What is a day in the life of Stan Lee like? Judging by the PR wire, as soon as he gets out of bed he asks himself “Whom shall I pact with today, True Believer?” and his people call some other people, and POW! a pact is born!
This week’s pact is with former Disney chairman Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, one of those shadowy multimedia companies that sits around and thinks about stuff. And sure enough, Stan will now help them create more stuff.
Michael Eisner’s independent digital studio Vuguru and comic legend Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment Inc. have partnered to produce original content across multiple platforms. Details of the deal, announced today, did not specify if any existing Lee properties will be involved.
Stan’s pacting is usually done via POW! Entertainment, and POW!’s Gil Champion was excited about the possibilities of this new pact. “It is the start of an exciting new chapter that will enable us to expand our storytelling into the digital realm and more quickly and effectively reach our global audience,” he said. “Stan and the creative team are delighted to begin developing new worlds and amazing characters and cannot think of a better partner than Vuguru to help realize this ambition.”
Though they cannot think of better partners, they can surely think of OTHER partners. In recent months, Stan pacted with 1821 Comics for ROMEO AND JULIET: THE WAR and a whole line of kid’s entertainment.
“We’re not on a crusade of any sort. Our main purpose is we feel that there aren’t enough comic books or books for kids that really hit the target, that is that gives them excitement and humor together and are filled with surprises,” Lee said. “And have a whole new group of new characters that the kids can call their own, just as the teenagers called Spider-Man their own so many years ago.”
The first books under the imprint will include “Monsters Vs. Kittens,” from writer and artist Dani Jones, and “Once Upon a Time” in 2012, followed by “The Fuzz Posse,” ”Reggie the Veggie Crocodile” and “The Animal Band.”
After the pacting comes the thinking, and thus such things as “Reggie the Veggie Crocodile.”
Recently, Stan pacted with MTV for a contest where people could get the chance to make their own pact with Stan by working on this concept.
Before that, Stan and POW! pacted with Ricco Capital Holdings and Fidelis Entertainment to create Magic Storm Entertainment, a film entity that will think up film stuff for the world — and China. Hope this stuff doesn’t compete with the Vuguru stuff!
And Stan also teamed with Todd McFarlane and androgynous JPop star Yoshiki, for something called “Red Dragon” earlier this year.
Back in 2008, Stan pacted with Disney for a three-picture deal which included
1) “Nick Ratchet” – to be written and directed by Richard LaGravenese. His last outing as a director was the 2007 released “P.S. I Love You” starring Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler.
2) “Blaze” – to be written by Gary Goldman. Yes, this is the same guy who wrote such memorable gems as “Total Recall” and “Big Trouble in Little China.” No director has been announced.
3) “Tigress” – written by Zoe Green.
Because this pact kind of got lost in the shuffle, it had to be re-announced in 2010.
But in 2010, Stan also pacted with Archie Comics for something called “Super Seven.” A chill fell upon this pact later in the year when a toy company sued over the name Super Seven. Perhaps that is why it never came out?
2009 was a banner year for the Pact. Stan pacted with Viz and manga-ka Hiroyuki Takei to create ULTIMO, a superhero manga which is still running!
2008 yielded a bountiful crop of pacts for Stan. He also teamed with Brighton Partners and Rainmaker Entertainment to launch a new superhero property called “Legion of 5.” The Google trail for this pact seems to die out in 2008, for reasons unknown.
Back in 2005, Stan got his pact on with VIBE, the magazine of the urban lifestyle, to create an urban character:
The urban character, which is in the development stage, could be the next Spider-Man or X-Man, contemporary and universally liked by all but targeted to the 15- to 34-year-old comic book, video game, and action-hero lover. The character will be marketed as an action hero and will grace the pages of VIBE, as well as having its own graphic novel. Creators will take the animated character to DVD, television, and to feature film.
Amazingly they still publish VIBE, but what became of this urban character, we’re not entirely sure.
Also in 2005, Stan teamed with Vidiator for what was then called….WIRELESS CONTENT. This press release provides a nice snapshot of the early days of what we now know as “digital media.”
The alliance will help shape the emerging business of content distribution and M-commerce on wireless platforms. Vidiator will have an exclusive relationship with Stan Lee’s POW! Mobile for the creation and distribution of wireless content. Marrying creative ideas from one of the most fertile minds in the intellectual property business with Vidiator’s rock solid solutions transforms the mobile phone into a personal communications and entertainment device that travels with the consumer, enabling a stronger paradigm for pay-for-play content.
“Streaming broadband content, delivered wirelessly, will make the mobile phone even more indispensable than it is now,” says Ben Bajarin, analyst from Creative Strategies. “The possibilities arising from this technology are really exciting. With its animated graphics, images and audio and visual functionality, streaming multimedia will revolutionize the way people experience content like games, news, concerts and text on their mobile phones. Vidiator understands this opportunity and has the vision and technology to succeed.”
Vidiator understood the opportunity and they didn’t let it go to waste — the company is still around offering a bunch of 3G streaming services.
In 2004, it was Jay J. Armes a real-life crimefighter who lost his hands at an early age:
Says Stan, “When I first met Jay I was bowled over. I couldn’t believe that a real live person could have the incredible powers that he possesses. He even resembles my own fictional comic book heroes in the respect that most of them gained their super power through some sort of accident. Spider-Man had been bitten by a genetically altered spider. The Hulk was the product of a gamma ray experiment gone wrong and Daredevil was blinded by radioactive chemical. As for Jay J. Armes, he lost both his hands in a childhood accident at the age of twelve.”
So far we’ve made it sound like all these pacts have dissipated into the air like magical fairy dust. But that is NOT the case. One pact that made it to reality — if you call the halftime show of the NHL All-Star Game reality — was The Guardian Project in which Stan pacted with the NHL to create a superhero mascot for each and every team in the league. In turn, the Guardian Project eventually partnered with NBCUniversal to create CONTENT, acres and acres of glorious content: “Content that could emerge from the venture include graphic novels, television series and movies.”
Another successful Stan pact was his 2010 line of comics for BOOM!, which resulted in an actual line of actual comics featuring the characters that were originally announced. We’d have to rate this as one of the bigger results for a Stan pact. Perhaps the fact that BOOM! and POW! share a liking for exclamation points aided the thinking up of stuff.
Okay, this is fun, but we have other things to write, and we don’t want to mention the pact with Paris Hilton or Stripperella. Here’s the POW! page from an investment site which shows all of the companies they’ve pacted with. We shrank it down into one visual for your edutainment—so vast was the list that we couldn’t even get it in one screen shot so we actually had to make a panoramic screen grab:
As you can see, Stan has even pacted with Marvel Comics — probably to create some multimedia content.
If this trip down pacting memory lane has taught us anything, it’s that one sure way to get a press release distributed is to announce a deal with Stan Lee. People like to take advantage of this. POW! gets to keep whatever leverage and stock price it has…and Stan gets to sit around and think up new ideas. All the time. Nice work if you can get it.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.