Superstar to Superhero?
In this week's edition of WWE.com's Superstar to Superstar, ECW's Balls Mahoney took a few moments to talk to comic book icon, Stan Lee. In addition to creating legendary characters such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and the Hulk and being founder of Pow! [Purveyors of Wonder]Entertainment, Lee is also busy hosting Who Wants To Be a Superhero?, the hit reality show that returns for its second season July 26 on Sci Fi.
Find out what Lee has to say about Superhero's new season, what he looks for in a superhero and what he may have in store for Balls, who makes a guest appearance on an upcoming show:
Balls Mahoney: Stan Lee, it's such an honor to meet you.
Stan Lee: Son of a gun, it's great to meet you too, Balls. It's an honor. How are you doing?
Mahoney: I'm doing great. You're a legend in the comic book industry …
Lee: And don't you forget it.
Mahoney: Oh, I won't ever forget it. How can I ever forget it? I grew up on your creations.
Lee: Hey, I did a pretty good job on them, didn't I?
Mahoney: Yes, you did. Spider-Man, the Hulk, Fantastic Four … and the list goes on.
Lee: Damn impressive, isn't it?
Mahoney: And now, I'm appearing on the second season of your hit reality show Who Wants To Be a Superhero?. What can we expect this season?
Lee: We can expect just what we saw from the first season, except it's going to be better, with more exciting stunts and competition. It'll be different because it'll be better. We learned a lot [in the first season]. The first season was great, but when we'd watch the scenes over again, we said to ourselves, "Geez …what if we would have done this [or that] instead?" So, this time around, we did some extra things, and we also have some GREAT contestants this season. I can't wait till you see it!
Mahoney: I can't wait to see it, either! Like I said, so many of us have grown up enjoying your superheroes. ECW's very own Rob Van Dam, he's such a huge comic book fan that he has his own comic store. What do you look for in a superhero, and what kind of superhero contestant impresses you the most?
Lee: First of all, the superhero must have a unique quality, and can't be like any other superhero you read about or see. He (or she) has to have something different and a have a great personality that really gets ya. You have to want to see more of him or her, and want to be just like that person. An interesting superpower is a must. They [the contestants] make up their own superpowers, and they also have to stick with it during the show, and that's what makes the show so much fun.
Mahoney: That does sound like a lot of fun! Who Wants To Be a Superhero? also traveled with the WWE Fan Axxess Tour, looking for a few good heroes. What was that like? Did any of our fans seem to have good superhero potential?
Lee: As a matter of fact, so many stood out as potential superheroes. For instance, guys like you… You know, I could turn you from an ordinary, everyday-looking, average-looking guy that you are into a superhero.
Mahoney: Out of the contestants or potential contestants you've had, who has been the most memorable? Have you [or your staff] outright turned down a potential superhero because you knew that they clearly weren't superhero material? Or do you have a fairly open-minded approach?
Lee: You can tell from just looking at me [that] I am Mr. Open-Minded. I am the fairest, most decent, most honorable human being that I've ever known. [laughs] But, honestly, you can tell right away if that particular contestant is or isn't the right person you'd want for your show. Someone who really wants to be on the show and has the right spirit is what I look for. I don't want somebody who just wants to get their face on TV; they have to really have their heart in it. But there are so many contestants that have read comic books for years who enjoy reading about these superheroes, and feel, "Man, I'd love to be one of them!" Like you, Balls. You, of course, are half-way there.
Lee: So, it isn't hard to know which ones to pick and which ones not to take.
Mahoney: Okay, well, since you've brought me up, some folks in ECW have called me "Captain Caveman" simply because of my appearance. I have long hair, some missing teeth, tattoos, body piercings and let's be honest, my body's not made out of granite, you know? But I'm tough, and I fight for what's right in the ring. What do you think, Stan, am I superhero material? What name would you think about giving me?
Lee: I don't know why they would call you Captain Neanderthal.
