WASHINGTON — Endowed with superhuman strength, yet looking different as day and night, the Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk will stand shoulder-to-shoulder as the Postal Service launches its latest set of super hero stamps.

WASHINGTON — Endowed with superhuman strength, yet looking different as day and night, the Amazing Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk will stand shoulder-to-shoulder as the Postal Service launches its latest set of super hero stamps.

The 20-stamp set premieres Thursday at Comic-Con, the comic book and pop culture show in San Diego.

The 41-cent stamps honor the creations of Marvel Comics, and also include Sub-Mariner, The Thing, Captain America, the Silver Surfer, Spider-Woman, the Invincible Iron Man, Elektra and Wolverine.

In addition, 10 of the stamps highlight covers of comic books featuring the characters.

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Hulk and others said he is "thrilled" to have his characters on postage stamps.

"The only problem is this won't get me a discount at the post office," he joked.

So, how does one create a super hero?

"It's not a case of inspiration suddenly striking," Lee said in a telephone interview. "I set out to create them."

Usually it was a case of his publisher saying he needed a new hero, or suggesting a crime-fighting team might sell well, and Lee would sit at his desk and start working on new ideas.

Lee refuses to name a favorite character: "That's like asking a parent who is his favorite kid."

Dan Buckley, president for publishing at Marvel Entertainment says the stamps are a "great honor."

"It just proves we're a part of American history, part of the fabric of society," he said of the widely read comics.

Buckley does have favorites — Spider-Man and Wolverine now — but he says they've all had their runs. Right now the Avengers are top sellers. Over the past 20-30 years, the most popular have been the X-Men and Spider-Man.

This is the second set of super hero stamps, following last year's set featuring the creations of DC Comics.

On the Net: U.S. Postal Service: http:www.usps.com