Stan Lee, who is best known for creating the expansive and beloved Marvel Universe, has recently filed a $1 billion lawsuit against POW! Entertainment, a company he helped co-found. The comic book legend claims that the enterprise tried to steal his name, image and likeness during a crooked sale to a Chinese business in 2017.
Lee alleges that POW! Entertainment’s CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion did not divulge their plans to sell the company to the Hong Kong-based Camsing International before the deal closed.
According to a complaint filed in the L.A. County Superior Court, Lee was asked by his business partners to sign a non-exclusive license with POW! in order to use his name and likeness for creative endeavours. However, the documents he signed actually gave POW! “the exclusive right to use Lee’s name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity.”
Lee notes how he experienced the death of his wife, as well as vision impairment due to macular degeneration, around the time this deal came into fruition. His attorney Adam Grant believes that his signature was either forged, lifted, or induced by a bait-and-switch tactic.
The lawsuit also alleges that POW! had taken over his social media accounts, impersonating the Marvel founder without his knowledge.
Lee and his legal team are seeking an injunction that invalidates the agreement, plus damages in excess of $1 billion.