Lee: You know, when you walked in, I said to myself, "My God, it's James Bond!"
Mahoney: Oh-my-God. [Laughs]
Lee: Let's see…if you were to be a superhero in our show, I think that maybe we'd use a historical name for you. How would you like to be Attila the Hunn?
Mahoney: Oh yeah. I'd like that.
Lee: That's a name to reckon with, right? We could start with that and work our way to another name.
Mahoney: Attila the Hunn!
Lee: Attila the Hunn!
Mahoney: When the ECW guys hear this, especially Tommy Dreamer, they're never gonna let me live it down.
Mahoney: Now, many of your creations make it onto the big screen …
Lee: Or we could make it [Balls' superhero name] Genghis Khan! I'll work on that. We'll decide later. I didn't mean to interrupt. I apologize. …
Mahoney: No, no it's okay.
Lee: You're one guy that I don't want to get mad.
Mahoney: I don't want to see you get mad and bulk up like you did on The Simpsons!
Lee: You saw that? Wasn't I great?
Mahoney: You were fabulous in that!
Lee: Son of a gun, you're terrific.
Mahoney: I laughed my butt off. Now, so many of your creations have been hits on the big screen. Ghost Rider was a box office success.
Lee: Of course.
Mahoney: And I saw Spider-Man 3 and the [first] Fantastic Four movie. In my opinion, you found a great "bad-guy" in Fantastic Four. I was wondering, could you see Who Wants To Be a Superhero? on the big screen? And could you see any of your contestants [from the show] make it to the big screen?
Lee: Any one of them.
Lee: We could make any one of them a hero on the big screen and sooner or later we'll find a way to have this show go on the big screen. I know that's the only reason you're here, Balls, is because you want to make sure that you'll be in that big, $100 million movie that we will eventually be making. [laughs]
Mahoney: Well, that one's up to Mr. Stan Lee.
Lee: I think we're off to a good start right now.
Mahoney: Thank you so much.
Lee: Attila the Hunn! Oh man, I can see it now! Maybe you'll also be in the creative part of this. We may have to have you help us with the story and with the angles.
Mahoney: I can help with the story, but you're the story master, not me. Once the story is given to me, I could help tell it.
Lee: And I have to make a confession…
Lee: This is just because we want historical accuracy all the time. I'm sorry to say that I did not create the [superhero] Ghost Rider.
Mahoney: You didn't?
Lee: As George Bush would say, "It was done while on my watch." I was the editor, but the Ghost Rider was one of the characters that I didn't create. And I'm sorry I didn't because he's such a great character.
Mahoney: Yeah, he is. I enjoyed the movie. Now what's next for you besides Who Wants To Be a Superhero?
Lee: Well, I got this little company called Pow! Entertainment. And we do movies, TV, DVDs and whatever the hell anybody will pay us a buck to do. So, I'm having more fun than ever. And of course, there's this particular show which threatens to become the most popular thing on TV [Who Wants to be a Superhero?], and from what I understand, Donald Trump is just shaking in his boots, and he's worried about the competition. But, look Don, that's the way it goes. [Laughs]
Mahoney: He almost got his head shaved at WrestleMania.
Lee: [Laughs] Yeah, that's right. And there are always us newcomers coming along, barking at your heels.
Mahoney: I'll put Stan Lee against Donald Trump any day. I'll stand in your corner.
Lee: And I'll put you against any of the villains we have on our show. Remember, I wasn't kidding -- we have to get a place for you on our show.
Lee: If all the heroes are taken, you wouldn't make a bad villain, except you have a nice nature. You have to get a little rougher and tougher.
Mahoney: Well, I can be a little rougher and tougher.
Lee: I had a feeling you could be.
Mahoney: Right now, it's just been an honor to meet you. Thank you so much for your time.
Lee: I've never had a better time. It was great talking to you, Balls. We gotta do this again.