The famed 79-year-old comic book artist, who created such superheroes as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and Daredevil, filed a lawsuit against Marvel Enterprises Inc. Tuesday, Reuters reports. Lee claims the company has neglected his rights and reneged on promises to pay him a cut of the profits from the successful movies and television shows based on his characters.
According to Reuters, the suit alleges that despite all the acclaim for his characters, the defendants "embarked upon a shameful scheme to keep Mr. Lee from participating in the commercial success of his creations. In so doing, the defendants have trampled upon Mr. Lee's rights--particularly the profit sharing commitment which they made to Mr. Lee which entitled him to share in the profits derived from the Marvel superhero characters," the suit said.
Marvel responded in a statement, "Mr. Lee has made contributions to Marvel and the comic book industry in the past, for which he continues to be well compensated. [We] believe it is in full compliance with, and current on all payments due under, the terms of Mr. Lee's employment agreement and will continue to be so in the future."
Lee has been employed by Marvel and their predecessors since 1939, when he was hired as an office errand boy. Reuters reports the suit goes on to say, "During these many years, while defendants' business was built on the wings of his creations, Mr. Lee placed his trust and confidence in defendants--ultimately entering into a profit sharing venture with defendants for the exploitation of his creations."
Lee claims under this agreement, he was to be paid 10 percent of profits from any film and television production using his characters and that Marvel has already received "enormous windfalls" from X-Men and Spider-Man films and related merchandise.