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Stan Lee, Does he Deserve Marvelís 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 book imagination.

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. Learn the basic
essentials to comic book collecting success with this
free 5-day course:

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