Stan Lee’s “A Trick of Light” and Harry Potter’s Alter Ego
With the news of Stan Lee’s passing in November 2018, many Marvel fans wondered what the next chapter in the Marvel world that he created would be. On Friday, October 4, on the NYCC Live Stage, coauthor Kat Rosenfield, as well as writer Luke Lieberman and filmmaker Ryan Silbert, who wrote the afterword, talked about A Trick of Light and building this new universe. It was really interesting listening to them talk about their first experiences with Stan Lee and hearing him pitch this new idea for a new section of the Marvel Universe.
Luke Lieberman began by speaking about the first time he met Stan Lee. At the time, Lieberman was a film student at New York University and conducted a 45-minute interview with Lee for a student documentary; Stan Lee was so excited that the interview was going to connect with people through the Internet. Lieberman then fast-forwarded 15 years later to when Lee created A Trick of Light. Lee recognized that the Internet began to be a source of misconception and division for people unlike the mood of optimism shared during the dawn of the Internet. The promise of the Internet, to transform lives, connect people, and encourage people to be more understanding of each other, seemed to be unfulfilled. It was this concept that inspired the title of Lee’s new project, which explores the idea of people being consumed by virtual reality. Lieberman then spoke in more detail about the plot of this new series, and what caught my attention was the idea that everyone has an alter ego.
Lieberman discussed the idea of the Hulk and Spider-Man having uncontrollable alter egos that are a source of confusion and anguish at the beginning of their stories. A significant portion of their character arcs is focused on how they overcome these challenges before finally accepting their alter egos as parts of themselves. Relatedly, Lieberman spoke about the person we are and the avatar that we choose to portray, either online or in the real world, which reminded me of Harry Potter and being the “Chosen One.”
When you think of Harry as being the “Chosen One,” it’s unlikely that you would compare him to Peter Parker and his alter ego of Spider-Man; the two stories are very different. When Harry Potter is referred to as the “Chosen One,” you can see his confusion and concern in finding himself with this new title. The difference between Spider-Man and Harry Potter, though, is that Peter Parker tries his hardest to keep his alter ego a secret, while Harry can’t help but be obvious in the public eye. Some people talk badly about Harry even though he can’t help that forced alter ego, and we as the audience can see his frustration.
It was a delight hearing the three panelists talk about their new series, where characters navigate their place in the real and virtual worlds. If you are a Marvel fan as well as a Harry Potter fan, this technology-based series is something you should be sure to check out because there are a lot of similarities between the two series. Alter egos and finding yourself are just two concepts that are similar between the series, and it makes both series so special to have colliding fandoms.