Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee’s $1 billion lawsuit is ‘preposterous,’ Chinese firm says

Key Points
  • Stan Lee, former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, has filed suit seeking more than $1 billion in damages.
  • The Spider-Man co-creator says he never knowingly gave up exclusive rights to his name.
  • A Chinese firm says Lee knew he was selling his naming rights.
Stan Lee in his office in Beverly Hills, California.
Getty images | Washington Post

A Chinese company has said it is "preposterous" that Stan Lee, the former editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, did not know he was signing over his name, image and likeness to it on an exclusive basis.

Lee, who co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk and the X-Men, filed a $1 billion suit against Pow Entertainment, a company he co-founded in 2001, on Tuesday. He alleges that his identity and work was taken fraudulently so that Pow could then be sold to the Chinese firm Camsing International Holdings.

Lee claims that the co-founders of Pow, Shane Duffy and Gill Champion, used deception to make him sign-over his name, image and likeness on a wholly exclusive basis.

A promotion image from Marvel's 2018 hit "The Black Panther".
Source: Marvel

In the lawsuit filed in state Superior Court in Los Angeles, the 95-year-old comic book legend said his signature was either forged, imposed from another document or induced by a bait-and-switch tactic.

In a response Friday, Camsing International Holdings issued a statement to CNBC through a firm run by Los Angeles-based publicity consultant Howard Bragman.

In it, Camsing said it had reviewed the complaint, adding that "the notion that Mr Lee did not knowingly grant Pow exclusive rights to his creative works or his identity is so preposterous that we have to wonder whether Mr. Lee is personally behind this lawsuit."

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The statement added that the complaint, although published, had not yet been properly served but that when it was, Camsing would "look forward to presenting its evidence in court."

In April, Lee issued a separate suit against former business partner Jerardo Olivarez claiming that he had transferred $4.6 million out of his bank account without authorization. He also claimed Olivarez was carrying out bogus schemes to enrich himself. Olivarez could not be located for comment.

Pow Entertainment did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment from Duffy and Champion.