Remember Stan Lee Media Incorporated? The company, co-founded by Lee and Peter F. Paul in 1998, aimed to produce various types of media, predominately web-based, featuring characters created by Lee. Early on, thanks in part to their first production, The 7th Portal, they had quite a bit of success; however, their hot streak eventually ended and they stopped producing content. I blame this on their legal troubles, poor management (Paul was sentenced to 9 years in jail over stock-related funny business in 2009) and the fact they worked with The Backstreet Boys. Lee dissolved his relationship with the company before its ultimate demise.
While SLMI is no longer creating things, their legal team is quite active. This week, they filed a lawsuit against Disney, current owners of Marvel, claiming they own the rights to all of Lee’s creations. According to the suit, Lee signed a contract with SLMI giving them full control of his past and future creations on October 15, 1998; he reportedly signed a similar contract with Marvel two weeks afterward. SLMI, citing the massive success of Marvel films at the box office, feel they are entitled to the “billions of dollars of profits” kept by “defendant” Disney. Spike TV, you should probably lawyer up in case they decide to come after your Stripperella money.
In 2009, the same year Disney purchased Marvel, SLMI filed a similar suit directly against the comic book publisher. It was dismissed in a New York Federal Court, which doesn’t bode well for their current case.
Would anyone else be interested in a People’s Court type show dealing exclusively in comic book lawsuits? I know I would. Stay tuned to this thread for updates on the SLMI vs. Disney case and my TV show pitch.