SDCC 2009: Stan Lee Talks ‘Time Jumper'!


There's no bigger place to celebrate the superhero genre than Comic-Con. And there's no bigger living figure within that genre than Stan "The Man" Lee. We chatted with Lee this weekend in San Diego, and he told us all about his new "digital comic book" Time Jumper. Blending traditional comic-book storytelling with music and voices, Time Jumper – for which Lee voices one of the characters – follows the adventures of Terry Dixon, an agent of a secret government organization known as H.U.N.T. (Heroes United, Noble and True). Dixon's cellphone, the Articulus, also functions as a time machine. Hit the jump to learn what Lee had to say about his latest project with the Walt Disney Company.

On how Time Jumper began…

Time Jumper began as an idea that I had. I wanted to do a time-travel story, and my little company, Pow Entertainment, has a deal with the Walt Disney Company, it's called a first-look deal – everything that we do, that we want to do, we have to offer to Disney first and if they like it, they do it, and if they don't want to do it, we are free to take it elsewhere. So I got this idea for this time-travel story and I brought it to the Disney company and they loved it, but they then hired a writer to do it, and an artist, and they decided – and I love to take credit it for it, but it wasn't my idea – they decided to do it in a different way, the next step up from a comic book or a comic strip. Not quite animation, but its own type of storytelling, close to animation – where you have voiceovers, you hear the voices, you have music in the background. The pictures move, but they are not animated. They just move, and one picture will overlap another, and something will shove out of the way and there'll be explosions. It's sort of a feast for the eyes. It's a new style of storytelling, and it's all based on me saying, "Let's do this little time-travel story where this guy will do this and that," and out of that came this really terrific new method of telling a story which will be on mobile phones – it's all digital – it will be on the internet. We hope it will eventually lead to television, DVDs, movies, publishing… it can go anywhere if it's as successful, as we hope it will be and expect it will be. I think that was a very good summary. [Laughs.]

On whether he consumes any digital entertainment…

It's funny, because I have so little time, so everyday I just google the name "Stan Lee" and "P.O.W. Entertainment," which is our company, to see what people are writing about me and the company. So, I get a lot of things that way, but I don't have time to do any more. Otherwise I would be sitting at the computer all day, which is something I would love to do, but don't have the time.

On the challenges he faced doing a digital comic…

I didn't face any because it's being done at the Disney studios. I'm functioning as the executive producer, and after they do what they do, they send the drawings to me and the script to me and I just give them suggestions and notes. But they're really doing it, so it's a great deal. They're facing the challenges and I'm getting the credit for it.

On what appealed to him about time travel…

Well, I've always found it to be an interesting subject. I've written a lot of time travel stories and comics in the years gone by and I thought I had an unusual type of story here because, usually, [in] the average time-travel story someone gets trapped and there are dinosaurs and stuff like that. And it occurred to me that I would like to do a story where they travel in time and there is a villainess in our thing who really wants to change history. Now, I had never read anything like that before, but if she isn't caught, if she isn't stopped, we might not be here. Because if history has changed, who knows how the future will become. There's more to it than that, that's just a fast summary. I though that would make a good story. And like I said, the Disney people have embellished it, and built on it with their technique.

On whether or not this is the first time he's not playing himself in a production…

Larry Cohen, the director/writer, years ago did a movie called Ambulance… Oh no – I played myself in that too! I have a bad memory... I guess Time Jumper is the first time I'm playing a role. I'm not myself!