Stan Lee, the 95-year-old writer, editor and publisher, is widely known to Chinese moviegoers and comic readers as “the Father of Marvel,” the legendary co-creator of beloved characters such as Capital America, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, and many more. Now, Lee’s singular creative universe is heading to Shanghai.
The announcement was made last week by Camsing International Holding Limited, a Chinese pan-entertainment IP company that acquired POW! Entertainment — a media production company co-founded by Lee that owns hundreds of pieces of intellectual property from his oeuvre — in May last year.
At a July 12 press conference for “Stan Lee (Shanghai) Comic Universe“, the Chinese company revealed that the first Stan Lee-themed comic convention in China will be held from October 1-3 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center.
Exhibitors at the convention will come from different industries covering comics and animation, film and entertainment, toys, e-sports, and crossover fashion. Beside exclusive events, “meet the fans” autograph signings, cosplay contests, and the other trappings of your standard comic convention, there will also be an electronic music festival and an e-sports gaming tournament at this year’s inaugural edition.
According to Chinese entertainment outlet Mtime, the organizers say they also have a bigger goal in mind: “To find the next Stan Lee.”
Back in 2012, Lee and POW! Entertainment began a partnership with LA’s Comic-Con, which was renamed first as Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, and later Stan Lee’s LA Comic-Con — the event attracted 90,000 attendees last year. However, the LA convention has changed its name again recently, and ended its collaboration with Stan Lee earlier in 2018.
This might be a sign that Lee and POW! will focus more on the Asian market, especially as a growing Chinese fanbase has become increasingly familiar with him and the big-screen superheroes he helped create. Fans of the Marvel Universe hoping to see the Avengers in person might disappointed, however: Marvel’s IP has been owned by Disney since the latter’s purchase of the former in 2009. (Stan Lee fought for, and lost, a claim for partial ownership in 2013. Find a detailed breakdown of the claims involved in this Quora post.)
Though we’re not likely to see Captain America or Iron Man in Shanghai this October, we can expect POW! and Lee to incorporate “more Chinese elements in the future,” utilizing Camsing’s expertise in IP licensing, merchandising and marketing. Hopefully we’ll see some Chinese-related comics and films spring from Stan Lee’s pen before too long.
Earlier this week, POW! debuted a new serial comic, Stan Lee’s Work Force, which will be published both on Stan Lee Studio’s official Weibo account and Lee’s personal website. The artist’s last line to his superheroes at the end of the first installment might give some insight into his recent business decisions: “How do you expect me to dream up iconic new characters with all this racket going on out here!? I’m hiring a new Office Manager!”
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