Culture&Arts

Stan Lee Socks His Former Company With $1 Billion Lawsuit

Stan Lee Socks His Former Company With $1 Billion Lawsuit

Lee, who is 95, is the creator of hundreds of superheroes such as Spider-Man, The Hulk, Thor and Black Panther.

Stan Lee is suing his former entertainment company POW! Lee alleges in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday that POW Entertainment and two of its officers, CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion, conspired to steal his identity and likeness.

Lee, the co-creative force behind many superhero characters, including Black Panther and Spider-Man, sold the company to Camsing past year. Entertainment to alter a clause meant to grant POW! non-exclusive rights to use his name to instead secretly grant POW! an exclusive right to use Lee's name.

Lee's attorney Adam Grant writes in the filing (via THR): "Lee does not recall anyone reading the Illegitimate Document to him, and, due to his advanced macular degeneration, he could not have read it himself". If someone had read the document to Lee, the suit adds, "he would not have knowingly signed it".

"Given his fame and cultural importance as an American icon and living legend, there is significant commercial interest in the use of his image, name and likeness", said the claim.




According to the complaint, POW! needed Lee's permission to use his name, which he says he never knowingly gave.

For example, Walt Disney, which paid $4 billion to buy Marvel in 2014, has a non-exclusive licence to use his name, image and likeness in connection with the characters Lee created for Marvel. "Inc. the exclusive use of Lee's identity, name, image, and likeness ... and each of them knew that their objective was unlawful and they meant to aid each other in achieving that unlawful objective".

He also alleges that POW! then took control of his social media channels and started impersonating him, and is now seeking damages in excess of $1 billion. Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

According to the court documents, Lee had no idea a sale was in the offing.

The suit draws attention to the death of Lee's wife last July, and his degenerative eye condition which has caused his poor eyesight, suggesting he could not have read the documents.