January 20, 2005

Say it ain't so Stan! Marvel Comics consultant and former Editor in Chief Stan Lee has won a multi-million dollar lawsuit... from Marvel Comics.

For years Stan ran the show pretty much by himself. For years he tried licensing Marvel's characters for film and television, and the results usually were less than what was desired. I'm not sure he ever really "retired" from Marvel, he's always been their P.T. Barnum. Anyway, under Marvel's new editorial staff (and ownership) films have obviously been making a premium, not just at the box office, but in various merchandising spin-offs. Apparently Stan thought he was entitled to a larger share of the pie. I'm not sure where I stand on this. It's not like Marvel shunned Stan like DC did to Bob Kane or Siegel and Shuster. If anything Stan has been given credit for creating damn near the entire Marvel universe. I really hope this doesn't sour the relationship between the parties involved.

  • Really this was more the makings of a contract dispute than anything else. Lee was suing for a cut of the revenues of the movies and movie related items. I believe he was getting some cut of the income generated from the movies, but income is a very easy figure for accountants to manipulate.
  • Yay for Stan! I remember hearing an interview he did on Stern a few years back where he was asked if he felt cheated out of some of the profits of the films and merchandize and he said no but Stern wouldn't give up until Stan admitted he'd like to see a "few extra bucks" come his way. This will be quite a few indeed.
  • Good for Lee. The comic book guys have been getting screwed for years like the old blues musicians. I believe the Superman creators also won a lawsuit. I'm not sure on that one.
  • Please, Sullivan. Lee was one of the guys doing the screwing for many, many years.
  • I suspect Cincinatus has the right angle. This seems identical to Marvel suing Columbia Pictures last year over royalties for Spiderman. The industry insider consensus at the time was that it was all an elaborate game of chicken, with Columbia trying to see how far they could screw Marvel out of money owed. Standard business procedure for Hollywood, where if the studios think they need you, a handshake agreement is rock solid, but if the studios aren't convinced they need you for the next picture, even a contract signed in blood is practically worthless. Even producers get screwed out of their contract payments all the time.
  • Strange. I had a dream about Stan Lee last night. I was in the men's room and Stan came in to use the urinal next to mine. Ordinarily I'm strongly against attempting to carry on a conversation with folks whilst urinating, but this was STAN FUCKING LEE! So I started talking, sounding like the stupidest of fawning fanboys, while Stan nodded politely and tried to finish his tinkle. I wonder what it means? sometimes a penis is just a penis...
  • Interesting the different paths comic guys pursue, Stan stays on board and ultimately sues for his due and others like Todd McFarlane go it on their own and get their due. Ink up yet another win for the creative minds behind the stories.
  • I heard McFarlane got sued by a hockey player for defamation b/c he used the player's name as the name for a villain in some noir comic. I think he lost and had to declare bankruptcy. I could have made that up, though.
  • Sullivan, Siegel and Shuster did indeed win a lawsuit several years back, although as I remeber they still kind of got the short end of the stick. Lee was one of the guys dowing the screwing for many, many years. rodgerd, I'd like to see some evidence for this "screwing." What are you basing this statement on?
  • Would somebody call me Peter Parker before I go insane? You see this other guy who I've been lately forgot I had a name.
  • TenaciousP - you're thinking of McFarlane's final appeal being rejected. So no, you're not dreaming.
  • heh. I'm glad you liked that track daniel.
  • Also, I'm ASTONISHED to hear that they awarded twist FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS. Is this a joke? Because McFarlane used his name in a COMIC BOOK?
  • It's a travesty of justice. In fact, having followed the case on and off as it wended its way through the courts I was shocked and appalled that the decision went against McFarlane. (I still don't know why the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal). I think the guy's a dick (see the whole McFarlane-Gaiman Angela brouhaha) but both the decision and the award are ridiculous and wrongheaded. Here's what Eugene Volokh had to say about the case, and here's a link to the amicus brief he filed (PDF link). (all via Mark Evanier's original blog entry).
  • Gah! My apologies for poor sentence structure and composition. My kingdom for an editor!
  • Dude. It's the first time I hear about that Twist guy. And all the rest of my family closely watches Hockey.
  • Well, I guess hockey players gotta find something to do with their time.