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COMICS & FILM

Genius Brands Signs Long-Term Deal with Marvel Studios to License the Likeness of Stan Lee

By Allison Watkinson

TLL Reporter

Stan Lee Universe has signed a 20-year deal to license the name and likeness of Stan Lee to Marvel Studios and Disney for global use in media and experiences.

Stan Lee Universe is a joint venture between Pow! Entertainment and Genius Brands International that is focused on maintaining and expanding Stan Lee’s legacy through licensing deals and new content.

Genius Brands is a global kids media company that acquired exclusive worldwide rights to use Stan Lee’s name, physical likeness and signature from POW! Entertainment in 2020.

“We are proud to be the stewards of the incredibly valuable rights to Stan Lee’s name, likeness, merchandise, and intellectual property brand,” said Andy Heyward, Chairman and CEO of Genius Brands.

“And, there is no better place than Marvel and Disney where Stan should be for his movies and theme park experiences,” Heyward continued.

“As we enter the centennial year of Stan’s birthday, December 28, 2022, we are thrilled to see his memory and legacy will continue to delight fans through this new long-term agreement with Marvel.”

Founded in 2001, Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment is a multimedia entertainment production company created by the late comic book creator Stan Lee and his business partner, Gill Champion.

“As Stan’s longtime business partner and friend, I’m looking forward to commemorating his work in this new way,” said Gill Champion, President of POW! Entertainment.

“Building a connection with his fans is important to us and it’s a privilege to get to do that on his behalf.”

Under the terms of the deal, Marvel Studios has acquired exclusive rights to use Stan Lee’s name, voice, likeness and signature in movies and television projects. The studio has also acquired the rights to use images, existing footage, and existing audio recordings that feature Stan Lee.

As part of the licensing deal, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products has received exclusive rights to use Stan Lee’s name, voice, likeness and signature in theme parks, water parks, cruise lines and in-park merchandise.

Stan Lee is a prolific comic creator who became a household name through his iconic Marvel universe. Lee went on to become Marvel’s editorial director and publisher in 1972, and was eventually named chairman emeritus.

Lee also appeared in some of the most popular films of all time. His well-known cameos in Marvel films began in the 1989 telefilm The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. After the release of X-Men in 2000, he appeared in nearly every Marvel film and television project until his passing in 2018.

Among Stan’s many awards is the National Medal of Arts, awarded by President Bush in 2008, and the Disney Legends Award, received in 2017. He was also inducted into the comic industry’s Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

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