MANHATTAN (CN) – Stan Lee Media shareholders say the company transferred away more than $750 million in assets to Marvel Entertainment, to Stan Lee and his family, and to others. Plaintiffs in the federal derivative lawsuit say the assets include profits from movies based on Stan Lee’s comic characters, including Spiderman, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four.
Named as defendants are Marvel Entertainment Inc., Marvel Enterprises Inc., Marvel Characters BV, Stan Lee, Joan Lee, Joan C. Lee, Isaac Perlmutter, Avi Arad, and Arthur Lieberman. Stan Lee is the comic book artist. Joan is his wife and Joan C. is his daughter. Perlmutter is chairman of Marvel. Arad and Lieberman are not further identified.
The complaint claims that “the defendants, including Perlmutter, Lieberman and Stan Lee, conspired to and have otherwise engaged in acts of fraud upon SLMI and since 1998 have wrongfully taken monies owed to them, and taken ‘assets.’
“Marvel, Perlmutter and Lee have for nearly 20 years been producing, marketing and selling co-creator’s ‘assets’ that belong to SLMI [Stan Lee Media Inc.], including all of his interest in the name ‘Marvel.’ Most of Marvel’s financial success, including from the films, comes out of ‘assets’ created by Stan Lee that are the subject of this suit. … (T)he gross revenue of the ‘assets’ wrongfully taken now exceed $750,000,000 and in the future will exceed a multiple of that number. They include a share in the profits from monies earned from the various SLMI ‘assets,’ including ‘Marvel’ movies – ‘X-Men,’ ‘Spider Man 1, 2 and 3,’ ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ ‘Fantastic Four,’ ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Daredevil’) as well as a share in the profits from additional assets.”
Plaintiffs demand “not less than $750 million.” They are represented by Martin Garbus.