Radioactive spiders. Gamma rays. Spinning hammers that propel heroes into flight.
It’s safe to say that the iconic characters created by Stan Lee aren’t exactly always carefully crafted to accurately reflect the facts of biology, physics or chemistry. These characters are simply inspired by science, not defined by it.
And we’re totally fine with it. Hell, Lee’s creations are the stuff of entertainment legend precisely because they’re filled with feats of strength that constantly defy scientific laws.
But science does have a role in Lee’s comics, however small or distorted it may be.
In this clip from PBS’ upcoming special, SUPERHEROES: A Never-Ending Battle, Lee describes how many of his characters were developed using scientific concepts simply because they just “sounded logical and believable” regardless of whether or not they were actually plausible.
It’s worth noting however, that Lee alternates between saying very little research was done before creating his characters and lauding his and Marvel’s efforts to be “very accurate scientifically in everything we did” and saying that Marvel’s use of “incontrovertible scientific fact” is what separates his comic book brand from the competition.
You can view the clip from PBS’ SUPERHEROES: A Never-Ending Battle in the video below.
SUPERHEROES: A Never-Ending Battle is slated to air next Tuesday, Oct. 15th on PBS at 8:00 pm.