The Washington Post

THE “THOR’ STORY: Stan Lee talks Norse gods as film debuts

Writer and executive producer Stan Lee poses at the premiere of "Thor" at the El Capitan theatre this week in Hollywood. (MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS)

Not star Anthony Hopkins, but — by the beard of Odin — we mean Stan Lee.

“I’m very happy with both Thor and X-Men and thrilled that they’ve both spawned such terrific movies,” Lee told us.

“I dreamed up Thor years ago because I wanted to create the biggest, most powerful superhero of all and I figured who can be bigger than a god?” says Lee, who co-created Thor with Jack Kirby, who had drawn his version of a Norse superhero for Sandman in the ‘50s before the two teamed up for Marvel’s Thor. (The Norseman’s debut was scripted by Stan’s brother, Larry Lieber.)

“I chose the Norse gods because I felt people were less familiar with them than with the Greek and Roman gods,” Lee says.

As for another big Marvel title this summer, Lee discusses the origins of X-Men, too:

“In the case of the X-Men—whom I incorrectly named because one was a female—I wanted to do a strip that would point out the injustice and wrongheadedness of bigotry,” Lee tells ‘Riffs. “As for their powers, I took the easy way out; instead of dreaming up some complicated explanation for each, I simply wrote, ‘They were born that way. They were mutants,’ and that was that.”

Check this space next week for our full story on Stan Lee, on the heels of Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor” hoping to dominate the box office.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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