The 95-year-old creator of popular super hero franchises such as Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Avengers has filed a billion dollar lawsuit against a Chinese company. Stan Lee, the former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, is claiming that Pow Entertainment duped him into signing over his likeness, naming rights, and creative properties. The lawsuit was filed in a California court and named his former business partners, Gill Champion and Shane Duffy, as those responsible. When reached for comment, the defendant’s responded saying that the accusations were “preposterous”. Pow Entertainment was sold to a Hong Kong-based firm in 2017. This is the latest in a series of unfortunate events for Lee, who had his identity stolen late last year when a condo in Los Angeles was sold for almost $900k, with Lee claiming that almost $5m has gone missing from his bank account over the years.
Lee claims that he has been taken advantage of and exploited, and had no knowledge of what he may or may not have signed. He made the accusation that anything he signed had been altered, or that his signature on any document was doctored. He has also claimed recently that his Facebook and Instagram pages have been hijacked, and that he is unable to regain access. Champion and Duffy are willing to meet the famous comic legend in the court room, mentioning that Lee himself is a shareholder in the company. Stan Lee, who is legally blind, received a $10m payout when Marvel was sold to Disney in 2010 for $4 billion.
Perhaps Lee would not be seeking monetary damages had he held on to some of his stake in his created characters. Since then, Disney has continued to rake in cash via the Avengers franchise, continually setting and breaking their own records for film releases. Popular characters in Marvel’s arsenal include Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and Spider-Man. To date, 4 of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time are in the top 10 (all 3 Avengers movies + Black Panther), with the latest Avengers film closing in on $2 billion worldwide. Either way, hopefully things work out well for Stan Lee; you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.