Q: Has your success made you popular with the ladies?
A: I never had much trouble when I was single. I got along pretty well with girls. I love females and get along beautifully with them. But at this age there's not much action there.

Q: What was it like getting your own action figure?
A: I was kind of embarrassed. I look kind of funny in the thing. I am wearing a regular jacket, and when you pull it off, I have a Spider-Man shirt underneath.

Q: How far is the reach of your creations?
A: In China, I'm hailed by the title "exalted creator." In Japan, they welcome me off the plane like I'm one of the Beatles or something. I've been invited to talk about X-Men in Poland and Fantastic Four in Italy. All over. All over. It's really a wonder. Everywhere I go, people know the comic books, they know the characters, and they seem to know me.

Q: Do you ever get tired of geeky fans' questions?
A: Sometimes it's hard. I have the world's worst memory, but I'm a good faker. Occasionally you meet your match, though. I once sat next to Gene Simmons on an airplane. Huge comic-book fan, apparently. He starts quizzing me. "You know, Stan, that Iron Man issue you wrote. No. 23. On page 10 in panel 3, where . . . " And I say, "Slow down, mister. I can't even remember where this plane is going."

Q: What are we really talking about when we talk about radioactive spiders?
A: Beats the hell out of me. I never knew half the stuff I was writing about. Gamma rays? What the hell's a gamma ray? Telepathic communication? Jesus! What's that? I don't know a goddamned thing about science. All I know is what sounds cool—there's a kid inside me that goes, "Wouldn't it be cool if I could lift this car and then destroy that brick wall?"

Q: Is thinking like a kid the secret to your success?
A: To tell you the truth, I never thought of myself as much of a success.

Q: Really? People have bought more than 2 billion of your comic books.
A: It's funny. When I was younger I used to be embarrassed. There were men building bridges, doing medical research—things that mattered—and here I was writing these ridiculous comic-book stories. People always tell me things like "When I was a child, my mother was gone, my father was drunk, but your books were there for me." Is that success? I don't know. Then again, I don't think anybody ever stops a bridge builder on the street and says, "Your bridges! They're thrilling!"