Stan Lee headlines Spider-Man 2 voice talent

Stan Lee will reprise his role as the narrator for the upcoming Spider-Man sequel. GameSpot speaks with the legendary comic book creator to discuss video games and the comics industry in general.

Activision will announce on Monday that Legendary comic book creator Stan Lee will reprise his role as the narrator in the upcoming PlayStation sequel, Spider-Man 2 Enter: Electro. Lee will be joined in the voice-over cast by Rino Romano, who was the voice of Spider-Man in the first game and is the voice behind the Spider-Man character in the animated television series Spider-Man Unlimited; Dee Bradley Baker, who will provide the voice of archvillians, Electro, Hammerhead, and Lizard; Darran Norris, who will be the voice of Shocker and Sandman; and Katherine Fiore, who will voice Dr. Watts.

GameSpot recently had the opportunity to sit in on a studio session with Stan Lee, as he recorded his segments of narration for the upcoming Spider-Man game. Lee recorded the introduction to several of the game's cut-scenes and levels, and provided the voice behind the character introductions. Following the voiceover session, GameSpot had the opportunity to sit down with Lee to discuss his impressions of Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, games based on comic books, and the industry in general.

GameSpot: So, what did you think of the script in Spider-Man 2? You seemed to enjoy the voiceover work.

Stan Lee: It was very good. I enjoyed reading it.

GS: As you were doing the voicework, you could also see the game running. What did you think of the graphics?

SL: The little bit that I saw, I think it was wonderful. The animation was excellent and the characters looked great, it was fascinating. I wish I could find time to play it, but I've been so busy.

GS: Do you get to play games at all, in general?

SL: I'm afraid if I ever got hooked on playing these games I would never get any work done. They're amazing. I used to have spare time when I first moved out here [to Los Angeles]. For example, I used to read the trade magazines. I read the Hollywood Reported, I read the Variety. I had to stop doing that, because now that saves me an hour a day. I used to see every movie that came out, but I stopped doing that. I don't go to the theaters any more, because I just watch it on videotape--cuts down on the traveling time. In fact, I don't even watch that many videos. I just keep very busy.

But, the problem is that I would get an inferiority complex. Anybody can beat me at [video games]. The times I've seen them being played, they seem so hard--the hand coordination, the eye coordination, they're very demanding.

GS: Well, you're involved with them in some form. Do you enjoy doing the voicework?

SL: Oh yeah, I very much like doing the voice work. See, when I was young I wanted to be an actor, so I love anything that has to do with acting in it. I used to lecture in colleges and so forth, and the reason I liked doing that is you could come as close to being an actor as possible without actually being one. You have a whole captive audience. So, this is great, doing the narration. And as I said, I doubly love it, because I was watching the game on the screen. So, everything I was talking about in the script was shown in pictures. I can't get over how beautiful that artwork is in the game and the animation is excellent. Obviously, they never had anything remotely like this when I was a kid. I probably would not have gone to school, because I'd be playing these games all day.

GS: Do you think licensed games can help introduce new fans to the comic industry?

SL: I think it would have to have some impact, sure. I mean, if somebody were playing the games then they would develop a feeling for the character, and would want to read the stories as well.

GS: Would you like to create a new character or write a storyline specifically for a video game?

SL: Absolutely, knowing how big video games are today I intend to do something along those lines. I enjoy doing television shows and working with the producers, but everything I do for television could just as easily be done for a video game. To do something specifically for a video game would be fun and it is something I would love to do in the future. However, I can't just sit home and do it. I would have to have somebody ask me to do it.

GS: We're sure they're lining up.

SL: Tell them to call me. (*laughs*)

GS: Switching gears a bit, what do you think of the state of the comic book industry in general?

SL: The worst thing about it is that there are so few places to buy comics these days. Some of the comics are terrific, but some I don't like. But that was always the case, some I like, some I didn't. However, year's ago, there were over 10,000 comic book stores, today there are maybe 2,500. You used to be able to find them in neighborhood store that sold magazines, but today you really have to search out a comic book store. So, people who want to buy it really can't, unless they go out of their way.

GS: Do you think online comics are the solution?

SL: Not really, I had my own Web site. I found out that even the people who logged on to it may have liked the online comics at first, but it didn't mean anything, because nobody wants to read stories on the Internet. They want to see a story acted out on television or they want to read about it in magazines, books, and comics. Also, you couldn't really spend as much time and money to do an online comic creatively and beautifully--you just can't make enough money on it. You're better off doing it as a regular magazine.

GS: Many of your characters, such as the Hulk and Spider-Man, got their powers through some catastrophic accident, except for the X-Men, who are of course mutants. Why did you go away from that formula with the X-Men and where did the idea to create those characters originate?

SL: I had already done the Hulk, who got his powers through gamma rays; Spider-Man, who got his powers through radiation; the Fantastic Four, who got their powers through cosmic rays, so I was running out of rays. I wanted to do another group and I figured that the easiest thing, the cowardly way out, would be mutation. I figured, everybody knows that mutation occurs in nature, so I said why not just say that these people mutated. In that way, I didn't have to give any explanation and I didn't have to come up with radioactive spiders, or whatever. So, that was it, they're mutants, now go fight and save the world. (*laughs*)

GS: Well, we had to ask. Thank you very much for your time.

SL: My pleasure.

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