And in some more resent activities, Stan Lee had to fight for his own creative rights in the courtroom. You would think that an individual of his caliber would be taken seriously by now 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 Lee's 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 at one time had even been a suit. Among other positions held at Marvel, Lee had even been president of the company for a while.
Years ago when Stan 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 food 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 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 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.
For access to a bunch of great Stan Lee stuff at Amazon, just click on the image to the left.
As new developments continue in the comic book industry, I am sure Stan will be part of them. To keep up with interesting stories that I find, you can sign up for my free ezine "Comics Galore" and I have thrown in a great 5-day course on comic book collecting to boot. Just enter your name and email address below and start receiving the course immediately. Your name andaddress will only be used for comic book activity. I won't let any others use this list at all.