The deal with Camsing went through when Lee's wife of nearly 70 years, Joan Lee, was dying, say his lawyers, and the comics writer was "in a state of total devastation".
According to a complaint filed in the L.A. County Superior Court, Lee was asked by his business partners to sign a non-exclusive license with POW! in order to use his name and likeness for creative endeavours.
"Lee does not recall anyone reading the Illegitimate Document to him, and, due to his advanced macular degeneration, he could not have read it himself", writes attorney Adam Grant in the complaint. In April, the Hollywood Reporter published a notarised document dated 13 February 2018 and purportedly signed by Lee, that contained claims his daughter had been verbally abusive to him.
The suit "seeks damages in excess of $1 billion".
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The suit suggests that Duffy, Champion or POW! either forged Lee's signature, lifted it from another document or induced him to sign it by telling him it was something else. It accuses them of brokering the deal to sell POW! while Stan "was in a state of total devastation" over his ailing wife and that they "never disclosed the actual terms of the deal to Lee before closing it". Stan Lee claims that the company conspired to steal his identity during a fraudulent transaction with a Chinese business past year. "Inc. the exclusive use of Lee's identity, name, image, and likeness ... and each of them knew that their objective was unlawful and they meant to aid each other in achieving that unlawful objective". "[Entertainment]. He gave me a check as a thank-you". The Marvel Comics icon later called on his fans to "protect and defend" him in a message where he also expressed how grateful he is to have gained back control of his Twitter account.
The prolific comic book creator is embroiled in a number of legal battles, this just being the latest in a tangle of issues that wouldn't be out of place in one of his own celebrated stories. He also filed suit last month against his former publicist and business manager Jerardo Olivarez, whom Lee claims stole $1.4 million.
"I appreciate everything you say and do. You guys are my true superheros", posted his account recently.
On the day of the premiere, news broke of a lawsuit in which Lee is accused of sexual misconduct by a massage therapist who says he acted inappropriately with her during two separate sessions.