NEW YORK, NY – Several real-life superheroes claiming to be the inspiration for years of Marvel Comics work are seeking $750 million in back pay from Stan Lee.
Among the superheroes appearing in court were some of the staples of New York’s crime-fighting team including Captain Captain, The Scarlet Whip, and ElectoBlue.
While it has never been made public before, it has long been rumored that Stan Lee and Marvel Entertainment based their characters on real-life superheroes. The defendants of the lawsuit filed today claim to have contracts signed by Lee nearly 50 years ago giving him the rights to adapt their identities in exchange for hefty royalties.
Captain Captain, who has recently begun referring to himself as “A Fantastic Four of One” spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, “We aren’t greedy and we aren’t whiners. We protect this city from evil, from crime, and from terror. All we ask is to be appreciated, and when appropriate, for 750 million dollars in backpay.”
Claiming to be the inspiration for all four members of Lee’s Fantastic Four characters, reporters asked Captain Captain how he could be owed backpay when the two Fantastic Four movies were resounding flops at the box office.
2004-2008 were the most successful years in the history of Marvel Entertainment as films based on X-Men, Iron Man, and Spiderman earned hundreds of millions of dollars each domestically and internationally. The defendants claim their timing is unrelated to recent successes.
Lee has previously admitted to basing some of his characters on real-life superheroes, although he has said he made significant enough changes as to avoid paying royalties.
“Captain Captain is an American hero and a vital part of New York’s crime fighting team, but the Fantastic Four he is not,” Lee said in a prepared statement through his spokeswoman. “I collaborated with him in the 80s on a storyline highlighting his years of achievement that featured cameos from A-List characters such as Wolverine and The Incredible Hulk.”
“For this series, and for other work, Captain Captain was paid appropriately. Some might say inappropriately high due to the lack of interest. What I won’t do, though, is pay royalties off of someone else’s successes because Captain Captain is looking to bolster a retirement account or ElectroBlue needs to pay off gambling debts.”