invented the Silver Surfer.
“I’ve been into Marvel since 1967. The Silver Surfer, in particular, was one I liked. Dr. Strange was another. At that time they were very weird compared to the other comics on the market, though they got more commercial since then and Stan Lee was a great writer.”
Those who know Marc Bolan’s lyrics well should immediately catch the reference he once made to the Silver Surfer in his song “Mambo Sun,” off the album Electric Warrior when Bolan uttered:
“On a mountain range,
I’m Doctor Strange for you.”
Bolan also told Neil Tennant that it would be a marvelous adventure to be able to write for Marvel and that Stan Lee had been sincerely encouraging about his writing.
“I’d like to write some comics for Marvel. I’ve actually got a book of Science Fiction stories coming out soon, there’s a couple of superheroes in it. One’s a God from another planet. These super-heroes aren’t really like your’s, but they could be. Stan was very into the idea of my doing this. We talked about the possibility of me creating a superhero for him. Something along the lines of Electric Warrior, a twenty-first century Conan. In fact, I don’t like Conan as a character—I think he should be something less of a barbarian, more like one of Michael Moorcock’s characters. You could make a much better composite character using Moorcock’s Elric, with a bit of the Silver Surfer, a bit of Thor, and create a far more involved character, a character more in touch with now.”
Marc Bolan also stated that even the cover of Futuristic Dragon was, in his opinion, reminiscent of one of Lee’s Marvel Comics covers.
“There was the Silver Surfer in ‘Teenage Dream’, and Doctor Strange has been in one. My new album, Futuristic Dragon has a spoken introduction which sounds very much like the intro to a Doctor Strange story—lyrically it’s very much like that. Have you seen the cover of Futuristic Dragon? It’s rather like one of your comic covers.”
But what of Marc Bolan’s actual meeting and interview with Stan Lee, and how did the T-Rex singer feel about him personally? Apparently, he found him exactly what he had expected.
“It was nice meeting Stan last year, he was lovely to interview. Really he’s a hustler, a solid gold easy hustler! That’s just the way comic guys should be, he’s got such a lot of energy.”
With the world mourning the sad loss of Stan Lee today, it seems wildly appropriate to take a few minutes and listen to the witty interview of him that was conducted by Marc Bolan.