Talk about complex. Stan Lee Media, which the legendary Stan Lee no longer has any involvement with, is suing Marvel for a stonking $5 billion — claiming rights to titles including Spider-Man.
Stan Lee Media was orginally co-founded by Lee, who created Spider-Man, the Hulk and other characters back in the 1960s, during the dot-com boom a few years back as a way of bringing superheroes online — but the company went bankrupt and produced a litany of lawsuits and criminal charges in its wake involving stock manipulation schemes against the other co-founders of the company.
New media magazine and web site Red Herring has the most detailed report on this story, noting the company is back from the dead, having been reconstituted by Jim Nesfield (who describes himself as a “vulture” – has he been reading eraly issues of Spider-man in the run up to this suit?), who gathered a group of former investors, while he took charge as chairman, CEO, and president.
The suit is complex, but as I understand it, Nesfield has now filed a lawsuit on their behalf claiming claiming Lee signed his rights away to the company in 1998 and SLM a 50 per cent cut of profits from Marvel film licencing deals.
88-year-old Lee, who is now involved in POW Entertainment, has rejected the claim, as has Marvel.
In 2005 Lee had to go to court himself to win 10 per cent of Marvel’s profits from the Spider-Man movies.
Seems to me that he needs some kind of super-lawyer to handle this one…