Stan Lee partners with Virgin Comics for superhero universe

Mumbai: Co-creator of Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man and the Marvel Comics Universe of superhero characters Stan Lee announced he will be forming a new partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Comics.

Lee is one of the most influential figures in popular culture and the character entertainment industry, having created characters that generate billions of dollars in sales from comics, films, animation, merchandise and games. In his new partnership with Virgin, Stan Lee will return to comic books as both a writer and editor, to oversee the creation of an entirely new universe of superhero characters.

Lee said, "I can’t wait to start pitting my newest, most exciting superheroes against comicdom’s most powerful, diabolical super villains and then have the fun of tossing them into far-out, thrill-a-minute adventures to challenge the readers’ imagination!"

"Stan Lee is a cultural icon and we welcome him to his new home, Virgin Comics, for this bold new chapter in his great legacy," said Virgin Group president and founder Sir Richard Branson.

"As a creator, storyteller and visionary, Stan Lee has created characters that have inspired the imaginations of generations of audiences around the world and spoke to the core of humanity, transcending race, religion and culture" said Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan.

"Stan Lee is unquestionably one of history’s greatest story-tellers. To collaborate with him, and have him guide and nurture artists and writers through Virgin Comics will be one of the legacies of this company," added Virgin Comics chief creative officer Gotham Chopra.

POW! president and COO Gill Champion said, "The arrangement with Virgin strengthens our position as a leader in creating new high concept superheroes for today’s fans. Comic Books and other means of new media distribution are a great way to introduce our properties."

The new universe will be unveiled in early 2009 and will initially be launched as a series of ten graphic novels linked into a series of online animated shorts. The story is intended to provide a seamless online and offline experience allowing audiences numerous entry points and engagement synergies as they immerse themselves into this universe of heroes.