Stan Lee's getting old, and while that hasn't kept the co-creator of just about all of the world's most popular superheroes from popping up at comic conventions and in Marvel movies, he's also starting to show a reflective side that, up until now, his boisterous public persona hasn't hinted at before. Case in point: Playboy's interview with the man, which covers everything from the erotic applications of Mr. Fantastic's stretching powers to whether or not Lee stole credit from the artists he worked with, like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. It's fascinating stuff for anybody who's read a superhero comic, read Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, or (more likely) just seen a Marvel movie sometime in the last few years.
PLAYBOY: You started your career writing obituaries. Have you ever thought about what you’d like yours to say?
LEE: I know mine is already written. It’s sitting there in the New York Times computers somewhere. It’s all ready to go. You can’t stop it. I’ve had a happy life. I don’t want anyone to think I treated Kirby or Ditko unfairly. I think we had a wonderful relationship. Their talent was incredible. But the things they wanted weren’t in my power to give them.
I’m always looking ahead, even at this age. You know, my motto is “Excelsior.” That’s an old word that means “upward and onward to greater glory.” It’s on the seal of the state of New York. Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever. Hell, I’m 91 years old. If I have to go while I’m talking to you, I’ve had a long enough life. I’d hate to leave my wife and my daughter, but heaven knows it’s beyond me. And I don’t even really believe in heaven.
PLAYBOY: In the 700th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker dies in a battle with Doctor Octopus.
LEE: Yeah, but he won’t die. They’ll bring him back, or it’ll turn out he didn’t really die. It’s like Sherlock Holmes. I loved Sherlock Holmes when I was younger, and there were so many versions. He always made it out of every situation. You never run out of ideas. (Via.)