Remembering when T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan interviewed Stan Lee, 1975
We dive straight back into the Far Out Magazine Vault to find Marc Bolan, the musician, guitarist and poet who is arguably best known for being the lead singer of the glam rock band T. Rex, who was seemingly obsessed with comic books.
Now this tale seemingly twists and turns into areas that even we weren’t sure where it would take us next. This story is going to depict how three extremely popular figures of popular culture all interviewed each other, at different times and in different circumstances but all with aiming for the same end result.
However, we begin our story in 1976 when Neil Tennant, latterly of Pet Shop Boys, interviewed Bolan about his specific love of Marvel Comics: “I’ve been into Marvel since 1967,” Bolan said at the time. “The Silver Surfer, in particular, was one I liked. Dr. Strange was another. At that time they were very weird compared to the other comics on the market, though they got more commercial since then and Stan Lee was a great writer,” he added.
Avid fans of Bolan will know all too well his penchant for comics, none less for having noticed his reference to Marvel Comics superhero Doctor Strange who made an appearance in his song ‘Mambo Sun’ where Bolan sang the words:
“On a mountain range, “I’m Doctor Strange for you…”
The interview with Tennant came five years before he would go on to form Pet Shop Boys. At this moment in time, Tennant was actually working as London editor for Marvel UK, the UK branch of Marvel Comics, it was a position he held for two years.
Going back to his interview with Bolan, Tennant delved deeper into the T. Rex man’s love for comics, to which Bolan answered: “I’d like to write some comics for Marvel. I’ve actually got a book of Science Fiction stories coming out soon, there’s a couple of superheroes in it,” he added. “One’s a God from another planet. These super-heroes aren’t really like your’s, but they could be. Stan was very into the idea of my doing this.”
Bolan then revealed how Marvel Comics had directly impacted his music, explaining how featured characters had taken a place in specific songs: “Yes,” he answered when Tennant asked the question.
“There was the Silver Surfer in ‘Teenage Dream’, and Doctor Strange has been in one. My new album, Futuristic Dragon has a spoken introduction which sounds very much like the intro to a Doctor Strange story—lyrically it’s very much like that. Have you seen the cover of Futuristic Dragon? It’s rather like one of your comic covers.”
Bolan’s interview with Tennant came at a time when Bolan himself worked for the BBC on his own separate interview series, a time when the T. Rex singer would host a BBC radio show and interviewed his heroes. One of those heroes, it would seem, was the former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee.
“It was nice meeting Stan last year, he was lovely to interview,” Bolan told Tennant. “Really he’s a hustler, a solid gold easy hustler! That’s just the way Comic guys should be, he’s got such a lot of energy.
“We talked about the possibility of me creating a superhero for him. Something along the lines of Electric Warrior, a twenty-first century Conan.”
“In fact, I don’t like Conan as a character—I think he should be something less of a barbarian, more like one of Michael Moorcock’s characters,” Bolan added. “You could make a much better composite character using Moorcock’s Elric, with a bit of the Silver Surfer, a bit of Thor, and create a far more involved character, a character more in touch with now.”
It just so happens that the audio clip of Bolan talking to Lee appeared online to the delight of Marvel fans everywhere. The interview, which is dated October 20th, 1975, meanders through their love for Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange.
At one point, the details of a new Titans comic is mentioned. Incredibly, that discussion included the plans for casting David Bowie’s wife Angie Bowie as Black Widow for a new TV series entitled Daredevil. An image of that Angie Bowie discussion can be found below.
For now though, here’s the audio of Bolan and Lee in conversation: