(CNN) — Stan Lee knows exactly which superhero he'd be if given the opportunity: Iron Man.
(And we don't blame him - have you seen how much money that guy brings in these days?)
"I think I'd want to be Tony Stark because he's the best-looking and the richest!" Lee told CNN Thursday at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, which was hosting a Marvel movie marathon that included "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2" and "The Avengers" before viewers got a look at today's release, "Iron Man 3."
Lee, who started writing Marvel comics just over 70 years ago, never imagined that his characters would be as globally popular as they are now.
"When I was writing these stories, the one thought in my mind was I hoped the books would sell so that I could keep my job and be able to pay the rent," he said. "I never thought there'd be a day when I'd be interviewed by the press and there would be exhibits of the characters. It never entered my mind."
Their longevity has been helped by the movies, for sure, which have been able to give life to the stories in visually arresting ways.
"The movies have these great special effects; there's nothing they can't do. You couldn't have done 'Spider-Man' 20 years ago - there's no way you could have had him swinging on his webs that way," Lee said. "You couldn't have done 'Iron Man' this way 20 years ago. But now anything you can imagine, no matter how wild it is, you can put on the screen."