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Stan Lee embroiled in legal battle for POW! Entertainment

Stan Lee

Legendary writer and editor Stan Lee, seemingly a magnet for lawsuits, has been drawn into yet another legal battle, one that could leave the future of his POW! Entertainment in question.

According to Hollywood, Esq., Lee and POW! executives Gil Champion and Arthur Lieberman, among others, have been sued for $3.6 million by two people who claim there was a conspiracy to inflate the worth of the media company’s assets at the time of a reverse merger in 2004 that allowed POW! to become publicly traded without slogging through the lengthy registration process.

Making the lawsuit more complex, or at least more dicey, is that one of the plaintiffs, Valerie Barth, worked for years as Lee’s public relations representative, and asserts she was instrumental in the creator receiving his star last year on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The claims are rooted in Lee’s departure in 2001 from the bankrupt dot-com Stan Lee Media — that company has its own winding history of lawsuits involving, at various times, its namesake, Marvel and Conan the Barbarian, among others — to form POW!, which in the past decade has struck deals with such companies as Disney, Archie Comics and BOOM! Studios. Three years later a reverse merger with a shell corporation called Arturian Entertainment allowed POW! to immediately go public.

Still following? Barth, whose PR consulting company Media Dynamics was the controlling shareholder of Arturion, and Ron Sandman, whose UltraVision Inc. was a minority shareholder, now allege that Lee and his partners misrepresented POW!’s assets and provided documents demonstrating that the company controlled Lee’s intellectual property, including his name and likeness, and downplayed threats of litigation. (That same intellectual property forms the core of Lee’s ongoing legal fight with Stan Lee Media.) According to Hollywood, Esq., Barth and Sandman have been so vocal in their accusations that POW! sued them, claiming fraud and abusive business practices.

In their counterlawsuit, the two allege that POW! fraudulently took control of Arturion, violated dozens of laws, and permitted Lee to divert and co-mingle revenues for consulting, literary works, interviews, honorariums and the like. In addition to the $3.6 million in compensatory damages, Barth and Sandman seek the removal of POW!’s board of directors, and the transfer of shares.

According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, POW! Entertainment generated just $24,628 in net income in 2011; the previous year, the company saw a $1.1 million net loss.

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Comments

14 Comments

Stan The Man vs. the combined powers of the Sandman and Barth. Sounds like a Marvel Comic.

Um, he might be a magnet for lawsuits because he keeps doing things illegally. Just an idea… Whether he won or not, I don’t recall him being in the right on any of them.

Judge Fred MANSON

May 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

How a company can have a loss of $1.1 millions without a warning sign send by the company holders to the direction board? Strange…

A new bankruptcy to come to avoid to pay taxes?? I would like to see the monthly wages documents of Stan Lee. It should be interesting to see “how to…”

Hmm?

Poor Stan seems to have no luck running a company without getting into some kind of trouble. He might be better off just trying to write that great American novel he has always dreamed of doing.

I find that the one guy’s last name is Sandman. He obviously must’ve changed it to the name of the Marvel comics’ villain or DC comics hero. I think Stan ‘ll win this battle.

For someone who considered Bob Kane a good friend, I would expect no less.

Sandmann and Barth have not paid a red cent for the millions of shares they received – that is why they were sued in the first place.

This PR is just a desperate effort to throw mud at Stan, and twist his arm into settlement – the original complaint against Sandmann and Barth was filed more then half a year ago.

Very bizarre– at this point in his career, I think that Uncle Stan is better off with a small scale, privately owned (where he is the sole stakeholder) consultation operation, rather than trying to jump-start the “next” stable of potential DC/Marvel/Image fantasy/sci-fi characters with a publicly held company, and investors that would seek to use his brand as a quick cash-cow. There are too many unethical wheeler-dealers in the Hollywood world– and even though Stan has been a comics-culture ambassador to the broader film & television industry for a little over 30 years now, I don’t know that he’s been a good fit with the heavily cynical, frequently manipulative tactics that are taken for granted in that world. I’d hate to see his current venture “crash and burn” like the previous one.

What has POW! done lately? The last original stuff I remember with Stan’s name on it (outside of comics) were those two awful animated films and “Who Wants to be a Super Hero?” Those were years ago. Exactly what money is everyone fighting over? “Intellectual property” doesn’t mean squat unless someone wants to pay you for it.

poor stan just when it looks like he is able to call the shots like he did at marvel he winds up with a lawsuit. though this one sounds like a comic book battle.

talmidge mcgulliger

May 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Stan is better off hitching his trailer to boom and doing more stuff their. The three book he helped create for them were actually pretty good. Love you Stan but it just seems like starting your own company isn’t in the cards.

kaijubotx he gets a large of sum of money from marvel every year for life or something.

About time this con man is getting what he deserves he stole ideas and made everyone believe there were his.
Stan changed his name beause he didn’t want anyone to know he was writing for comics stan made everyone believe he created everthing now what are going do mr. liar and cheat.
The jig is up time tell the truth and pay everyone back who really created everything..

The Avengers

May 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Stan is the MAN and everyone from Stan Lee Media to Barth/Sandman should be ashamed of themselves for stealing what is not theirs!

Plus, why did it take so long for Barth/Sandman to come out and file the lawsuit? They should have come out a long time ago, again, all for the money. Just let Stan enjoy what he has left of his years!

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