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Stan Lee Media can’t assert Spider-Man ownership in Disney suit

Stan Lee Media

Stan Lee Media

Still reeling from its loss Wednesday in the Ninth Circuit, Stan Lee Media today suffered another defeat in Pennsylvania, where a federal judge ruled the failed dot-com can’t insert itself into Disney’s dispute with a theater company by asserting ownership of Spider-Man.

As you may recall, Disney in September 2013 sued Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre, claiming its musical revue Broadway: Now and Forever used unlicensed elements Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King. However, as Disney’s attorneys later noted, that “simple case” was “transmogrified” when the theater announced it had retroactively licensed Spider-Man … from Stan Lee Media.

That conveniently opened the door for the company to sue Disney, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, an issue Stan Lee Media argued had never been directly addressed by any court. It was certainly a creative maneuver using one of the few potential paths left to pursue its fight with Marvel and Disney (a clearly annoyed judge had warned in September 2013 that any attempt to amend its previous lawsuit against the House of Mouse would be “futile”).

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You too can have a Stan Lee cameo

stan lee cameo2

What do you get for the man — literally, the Man — who’s cornered the market on the superhero-movie cameo? Why, his own Stan Lee cameo. Get it?

Lisa Qui was commissioned to handcraft a cameo jewel of Stan Lee as a gift for the legendary creator — he wore it, as you can see in the photo below — and now you too can own one, from Geek Cameos Etc. It can be ordered in six colors, as a brooch, lapel pin, necklace or hair pin, for $15.

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Marvel titles now include Jack Kirby creator credit

kirby-marvelEagle-eyed readers may have noticed a new entry to the credits pages of several Marvel comics released this week: a line acknowledging the contribution of Jack Kirby.

All-New X-Men #33, Fantastic Four #12, Inhuman #7 and Wolverine and the X-Men #11 include the phrase “Created By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby,” while Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 states, “Captain America Created By Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.” The credits pages can be found below.

Added with no fanfare, the credits follow a settlement agreement announced last month, ending the five-year-old fight between Marvel and Kirby’s children over the copyrights to 45 characters created or co-created by their father — among them, the Avengers, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

Neither side has commented publicly on their agreement beyond the joint statement, issued even as the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to decide whether it would consider an appeal by the Kirby heirs: “Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”

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Ninth Circuit delivers another blow to Stan Lee Media

stan leeEven as Disney and Stan Lee Media argue their case in one appeals court, another has dealt a setback to the failed dot-com’s feud with its co-founder and namesake.

According to Courthouse News Service, a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that a California federal judge made the right decision in 2012 when he dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against Stan Lee seeking millions in profits and ownership of his Marvel co-creations.

Stan Lee Media has long insisted that between August 1998, when Marvel terminated Lee’s $1 million-a-year lifetime contract, and November 1998, when he entered into a new agreement with the House of Ideas, the legendary creator signed over his likeness and the rights to all of the characters he co-created — Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, among them — to Stan Lee Entertainment, which later merged with Stan Lee Media. That company in turned filed for bankruptcy in February 2001; it emerged from protection in November 2006, and within months, the first of numerous lawsuits (against Marvel, Lee, Disney and others) was filed.

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Comics A.M. | Appeals court hears Marvel copyright dispute

Disney & Marvel

Disney & Marvel

Legal | Disney on Tuesday asked a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a two-year-old lawsuit by Stan Lee Media claiming the copyright to such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men. A lawyer for Stan Lee Media, which no longer connected to its namesake, argued a federal judge in Colorado erred last year in dismissing the 2012 complaint, but Disney countered that the copyright claims have been addressed time and again by the courts. “This is their seventh bite of a rotten apple,” Disney attorney Jim Quinn said after the hearing. The three-judge panel hasn’t issued its decision. [The Associated Press]

Manga | The finale of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, which will run in an upcoming issue of Shonen Jump (both the Japanese and the North American editions), will be two chapters long, with the second appearing in full color, the manga magazine announced. Naruto was at one time the bestselling graphic novel in the United States and is still one of the top selling manga in the country. [Anime News Network]

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Doctor Strange and Dormammu materialize in Mondo prints

mondo-strange-cropped

Could the timing be anything other than magical? Following word that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is in talks to play Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Mondo is offering prints from the We Buy Your Kids gallery exhibit that include two downright psychedelic renditions of the Sorcerer Supreme and his classic foe Dormammu.

The two takes on the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko creations look as if they should be rendered on black velvet, which may not be such a bad idea. Each18-inch by 24-inch print is $40, with Dormammu limited to 110 copies and Strange to 125. Keep the Eye of Agamotto trained on the Mondo Twitter feed, where they on-sale time will be announced sometime today.

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Stan Lee isn’t selling his home, ‘just a hunk of property’

stan-lee

At the risk of ROBOT 6 turning into Excelsior! Home Journal, there is another followup to the Stan Lee real-estate story: It turns out that $3.75 million listing in the Hollywood Hills isn’t for the creator’s home, but instead for another lot he owns. In fact, there’s no longer even a house on it.

“I’m not selling my house. It’s just a piece of property we own,” Lee tells Los Angeles Magazine. “We tore it down, we were gonna rebuild and we decided to sell it instead, so it’s just a hunk of property that’s for sale.”

