Comic book creator Stan Lee is suing the company he co-founded for over $1billion because he says it stole his identity, name, and likeness while he was losing his vision and grieving over his dead wife in order to sell the firm to a Chinese conglomerate.
Lee, the brains behind Marvel Comics, filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday against POW! Entertainment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2017, POW! was bought by Camsing International, a Hong Kong-based investment holding company.
Lee, 95, is claiming that POW!’s CEO, Shane Duffy, and co-founder Gill Champion did not disclose the terms of the deal to him before it was sealed.
He is alleging that the company engaged in a ‘nefarious scheme’ by taking advantage of the fact that he was losing his vision due to macular degeneration.
Comic book creator Stan Lee (above) is suing the company he co-founded for over $1billion because he says it stole his identity, name, and likeness while he was losing his vision and grieving over his dead wife in order to sell the firm to a Chinese conglomerate
Lee also says that his wife was on her deathbed at the time and that the company executives knew of his despair.
He says that last year, he was asked by Duffy, Champion, and his former business manager, Jerardo Olivarez, to sign a non-exclusive license with POW! for the use of his name and likeness for creative works owned by the company.
In addition to this most recent lawsuit, Lee is also suing Olivarez for allegedly defrauding him.
Lee is claiming that what he really signed with POW! was a ‘fraudulent’ intellectual property assignment agreement.
The agreement gave POW! ‘the exclusive right to use Lee’s name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity.’
Lee is claiming in the lawsuit that his deteriorating vision prevented him from reading the document he signed.
‘Lee does not recall anyone reading the Illegitimate Document to him, and, due to his advanced macular degeneration, he could not have read it himself,’ his lawyer, Adam Grant, writes in the complaint.
‘While the Illegitimate Document purports to contain Lee’s signature, Lee never knowingly signed it. Either Duffy, Champion, Oliveraz [sic] or POW! (1) forged Lee’s signatures; (2) lifted Lee’s signature from another document and imposed it on the Illegitimate Document; or, (3) someone, likely one of the Defendants, induced Lee to sign the Illegitimate Document by using a bait and switch tactic: telling Lee it was something else.’
Lee is also claiming that POW! has taken control of his social media accounts.
Lee, the brains behind Marvel Comics, filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday against POW! Entertainment
He tweeted on Tuesday: ‘Help! Someone has hijacked my Facebook and Instagram. I want everyone to know whoever is writing them is a fraud and is impersonating me. How do I get them back? Can you guys help?’
Lee wants the court to invalidate the agreement. He also wants POW! To pay damages totaling more than $1billion.
POW! Entertainment has not responded to the allegations in the suit.
The lawsuit is just the latest legal entanglement involving Lee.
Last month, he was sued by a massage therapist who alleges that he rubbed his bare genitals on her foot during a session.
Maria Carballo filed the $50,000 civil suit in Chicago, claiming the incident took place during two sessions in April 2017 at the McCormick Place Hyatt Recency hotel.
Carballo also filed a criminal complaint against Stanley Lieber, Lee’s real name, in Chicago in March.
Lee, through his attorney, has denied the allegations and vowed to fight the lawsuit.
Lee is the former chairman of Marvel Comics, and the co-creator of many famous superheros including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther and the X-Men.