Stan Lee Media, a company created by and formerly owned by comic book creator and legend Stan "The Man" Lee is suing Marvel Entertainment for a cool $5 billion. The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York, states that Stan Lee Media seeks to assert rights to the revenue generated by Marvel off of Stan Lee Media properties. In other words, they feel they own a piece of, and are getting shafted on profits from, characters including Spider-Man, The X-Men and The Incredible Hulk. The basis for this assertion comes from an agreement signed by Stan Lee when he was with the company that gave rights to his characters to Stan Lee Media.
Lee himself is long since gone from Stan Lee Media, but the company asserts the contract he signed is still in full force and effect. "Stan Lee is no longer with the company, but the contract remains intact," said Jim Nesfield, who recently rescued Stan Lee Media from bankruptcy and is its CEO. "He has signed it and the contract is still in force." He also added in the article that Stan Lee himself may be forced to testify if the case goes to trial. Stan Lee declined to comment for the article but later made his feelings about the lawsuit known through a statement released by Marvel Entertainment: "I do not support this action and believe the suit to be baseless."
Actually, this isn't the first time Lee and Nesfield have had legal dealings according to the article. In January, Lee filed suit against Nesfield and two of his associates, alleging they illegally took over his former company -- Stan Lee Media -- and infringed on his trademarks and copyrights. So, there's some history here for sure. What it really comes down to is one thing: money. Superhero movies make money -- especially ones made from comic book characters like Spider-Man and The X-Men. So, its understandable that people like Nesfield may want to try and cash in -- whether its warranted or not.