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Stan Lee isn’t as wealthy as some may think, but he’s doing fine

stan lee2

When word surfaced Tuesday that Stan Lee has put his Hollywood Hills West home on the market for $3.75 million, some commenters began to speculate about the legendary writer’s finances. Of course, they’re not the first.

Asked earlier this year by Playboy whether he at least received “a Tony Star-like helicopter” from Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Marvel, the 91-year-old creator was quick to point out that he’s not as wealthy as some may think.

“My daughter was looking at the internet the other day and read that Stan Lee has an estimated $250 million,” Lee said. “I mean, that’s ridiculous! I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that.”

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Stan Lee’s home could be yours for a cool $3.75 million

stan lee-asgard

Here’s the ultimate find for the truly devoted Marvel collector: Stan Lee’s house.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the legendary comics creator has listed his walled and gated home in Hollywood Hills West for $3.75 million.

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Stan Lee calls for ‘raw realism’ in comics (aka bathroom breaks)

stan-lee-realism

With the birth of the Marvel Universe more than five decades ago, Stan Lee helped create real heroes with real problems. However, now he’s beginning to think Marvel’s comic books aren’t realistic enough.

“I wonder why, in any story, we’ve never shown that a hero or heroine has to go to the bathroom?” the legendary writer says in the latest installment of “Stan’s Rants,” appropriately titled “Superhero Potty Talk.” “To be terribly realist, wouldn’t it be something: You have a fight scene, and the hero is fighting the villain, and suddenly he says, ‘Hey, hold it a minute, please. Can we finish this later? I just have to go!'”

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NYCC | IDW to collect ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ comic strips

asm-comic strip

Following news of an expanded partnership with Marvel for its Artist’s Edition line, IDW Publishing has announced it will release deluxe hardcover editions of the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip through its Library of American Comics imprint.

The strip debuted in January 1977 with a storyline by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. that pitted wall-crawler against Doctor Doom, and it’s continued daily ever since. For much of its run, the comic has been produced by Larry Lieber, who was joined in more recent years by Paul Ryan, Alex Saviuk and Joe Sinnott.

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Stan Lee Media fights to resurrect lawsuit against Stan Lee

stan leeStan Lee Media was back in court on Thursday, seeking to revive its lawsuit against co-founder and namesake Stan Lee for millions in profits and ownership of his Marvel co-creations.

Law 360 reports the failed dot com argued before a panel of the Ninth Circuit that the case shouldn’t have been dismissed in 2012 by a California federal judge simply because an identical action in New York was determined two years earlier to be time-barred. However, Lee’s attorney countered that the lead plaintiff in both shareholder actions was Jose Abadin, president of Stan Lee Media.

The backstory is familiar by now to ROBOT 6 readers, but here’s the CliffsNotes version: In 1998, during Marvel’s bankruptcy, CEO Isaac Perlmutter briefly ended its $1-million-a-year lifetime contract with Lee, freeing the legendary creator to form Stan Lee Entertainment, which later merged with Stan Lee Media. That company in turned filed for bankruptcy in February 2001; just four months after SLM emerged from protection in November 2006, shareholders filed a $5 billion lawsuit against Marvel.

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Stan Lee talks censorship in Banned Books Week video

stan-lee-banned-books

As Banned Books Week winds down, the American Library Association has released a video of Stan Lee addressing literacy and attempts to ban comic books.

“There have been times when people tried to ban comics, they felt that they stifled a child’s imagination because, why should a child see pictures of what he or she is reading about,” he says. “But my answer to that always was the same: Why would anybody go to see a Shakespeare play, because you’re seeing the characters on the stage? Maybe there should be no plays; maybe we should just have to read the script. Maybe there should be no movies, there should be no television shows, there should be no radio shows — just read the script. Obviously, that’s ridiculous. Reading is the basis for all these other things.”

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Comics A.M. | Gaiman, McCloud & Smith on Banned Books Week

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Banned Books Week | Michael Cavna talks with Jeff Smith, Scott McCloud and Neil Gaiman about the importance of Banned Books Week. Says Gaiman, “I get tired of when people say that no books are banned just because [you can get it elsewhere]. Say you’re a kid in a school district [that banned a book] and there’s not a local Barnes & Noble and you don’t have 20 or 50 bucks in disposable income … That book is gone. It was there and now it’s not. The fact you can buy it on Amazon doesn’t make that any less bad.” [Comic Riffs]

Banned Books Week | Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, discusses comics and censorship in a video interview. [Reason Magazine]

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Stan Lee would like fans to be more accurate with their praise

stan-lee-fans

The legendary co-creator of such superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, Stan Lee has attracted countless fans over the course of a seven-decade career. While he clearly treasures all of them, he asks for one thing from them: a little accuracy.

“I kinda don’t like it when people come over to me and say, ‘I’m your biggest fan,'” he says in the new installment of “Stan’s Rants.” “But I think, how do they know they’re my biggest fan? Have they checked all my other fans? I might have a bigger fan somewhere. And are they referring to the fact that they’re my most enthusiastic fan, or perhaps in height? They’re my tallest fan?

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