Stan Lee opens up about the creation of his new illustrated novel The Zodiac Legacy

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Jan 24, 2015, 10:51 PM EST (Updated)

He might best be known as the man who helped create most of Marvel’s biggest heroes, but Stan Lee is still cranking out new characters all these decades later — and here’s his latest creation. 

Lee’s new illustrated novel, The Zodiac Legacy, is aimed at younger readers and tells the story of an eighth grader who travels to Hong Kong and “stumbles upon ancient secret” that gives him super powers. The series is described as a “mythological, engaging ride” and finds the young man grappling with what it means to be a superhero. Think Spider-Man, kind of, but more fantastical.

The book hits shelves next week on Jan. 27, and Lee chatted with Entertainment Weekly about what readers can expect from his latest project. He’s hoping the comic will be family-friendly and appeal across generations while also tackling the tropes and stories that make for a vintage Stan Lee yarn. Check out an excerpt below:

“We really wanted to tell a modern, super-powered, action-adventure story, a story with a lot of classic themes—themes that have run through not only superhero stories, but in plays and fables and fairy tales for hundreds of years. So I wanted to be able to do that, while still bringing a new tone and a wider cast of characters than we often get to see…

The character design process was a fun one—we went back and forth with Andie to really make sure all of the characters looked distinctively different and were interesting on their own. I wanted to make sure that even in a group scene with lots of fighting and action, even if they’re just seeing silhouettes, that the reader would be able to tell who’s who…

You probably know how I feel about great responsibility—but I think that it’s a lot of fun to be bringing a new world of characters and super powers to readers everywhere… [F]rankly, I don’t think that any really good story is ever just for kids 8 to 12, or just for adults 24 or 38, or any particular age group. I’m hoping we’ve made a story that anyone who loves an exciting, fantastic tale will love.”

Along with Lee, The Zodiac Legacy is co-written by Stuart Moore (Web of Spider-Man, Namor: The First Mutant), with artwork by Andie Tong (Tron: Betrayal, Starship Troopers). 

(Via Entertainment Weekly)