Stan Lee Outlines New MTV Geek Comic Series 'The Seekers' (Exclusive Q&A)
The legendary comic book creator has collaborated with the pop culture website on a new science-fiction comic he hopes will expand to film and video games.
Stan Lee continues to introduce brand new comic book properties to the world. Lee has partnered with MTV Geek, the new pop culture website that has attracted over 1.2 million unique readers, to develop the science fiction adventure The Seekers. The comic will launch digitally in 2012 and eventually migrate to print.
Adding a unique twist to the development process, Lee utilized the Internet to offer aspiring comic book writers and artists a chance to work with him on the comic. Lee chose the winners, screenwriter Heather Kenealy (DevaShard) of Studio City, CA and illustrator Stephen Green of Savannah, GA, after MTV Geek fans had voted on the best entries. Lee talks about this new project and its potential to cross over to mainstream entertainment in this exclusive interview.
The Hollywood Reporter: Can you talk about your new collaboration with MTV Geek: The Seekers comic series?
Stan Lee: It actually is a spectacular adventure. It bridges time and space, and with the fate of mankind at stake, so you can see it’s a pretty big thing. It takes place in the present, but it also goes back to the past quite often, and it touches on the future. The fate of the whole world and the whole human race is at stake. It this thing doesn’t have a happy ending, than woe to mankind.
THR: Can you talk a little bit about The Seekers themselves, the alien presence that have been sent off to different planets to oversee a failsafe type device?
Lee: Yes, there is a device. I don’t want to give away the whole story, but there is a device that could destroy our planet. It’s up to the Seekers to … and here it gets ambivalent. Some of them want the device to destroy the planet. That was the purpose of it, originally, ages ago. And some of the Seekers want to find the device and destroy it before it can blow up our planet because they think that Earth and the human race are worth saving. We really have the good Seekers versus the bad Seekers with our human heroes and incidental characters caught in between.
THR: What are your thoughts on the talent that entered this MTV contest for The Seekers?
Lee: I want to tell you, the great entries that we received bore out my belief that there are countless talented people among our legion of fans. People who, if they just get the chance, they could show what they’re capable of. We had some really great entries.
THR: What’s it like to be able to give fans and aspiring writers and artists a chance to get into the comic book industry?
Lee: It’s a great feeling. I just wish that more people in entertainment found ways to give more opportunities to people who otherwise would never have a chance to show what they can do.
Can you talk about what you looked for in the winners?
Lee: Obviously, writing and artwork that was as close to professional writing and artwork as possible. From the writers, we looked for good dialog, good characterization, and a basic talent for telling an absorbing story; a good story sense. From the artists, we looked for illustrations that could be really favorably compared to the artwork in today’s great comic books.
THR: Now that you have the winners, can you explain how you will work with them in developing The Seekers comic moving forward?
Lee: I’m certainly going to do my best to make this one of the best comic books to be published in 2012 or any year. I’ll be meeting with them. I’ll be going over the story as it’s written. I’ll be looking and critiquing the artwork. We haven’t started yet, but I can’t wait until we do get started.
THR: Comic books are very popular today in Hollywood. What are your thoughts on the potential for evolving The Seekers beyond comics into traditional entertainment like film and television?
Lee: It’s like anything else; if the books turn out as great as I hope they will, then a filmed version would be a no-brainer. Movie producers are always looking for the next big thing, and they really very carefully scan graphic novels and comic books all the time hoping to find something that would make a good movie, and sometimes a good TV series. We will always have that in mind as we’re working on The Seekers.
THR: We’ve seen comics migrate to video games, as well. Why would The Seekers make a good video game down the line?
Lee: A good video game needs great characters that the player can relate to and great powers that the characters have, which are visually exciting and fun to use when you’re holding that controller, hitting those keys, and making the character do what he has to do. They also love great backgrounds. The players also love themes they haven’t played before. I think The Seekers qualify in all these areas.
THR: What are your thoughts on the opportunities that exist today for aspiring comic book creators versus what was around when you started in the industry?
Lee: Honestly, it’s much tougher today. There’s more competition, and there are better competitors. Comic books are now thought to be the source of great movies. Many people will want to become screenwriters, directors, producers, and whatever. They feel if they could become involved with or create a good comic book, that it will be noticed and turned into a movie.
THR: What are the ingredients to succeed as comic book writer?
Lee: To be a great comic book writer, within that comic book story, you’ve got to be able to make your characters come alive. They’ve got to be interesting. Your dialog has to be fun to read and believable. It’s like the rules in writing any good novel or anything.