Marvel's Not Enough - Disney Also Acquires Stake In Stan Lee's POW

Batman and Super Mario aren't the only icons to have their own POW!

Apparently an acronym for Purveyors of Wonder, Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment are an output for "new characters and franchises" created by The Man in recent years. At the same time as locking up their acquisition of Marvel this past Thursday, the Disney board also agreed to take on 10% of POW! shares. Seems that they just can't get enough of that four-colour stuff.

So what do POW! have to offer? Officially, they have "20 new franchise characters in active stages of development and another 40 to be introduced". So far, we only have significant details of a small handful.

The Hollywood Reporter reveal only "lighthearted mystery tale Nick Ratchett, action-adventure project Blaze and one called Tigress." Go digging at the POW! site and there's some more info.

Indeed, when it comes to Tigress, Nick Ratchett and Blaze the site explicitly mentions Disney, probably as a result of the First Look deal that already existed between the two companies:

Blaze - Disney – writer Gary Goldman

Nick Ratchett - Disney - writers Douglas Cook & David WeisbergTigress- Disney – writer Zoe Green.

I'm wasn't sure if this is the Big Trouble in Little China Gary Goldman or the Titan AE Gary Goldman, but an old Variety story indicates that it is the former.

Nick Ratchett is a kind of cybertised Jekyll and Hyde story in which a police officer becomes possessed by a shoot-first, ask-questions-later cop character from a videogame. According to that Variety story, Richard La Gravenese was attached to direct back in early '08.

Aside from these live action films, the POW! site mentions some other projects of possible interest, including an animated feature film called Leprechauns, a live action/animation combo picture called Legends, and some live action TV series called Hero, Seekers and Vampirates. What's the betting that Hero, if it ever sees the light of day, undergoes a name change?

Peter reported on Hero back in November '08:

I understand that Stan Lee has created some of the biggest superheroes of all time, but it seems to me that he has run out of good ideas. In recent years Lee's contributions have included a risque animated superhero tv series Stripperella, POW Entertainment direct-to-dvd animated movies Mosaic and The Condor, an upcoming Playboy playmate superhero tv show, and the Who Wants to be a Superhero reality show (which is actually a guilty pleasure). Point is, when I here that Stan Lee is involved in a new project, I'm not expecting the next Spider-Man.

Showtime is teaming with Lee to develop an hour long television project based on Perry Moore's book Hero, about the life of a gay superhero. I'm not against the idea of a gay superhero, Robert Smigel's The Ambiguously Gay Duo is one of the funniest shorts to be shown during Saturday Night Live. But I'm guessing that the tv series will just aim for sensationalistic instead of good.

I'll opt for a less pessimistic take, for balance if nothing else. Bring it on, POW! Let's see what you're made of. Good shows about gay lead characters are rare enough, even before they start dressing in tights and capes.

We could speculate as to why Disney took that 10% stake in POW! and the possible reasons are many and varied. Chances are, however, they just sniffed a profit on the horizon. Your guess is as good as mine as to which, if any, of these projects will eventually pay dividends.