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09/13/2013 08:42 am ET

Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee Talks Favorite Superheroes, Andrew Garfield vs. Tobey Maguire As 'Spider-Man'

Doritos

Stan Lee, the comic-book legend behind Iron Man, Spider-Man and other beloved characters from Marvel's stable of superheroes, has inspired more wannabes than many of his fantastical creations. And now, as part of this year's edition of Doritos' Crash the Super Bowl, two lucky fans will be able to work with Marvel Studios on the set of "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron," the sequel to 2012's "The Avengers." To be considered, contestants from anywhere in the world (where Doritos are sold) must submit a 30-second homemade commercial for the tortilla chips. The two finalists, chosen by a panel of judges that includes Lee, will also see their spot air during Super Bowl XLVIII, and one will even win $1 million.

"They will be right there as part of the production team," Lee told The Huffington Post of the winners' involvement with the forthcoming "Avengers" flick. "They'll be able to view what's going on. They'll be able to learn. They'll be part of the biggest movie of the year, and what a prize that is."

Lee, 90, also spoke with us about his memorable movie cameos, the merits of each "Spider-Man" and the current controversy over Ben Affleck as Batman.

Who's your favorite actor to play Spider-Man?
The two who played it were both my favorite, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. I thought they were both superb. They were both different, and yet each one portrayed Peter Parker and Spider-Man perfectly.

What do you think each brought to the role?
Well, Tobey Maguire was a little unexpected. When he was cast, most of the fans said, "I can't see him being a hero in a superhero movie." But his sincerity came across so beautifully. Andrew Garfield is a little bit taller and he looks a little bit more like a hero might look, and again, has great sincerity. He portrays the character beautifully. We were very lucky that both of those men were available to play Peter Parker.

What kind of fan feedback have you been getting about Andrew versus Tobey?
Well, the fans were unhappy with Tobey until they saw him, and then they loved him. They were equally unhappy with Andrew until they saw him, and then they loved him.

What's your all-time favorite movie superhero performance?
That's so difficult. I think the performance of Tobey Maguire as "Spider-Man," because he was such an unexpected big success. And I think Robert Downey Jr. as "Iron Man," because he just portrayed that character as if he was born to be Iron Man.

What's your take on Ben Affleck playing Batman in the sequel to "Man of Steel"?
I think Ben Affleck is a good actor, and I really don't see any reason why he couldn't do a good job as Batman.

What's the most important quality for a superhero to have?
Courage, and then something interesting about the superhero to make people want to read about him and care about him.

What superhero has the most intense fans?
When we published the "Iron Man" comic book years ago, we got more mail from female readers for Iron Man than for any other character. And I figured it out. It was because he was handsome, he was incredibly wealthy and glamorous and he had a bad heart. And I could picture romantic women all over figuring, "He's so beautiful and rich and nice, and I could take care of him, and I could nurse him and tend to him. Even with his bad heart, I could be so good to him." I just think there was something that appealed to women, because we never got as much fan mail from women for any of our other characters.

Of the cameos you've made, what's been your favorite?
I like the one where I was a librarian and I was humming some music to myself with earphones on while I was stamping books, and I didn't notice that Spider-Man and the Lizard were having a life-and-death battle right behind me. I like the one where I wasn't allowed into the wedding of Reed and Sue in the "Fantastic Four" because they didn't believe I was Stan Lee. I like the one in "Thor" where I drove the truck and thought I would be moving the hammer that was embedded in the ground but wasn't able to.

You get mistaken for Hugh Hefner in "Iron Man." Have you ever been confused for him in real life?
No, I really never have. I like to think he's been mistaken for me.

Can you tell us anything about your cameo in the upcoming "Avengers" movie?
I have no idea what it is. When I do a cameo, they ask me to be wherever they're shooting at a certain time. I go there, and at that time, the director tells me what to do. I do it, and then he gets rid of me as soon as possble so I won't interfere with the shooting of the movie.

What celebrity is most likely to have a superhero alter ego?
I would hope me. But I hate to give an obvious answer.

What celebrity would you like to create one for?
Howard Hughes isn't around anymore. Right now, nothing comes to mind. I don't think Donald Trump would make a good superhero.

You were developing an animated series with Paris Hilton a few years back. Would you ever do one with the Kardashians?
If somebody came up with a good enough idea and someone else wanted to finance it, then sure, why not?

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
Luck. Because if you're lucky, then everything falls into place. Whatever you want to do, you accomplish. I don't know why nobody has made a superhero who's just lucky. Well, I do know why -- because it isn't visually interesting. But luck would be the greatest power in the world.

What superhero would you call if you were in a fight?
I don't think it would do me any harm to have the Hulk on my side.

Why do you think these characters resonate with multiple generations of people?
I hate to sound immodest, but probably because we concentrated just as much on the characters' private lives as we did on them fighting the bad guys. And I think it's important, whether it's a superhero story or any story, you have to feel that the characters themselves are interesting and you want to know more about them. And you care about what they do and how they feel and what their personal problems are, and how they're going to solve them. And we always tried to give our heroes and our villains a lot of personal problems so that they seemed like real people.

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