Stan Lee disses DC: It's 'frustrating' to see Superman in flight

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Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

No one can dispute the awesome superhero-creating powers of Stan "The Man" Lee, but that doesn't stop him from questioning the super-creations of other pioneering comics writers. While he's quite proud of the "scientific" rationale behind his own heroes, he says he still finds the reasoning behind Superman's flight just plain "frustrating."

In an interview with TVKids, Lee talked, as he has many times before, about how he created iconic characters like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. He wanted to avoid the lack of an explanation for the powers of his heroes, so he got all methodical and came up with real reasons for things like climbing walls barehanded and literally turning green with rage.

"For example, I didn't just have Spider-Man gain a spider power miraculously, I did it as scientifically as possible—he was bitten by a radioactive spider," Lee said. "It could have happened to anybody. When the Hulk became the Hulk, it just didn't happen casually—there was a gamma-ray bomb that exploded. If you ask me what a gamma ray is, I would have no idea at all, but it sounds very scientific, I think."

Yeah, we know, radioactive spider bites aren't really the kind of thing that "could have happened to anybody," but he's talking about comic book reality here. And according to Lee, creating that sense of inciting events behind the powers of his heroes was a kind of response to the lack of such things across the street at DC.

"Here's the example: You've seen Superman flying on the screen, haven't you? What is his means of propulsion? What makes him fly? He doesn't have a jet engine, there's nothing pushing him, he just sort of assumes a horizontal position, lies on the air and off he goes," Lee said. "When I wanted a character to fly, such as the Silver Surfer, I gave him a flying surfboard—perfectly scientific, perfectly understandable, and not the least bit as frustrating as wondering how Superman does it. So as you can see, science is really something I'm very much into, and every factor of our stories is as scientifically accurate as I can make them."

OK, well, the Silver Surfer was an alien who got his flying surfboard from a gargantuan, planet-eating cosmic superbeing that wanted to destroy his world. But if The Man wants to call that "scientifically accurate," who are we to split hairs?

Seriously, though, Lee has prodded at the competition many times before, and it always seems to be in the spirit of good fun. Plus, he's obviously talking about storytelling rationale here, and not reality ... we think. At any rate, it does raise an interesting point about the differences between the flagship heroes of the Big Two comics publishers.

Does it make a hero better if he or she's got something like a radioactive spider backing things up, or is it more interesting to just go with the "he's an alien strengthened by the power of the sun" argument? The debate won't ever be settled, but we know Lee will always side with Spidey.

(via Comic Book Movies)