Stan Lee, is one of the all time most prolific and recognizable individuals in the “Comic Book Industry”. Lovers of comic books know his name and his work. They probably have followed him of all their comic collecting lives. We all have heard of his creations. The X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, and of course the incredible Spider-Man are all from the mind of Stan-Lee. For more then forty years as an employee of Marvel Comics, he has entertained us through the comic book art created by his imagination. He has also been a crusader and white knight of sorts to the comic book industry throughout some of the industry’s toughest times and has been one of the most influential single individuals the industry has ever birthed. He is truly a Trend Force in comics, TV, Film, Videogames and of course the Licensing industry. We catch up with Stan Lee the Trend Force at his new home and company POW! Entertainment
You know you’re in a legendary place for comic book lovers when you enter the offices of POW! Entertainment (POWN). The earthy entrance is dominated by one of those retail swivel racks you find in a magazine shop, only this one is stuffed with classic comics such as Black Rider, Captain America, and Thor. An enlarged ’60s-era cover of The Fantastic Four fills one wall, an early Spider-Man cover another wall.
This four-room suite is where Stan Lee operates creating tomorrows trends. For those who didn’t spend their youth reading comics, Stan Lee is the trendsetter and godfather of comic books, the legend responsible for Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, and dozens of other Marvel Comics characters who lived on the colorful pages and in the hearts of young boys everywhere. Now, at 87, Stan Lee runs POW!, short for Purveyors of Wonder.
Lee may be the wonder. At an age when most people have long since retired, he has no intention of slowing down. The new ideas still come to him at what seems like supersonic comic speed, although he no longer draws the characters he imagines. His legendary trendsetting creativity is what attracted The Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which on Dec. 31 paid $2.5 million for a 10% stake in POW! Disney has several deals with Lee, including a “first look” arrangement to turn his ideas into movies.
“We’re in the content creation business,” says an energetic Lee, sitting in a room dominated by pictures of himself with former Presidents, toys (many of them with his face in place of, say, the greenish scowl of the Hulk), and the ego soothing posters of his comics. One has the shapely figure of Stripperella, a stripper by night and super agent by day. It’s an animated show that Lee created seven years back for the Spike channel, whose clientele is a tad older than the usual comic book crowd. It only lasted a season on Spike, but you can catch Stripperella on your mobile phone, thanks to the Web site GoComics.com.
POW! Entertainment’s Creative Force
POW! hasn’t been a Wall Street superhero. Along with his business partner, movie producer Gill Champion, Lee formed POW! in 2003 through a reverse merger with a former minerals company. POW! is a penny stock, trading at a mere 13.5¢ a share. The idea of the reverse merger, the company says, was to jump-start Lee’s new business rather than go through the lengthy process of an initial public offering. The man, after all, was 80 at the time.
The truth is Lee has never been much of a winner when it comes to the business side. An earlier venture, Stan Lee Media, filed for bankruptcy in 2001, In 2005 he sued his longtime employer, Marvel, settling for more than $10 million, which he contended he was owed for movies that featured characters he created. “It was just a disagreement in interpreting the contract,” he says. “I never for a moment had a problem with Marvel. I worked with them then, am working with them now.” Stan Lee is truly a trensetter, a trend force having influenced the comic industry more than any one figure in the industry. Please share your comments about some of Mr. Lee more recent efforts with Anime and Manga, Paris Hilton and Playboy.