ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.05 - AUGUST 2000

Adventurous Action Abounds on Stanlee.net

by Lee Dannacher

In a new and novel on-line domain, the legendary comics creator Stan 'The Man' Lee is gleefully at work launching a commanding cache of super-hero worlds. Go quickly to stanlee.net. Be ready for a lot of visually compelling, action-adventure magic -- timeless in appeal and timely in presentation to a whole new world of Netizens hungry for engaging episodic fare. Go for the adventures, the laughs, the games, the community...and other evolving "bits" that Lee's band of digital revolutionaries are developing into the most comprehensive, individually branded site on the Web today.

Stan Lee with many of his creations. © Stan Lee Media.

The Man
Over almost six decades with Marvel Comics, Stan Lee co-created a wealth of comic book icons including such super hits as Spider-Man, X-Men, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk...a host of classic characters who continue to roil across the 21st century's printed pages, television and feature screens. The international scope of these properties is extraordinary. More than 2 billion comic books bearing Lee's name have been published in close to100 countries in over 25 languages. More than 27 animated series based on his work are currently in worldwide syndication while a plethora of live-action films are in development, production or release by a selection of major theatrical studios.

Peter Paul. Courtesy of Stan Lee Media.

Time For a New Horizon
After serving as creator, editor and finally publisher of Marvel Enterprises, Stan Lee was freed from his lifetime contract when the beleaguered company was reorganizing its way out of bankruptcy in 1998. Aided by the forces of media innovator, producer and long time friend Peter Paul, Lee was able to negotiate a far more limited role in Marvel's future, where he remains as Chairman Emeritus of Marvel Media. Freshly armed with the rights to his own name, likeness and "brand," he and Paul then co-founded Stan Lee Media as an Internet based, multi-media company. Lee began immediately focusing the lion's share of his attention on creating his first new characters in 25 years. Paul, meanwhile, set about strategizing unique pathways across all new and traditional media for the production, marketing and licensing of Lee's recognized brand of entertainment. They've both been very busy, indeed.

The 7th Portal heroes. © Stan Lee Media.

Let's Set The Stage
Paralleling the fast-expanding universe of their action packed programming, Stan Lee Media (SLM) made its trading debut on Wall Street in August of 1999. A medley of partnerships and alliances ensued: Warner Bros.' Acme City site began offering free 20 megabyte homepages to every Stan Lee fan worldwide; Macromedia acquired a $5 million equity stake in the fledging company and arranged exclusive distribution for five original series to premiere on its heavily trafficked shockwave.com; IBM stepped up to sponsor SLM's Encino, California state-of-the-art studios -- outfitting the burgeoning facility with its high-end Intellistations for creation of all new digital works; and Iwerks Entertainment signed on to pioneer the application of Lee's new super hero franchises to Iwerks' ride simulations, theme park attractions and giant screen destinations. Additional alliances have been forged with Next Planet Over for on-line retailing and distribution of comic books, eCommerical for direct marketing campaigns and other outsourcing deals with WhatsHotNow.com, Cyberworld and PentaFour Software -- all working in tandem as Stan Lee Media establishes itself as an international leader in today's original entertainment space.

Ken Williams. Courtesy of Stan Lee Media.

Yeah, But Who Wants To Work With Us?
SLM now boasts over 160 top-notch industry players and creatives, all fueling its forward journey. Peter Paul explains it well, saying, "Stan has attracted the best array of talent ever assembled for the Internet because he's Stan Lee and he's had an impact on most of the people in the creative community today." Paul describes their company as "a true 'convergence studio' with people representing each disciplined media talent. So it's truly a mixture of cultures — from analog and digital to Internet, from television and films to Flash." To name but a few of their team: Ken Williams, 18 year veteran of Sony Pictures Entertainment, is now President and CEO; Stephen Brain, recognized as establishing the Fox Animation Studios, is now Exec VP of Production, charged with converging SLM's diverse media talents; George Hamilton, well-known actor and businessman, signed on as President of Global Branded Entertainment, a new division responsible for signing internationally recognized talent as well as other innovative endeavors; and Jamie Wilkinson is onboard as Exec VP, Internet Strategy, after spending the past three years fashioning Disney Online production.

 

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Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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