Wham! Bam! ... doubleclick! Stan Lee,
the creator of comic book superhero Spider-Man, is taking to the
|Marvel Comics Chairman Stan Lee chats with Spidey
The 76-year-old founder of Marvel Comics has dreamed up a
team of Internet superheroes that will bust onto computer
screens this summer. They are his first new characters in 30
Lee, who created figures like The X-Men, Incredible Hulk and
Fantastic Four, has teamed with Web design company Organic to
build a comic book site known as Stanlee.net. The Internet site
is part of Stan Lee Media Inc., a company that intends to cast
Lee's new characters in electronic games, movies and cartoons.
The six or seven new superheroes will each come from
different parts of the globe. The characters, which include an
Egyptian superhero, derive their powers from the Internet.
"The Internet is going to be the biggest thing in the
world," Lee said, with his charismatic grin and swept back
mane. "Here is a chance to tell new stories."
Lee helped found Marvel, the world's largest comic book
publisher, in 1961 and has been creating comics since 1940. In
the last 30 years he says he has filled three filing cabinets
with ideas for superheroes.
Lee's Internet venture will for the first time afford him
the chance to own his creations. Marvel Enterprises Inc. owns
the rights to many of his other characters. Marvel emerged from
bankruptcy in Oct. 1998, as part of Toy Biz Inc.
Lee's Internet hub, located at http://www.stanlee.net, will
be aimed at 10- to 20-year-olds and will offer free Web pages,
e-mail, games and areas to buy, sell and trade comics and
Stan Lee Media intends to become a public bulletin-board
company within the next six months.
Lee, whose name and image have appeared in an estimated two
billion comic books in more than 100 countries, said his new
superheroes will have similar traits to those he created three
But whereas characters such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four
defended us from villains with atomic weapons, Lee's new
Internet heroes are more likely to protect us from germ warfare
Lee's original characters are still hugely popular. There
are more than two million pages on Internet community GeoCities
dedicated to Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk. Lee himself is
something of a superhero. He draws crowds of thousands at comic
book conventions around the world.
Lee said his new characters can be just as popular.
"People are interested in interesting, colorful people and
it was that way in 1492 and it'll be that way in the Year
3000," he said.
Stanlee.net will join a range of online comic offerings that
include Marvel online http://www.marvel.com and a host of
sites dedicated to Japanese "anime" cartoons, a type of
animated cartoon. Marvel online offers subscriptions, games and
Peter Paul, co-founder of Stan Lee Media, expects the "Stan
Lee" name to lift Stanlee.net above the fray.
"Stan is a unique global brand," said Paul, who Lee
describes as "the brains" behind Stan Lee Media.
Lee said that for the second time in his life he feels like
he is in at the ground floor of something big.
"When I started comics it was really a brand new
industry," he said. "It's like I have a second chance to do