At 93, Stan Lee’s career is a map of American comic book history. As the creator of pop culture’s most enduring icons, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, ‘Hulk’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘X-Men’ and ‘The Avengers’, Lee revolutionized the world of superheroes, making them morally complex. He continues to be the face behind his Marvel creations, popping up in goofy guest appearances in movies.

But Lee also heads his own media production company, POW! Entertainment, which has collaborated with Graphic India, the Bengaluru-based firm, to create his first Indian superhero, Chakra: The Invincible. Launched as an animation TV movie series in 2013, it is being turned into a live-action feature film, to be directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. In an email interview, Lee talks about Chakra, currently in pre-production. Edited excerpts:

After all these years, the modern-day superhero has remained a very American thing. Do you think any superhero from another culture, no matter how unique or original, will always be a derivative of the American superhero movies?

Superheroes are meant to be relatable while bringing about a sense of hope, which is why people love them and look up to them globally. A superhero from another culture will still have the key elements that keep people from all over the world interested, while also bringing in different elements that make it not so standard. For ‘Chakra’, aspects that made American superhero movies so successful will definitely be incorporated.

However, every superhero is different. People have favourites for a reason, because certain characteristics and struggles stand out. Chakra’s specific background and the Mumbai setting are just two aspects that will distinguish this superhero from the others.

For many people here, Vikramaditya Motwane wouldn’t be the obvious choice to direct a film like this.

Vikram is a very talented film-maker and writer who has shown that he is not afraid to experiment with different styles. He is also a passionate superhero fan, who I am confident will bring a fresh perspective to creating something unique, but also (stay) authentic to my style of superhero storytelling. Some of the most iconic and successful superhero films in Hollywood have been made by film-makers who were largely known for their independent films first, but had a love of the genre and were able to bring something very unique to the screen. I have no doubt Vikram will do a great job. He also has a strong understanding of the Indian film market.

How involved are you going to be with the movie?

I am an executive producer on the film and will be giving a lot of my creative inputs early on at the script and character-development stage, as well as on the concept artwork and character designs.

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