If I had kept it and kept in good condition. That would be the closest I ever had to a retirement plan.
In February 1973, as a 10-year old, I bought the first edition of the new UK edition of Spider-Man Comics Weekly for 5 points from my local store – and addiction has continued for a couple of years.
Previously, my comic selection was something called Whizzer and Chips. Now Spider-Man introduced me to the dark and alarming world of adult superheroism that is associated with depression, frustration and failure for the girl. The terrible life of Peter Parker convincingly and temptingly imitated her banal humiliation; Therefore, her alter ego was a compelling challenge for fantasy.
His inventor, Stan Lee (until 1973 he was the publisher and chief commander, did not actually write any more), created the fun "editorial letters" for his fans, and soon we were dedicated to Hulk, Fantastic Four X-Men, Iron Man and others. – and is aware of Lee as an avuncular figure.
Marvel Comics is sometimes described as the "French New Wave" outfit for DC Comics for the environmentally friendly Hollywood studio world, whose work was more humble: Lee introduced real superheroes with real problems and real vulnerabilities.
So to some extent it's strange that Marvel really used his huge myths of films for the very end of the 90's. There were men in black; The first Blade was terrific, and the first X-Men was challenging, exciting and strange. Then Spider-Man started in 2002, reminding me of my long lost luck, and now this character seems to be getting more often than Doctor Who. And almost every time Lee gave herself a hamster cat.
For less than 20 years, Lee had become a commanding officer, the film's superhero god Odin. That was if he had always been there. To a large extent thanks to Lee and what he created, now superhero films dominate the landscape for good or bad.
These are modern Hollywood tentpoints: they are not New Wave, but also the theory that actors can not really make it big until they are ready to drag on a superhero costume with a strong lycra. A democratic business that talks fans through social media and honestly attends fan clubs: this is the concept that Lee and Marvel have set up very much. And the whole idea of a franchise – where else did it happen, but in a comic book – a continual repetition of one set of characters?
On a very late day, Lee became Hollywood's last great maker of mole: Walt Disney from masquerade fighters. He seems to have existed before and after someone like Pixar John Lassiter – he started a comic book at the end of the 1930s, but his work, however, was very recent.
In some ways, after retirement, he became a serious Hollywood figure and was definitely one of the few active players who had seen an active US military service during the Second World War. When he appeared as a veteran veteran Avenger of Age of Ultron or a Captain America movie, it would have been very personal.
Lee and Marvel always had a touch of Midas: when they abandoned their rights to Hulku at the beginning of the last decade, Ang Lee's director released a version of the movie I really liked, but elsewhere I got very cool. When Marvel re-acquired the rights to the Hulk, the result was first surprisingly terrible film with Edward Norton – and Hulk only really came in as part of the Avengers.
Now that in commercial Hollywood dominated by leaders and focus groups, the real individual who visually brings a shot is a real rarity. Probably Stan Lee is the latest of this kind: the American pop culture legend.