|Stan Lee, Does he Deserve
Marvel's Wrath? by Dave Gieber
Stan Lee, in my mind, has to be one of the all time most
recognizable individuals in the "Comic Book
Industry". Most lovers of comic books have known his name
all their collecting lives. For those of you who don't know
Stan Lee, I am sure you have heard of his creations. The
X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, and
the very well known Spider-Man are all from the mind of Stan
Lee. For the last forty years or more and as an employee of
Marvel Comics, he has entertained us through the art of comic
Well, by now you would think that an
individual of this caliber would be taken seriously and treated with
respect from his employers. Apparently not! In 2002 Stan Lee decided
he had to file a lawsuit against the comic giant, Marvel. It appears
the agreement between Lee and Marvel was that 10% of the income
generated from TV and movies using Stan Lee characters, was to be
his. Seems Marvel didn't see it that way. Typical of conglomerates,
isn't it? The boys in the suits seem to want to make all the rules.
Stan Lee, at one time, had even been a suit himself. Among other
positions held at Marvel, Lee had even been president of the company
for a while.
Years ago when Stan Lee had created most of
his characters, he had done it through a write-for-hire agreement,
so he doesn't own the characters. Stan was then, just a "meat
and potatoes" kind of guy, trying to put meat and potatoes on
the table. But over the years, he was very instrumental in putting
Marvel Comics on the map.
When the 10% deal was formally put together,
apparently most individuals involved didn't realize the windfall
that comic book character movies would become. Now is that any
reason to hold back Stan's piece of the pie? I think not. Just
corporate bigwigs trying to increase their lot in life. Now this is
just my opinion so don't rant back at me as being unfair.
As luck would have it, a federal judge agreed
and ruled in favor of Stan Lee. How much monetary compensation does
this mean? Well to put it in perspective, the two Spider- Man movies
thus far, have reaped on the order of 800 million dollars apiece, in
world wide ticket sales. This settlement could mean tens of millions
of dollars for Lee, but the battle is not over. Marvel, will quite
probably appeal the verdict and the case may be tied up in the
courts for years.
Now don't go feeling too badly for Stan Lee.
He is still pulling down a salary from Marvel on the order of a
million dollars. Still not to shabby in my mind. And Lee has mixed
feels because he has been loyal to Marvel for 60 years. To have his
lifelong employer trying to, shall we say, stiff him, for being so
loyal, I'm sure, does hurt. Had it not been for Stan Lee, Marvel may
not have been in the financial position they are today.
At 82, Stan Lee does have a comfortable and
successful life. And if even his settlement is held up in the courts
for years, Stan won the first round. He didn't bow down to the
corporate hammer. Just another "Joe working class hero"
yelling out, hey guys, let's play by the rules.
About the Author: Dave Gieber is the owner
and editor of a website built around one of his childhood passions.
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