If you’re a lawyer, everything surrounding the strange history of Stan Lee Media is a fountain of endless, cool, refreshing litigation. Now “legendary” lawyer Martin Garbus is representing Stan Lee Media shareholders in a suit against Stan Lee, Ike Perlmutter, Avi Arad, and Marvel, alleging the shareholders are owed some $750 million in profits from Marvel’s movies based on Lee’s characters.
The shareholders of Stan Lee Media Inc claim in a lawsuit to be filed in New York that Lee, creator of Spider Man, Ironman and Incredible Hulk, transferred all his interest in Marvel characters to SLMI. That entity was placed into bankruptcy by Stan Lee in 2001 and re-emerged in November 2006 with new shareholders, who claim they are owed as much as $750 million.
Lee denies the allegations and has filed his own $50 million lawsuit against SLMI claiming the company has hijacked his name and image and is thwarting his effort to develop such properties as “The Accuser” and “The Drifter” and others via his first-look deals with Disney and Virgin Comics.
We may not be a lawyer, but if Garbus is going to try to prove that Stan Lee had any rights to his characters to ASSIGN to shareholders, we imagine he must also be having a mighty fine sale on bridges, as well. Stan long ago gave up any claim to Marvel characters, although it would be interesting to read the filings.
Other Stan Lee Media legal wranglings involve a previous attempt to sue Marvel for $5 billion, bankruptcy, an SEC suit against former CEO Peter Paul for stock manipulation during the last dotcom boom/bust, and many, many more murky matters, including a Hillary Clinton fundraiser that remains a cornerstone of Clinton-era conspiracy theorists. In fact, on his blog, Paul insists, as he long has, that this case will be a lid ripper of epic proportions:
The suit on behalf of Stan Lee Media, to be filed in Manhattan Federal Court shortly, will expose an array of corporate corruption, government misconduct, cover-ups and obstructions of justice involving former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, federal Judge Howard Matz appointed by Clinton, the creator of Spider Man, Stan Lee, the Chairman and billion dollar shareholder of Marvel Entertainment, Isaak Perlmutter, and a major Wall Street Law Firm, among others.
This suit, and the reputation and skill of the legendary American lawyer who is bringing it, on behalf of shareholders of a dot com that has been at the center of the 2000-2005 Galagate scandal that caused Hillary Clinton’s finance director to be indicted and tried in 2005 for election law fraud, and finally cost Hillary Clinton the White House, should vindicate former Hollywood “mogul” Peter Paul’s efforts to blow the whistle on the corporate, political and judicial corruption he witnessed and documented since his Hollywood internet studio with pop culture icon Stan Lee, ran out of funds during the dot com melt down of December, 2000.
Yes, it never ends.
Update: Per the comments, I corrected the link to Stan Lee’s 1998 Marvel contract (also the basis of Stan’s 2002 lawsuit against Marvel.) The other link was to Stan’s 1998 agreement with Stan Lee Entertainment Inc, just one of dozens and dozens of lengthy legal documents you can read, that have, we’d guess, been uploaded by the current Stan Lee Media team as they seek to prove their claims of nefarious deeds.
In our very brief rundown of the legal shenanigans involving Stan Lee Media, we forgot Stan’s OWN suit against them. And probably a lot of other stuff. As much as we wish we could draw a pot of tea and spend the whole day digging into this, alas, we have other pressing matters, and we’ll leave you with this Barron’s article to bring you up to speed. We’ll note that someone is going around the web (and our own comments) to hint at further Stan/Pow! mischief.
AND ONE FINAL NOTE: We’ve been covering Stan Lee legal wrangling since 2002, and while we were researching this story, we were sad to find so much previous reporting (including our own) long scrubbed, In some ways, print is more eternal than the Web, boys and girls, and don’t you forget it.