The legal concerns surrounding comic book mastermind Stan Lee have taken yet another weird (and expensive) turn this week, with THR reporting that the former Marvel editor-in-chief has now launched a billion-dollar lawsuit against POW! Entertainment, a company he once co-founded, while also claiming that some of those same people have been impersonating him on social media. (It’s not quite “stealing his blood” levels of weird, but still pretty strange.)
Lee (or his account, anyway) made the latter claims earlier today on Twitter, stating that today marks his first tweet ever, and that all previous missives from @TheRealStanLee—more than 8,000 entries, mostly promoting Marvel projects or related news stories—were from other people, who also supposedly control his Facebook and Instagram, and who he apparently no longer trusts. (As if to confirm that this Lee is the real one, he posted a video to his feed earlier this afternoon, which was light on details on all of this stuff, but heavy on the “Excelsior.”
The 95-year-old Lee was already suing his former manager, Jerardo Olivarez, over that grisly “blood-theft-for-use-in-promotional-comics” thing; now, he’s added POW! CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion to his list of plaintiffs, claiming that they took advantage of his health issues and grief over his wife’s death last year in order to trick him into a fraudulent licensing deal. Specifically, Lee’s attorney, Alan Grant, says Lee—who’s understandably protective of his licensing rights, given how much weight the name “Stan Lee” still carries in the pop culture world—thought he was signing a non-exclusive contract to allow POW! to use his likeness, when, in fact, the document granted “the exclusive right to use Lee’s name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity.”
Grant says Lee doesn’t remember signing such a document, and claims that his signature on it must have either been forged, or that someone took advantage of the fact that Lee was declared legally blind in 2015 in order to present him with a false document to sign. (Jesus.) Lee is seeking an injunction against the company to nullify the agreement, and damages in excess of $1 billion.
For what it’s worth, the Lee in the video posted today seemed relatively hale and hearty—at least, as far as we can trust anything in this convoluted clusterfuck of backstabbing and alleged elder abuse.