On the heels of NBCUniversal signing a 10-year deal with the NHL this spring, NBCU has taken an equity stake in Guardian Media Entertainment, the partnership between comic book icon Stan Lee and NHL Enterprises. In exchange, NBCU will provide promotional support worth multi-millions of dollars for The Guardian Project, the Stan Lee superhero franchise featuring 30 superheroes representing each NHL club. GME, which started off with comic books, a novel and merchandise, is in early discussions for development of a television series. Long-term plans include the creation of films, games, a theme park presence and global extensions.
Every time I write about yet another deal made by Stan Lee, the same thing happens. Fanboys groan that he’s selling out, or cashing suckers’ checks, or making egotistical moves. And he does it because he can. He is after all Stan Effin’ Lee whose Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, The Fantastic Four and Iron Man among other superheroes propelled Marvel Comics to superstardom. As a result, I can’t help but view this latest announcement from Stan today with even more cynicism. It’s actually inducing nausea in me.
He’s partnering with the National Hockey League and forming Guardian Media Entertainment to create the platform to launch:
Stan Lee’s vision for his latest superhero franchise, The Guardian Project, which will encompass the creation of 30 Guardians (one to represent each NHL team) as a new series of superheroes, with a creative concept that organically and authentically incorporates various NHL elements but is not set in the world of hockey. “I’ve always believed that every great plan starts with a great story,” says Mr. Lee. “In the creation of GME and its unique and unprecedented relationship with the NHL, I truly believe we have the perfect combination from which to launch 30 new superheroes and excite young fans around the globe.”
Created and developed by Stan Lee and Tony Chargin, EVP of GME Creative Affairs, and Jake Shapiro, each Guardian has been derived from its corresponding hockey team, complete with special powers representative of each team and city. These 30 Guardians will be unveiled together in