San Diego Comic-Con will soon be crawling with dozens of characters created by Stan Lee, but ahead of the convention, the comic book legend is unveiling his latest creation.
The first episode of Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders is now streaming, with The Hollywood Reporter debuting the animated series starring Lee and centering on a group of seven aliens he must train to become a superhero team. A new episode will premiere daily through Friday at thr.com/cosmic.
"The Hollywood Reporter is thrilled to celebrate Stan Lee's uncanny, amazing and incredible accomplishments of the course of a momentous career, which has not yet found its peak," says Janice Min, chief creative officer and co-president of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group. "With Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders, fans will get access to the mind of a real-life creative superhero in Stan Lee. Bringing this series to fans around the world, THR will help honor the trailblazing creative contributions and visionary leadership Stan Lee has given to entertainment."
The series is produced by Lee's POW! Entertainment, in partnership with THR and global brand management company Genius Brands International.
"I can't wait to bestow upon the world one of our latest creations, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders," says Lee. "Celebrating 75 years in the entertainment business is staggering enough, and as if this wasn't exciting enough, we've joined forces with my friends at The Hollywood Reporter and Genius Brands International so you don't want to miss out on this event!"
While Lee pioneered the idea of the flawed superhero in the 1960s with characters like Spider-Man and The X-Men, Cosmic Crusaders takes that idea a whole new level. It's edgy, aimed at adults and features protagonists who don't necessarily want to do the right thing.
"They are all fish out of water, and yet each of them, little by little, has some aspect about them that makes you want to root for them," says Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza, who wrote the animated series based on a concept by Lee. "You can cheer these guys on even though you don't necessarily want to depend on them to save you in a fire. They may save you, but they'll burn the whole house down."
Nicieza says Lee was very hands on during the writing of the series, sending copious script notes, particularly about his character, a heightened version of himself, who at times in the series is more concerned with fame and fortune than saving the world.
On Thursday, a virtual reality component to the series will launch from Legend VR, which will allow fans to watch the series along with Lee in his living room (stay tuned to Heat Vision for more details on that). That innovative idea came out of a conversation with Lee about how to push the series even further into the cutting edge.
"Stan is in a class of his own. He is iconic. When I think of him, I think of a Walt Disney or somebody like that. He has so many amazing brands he has created over the years," says Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of GBI. "I tease him that he's Benjamin Button. He gets younger every year. He's witty, glib. He's articulate. If I send him an email at midnight, I'll get an email back at 12:02. He has an amazing energy and he's a real blessing and treasure to our industry."
The series comes as THR is poised to launch its Comic-Con issue, which includes THR's special salute, "Stan Lee: 75 Years in the Business."