It's no secret that many creators in and around the comics scene have embraced Twitter these days—and many of them make regular appearances in our daily Twitter Report. Perhaps one of the most surprising creators with a regular presence in the Twitterverse, however, is one of the industry's most beloved icons: Stan Lee.
The co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, the X-Men and countless other popular characters, the 86-year-old Lee has taken to Twitter with surprising ease. A typical 24 hours with @SmilinStanLee offers readers a host of witty observations, tongue-in-cheek commentary and self-deprecating humor that reveals why Stan "The Man" Lee is one of comics' living legends.
I spoke with Lee about his arrival on the Twitter scene, why he's taken to the microblogging tool so easily, and why communicating with fans on Twitter actually has him feeling like he's gone back in time.
"I heard that some of the people I like are Twittering—like Kevin Smith—and I figured there must be something to it," said Lee when asked how he was first introduced to Twitter's 140-character world.
"Somehow Twittering is like writing my ['Stan's Soapbox' column]," he explained. "[I'm] able to write any thoughts that I had and put them down and maybe somebody is actually reading them! The only frustrating thing about it is keeping it to 140 letters, because I'm a very long-winded guy."
Lee joked that he's no longer able to end every message with "Excelsior!" in the Twitter-verse, and the same goes for many of the other catch phrases he made popular during his days writing, editing and generally overseeing much of Marvel Comics in the 1960s.
"[Writing 'Excelsior!'] takes up half of the damn thing!" he laughed.
"The funny thing is, during the day I'm not even thinking about Twitter, but at night after I have dinner and before I start doing some writing, I take 15 minutes to try and think of something to tweet.. or to twit... or whatever the hell the verb is," he said. "I try to think what happened during the day, and if nothing interesting happened during the day, I try to make something up. It doesn't matter as long as it's something hopefully amusing."
And even though Lee doesn't make much use of his "Reply" button on Twitter, that doesn't mean he isn't paying attention to fans' response.
"I read the responses. The only thing that breaks my heart is that I can't respond to all of the respondents—there are too many of them," he said. "It isn't fair to pick one and not respond to the others. I don't answer any of them, but I read as many of the responses as I have time to read—and I just love 'em."
Still, I had to ask Lee if he actually authored all of the posts with his name on 'em—after all, he wouldn't be the first celebrity to bring in a substitute Twitterer.
"Are you kidding?" he exclaimed when asked if he employed a a ghost writer. "No! I love doing this. I just wish I had more time. I could spend all day doing this."
"I feel like I'm back, decades ago, writing my Soapbox," laughed Lee.