The company entered into an agreement with Archie Comics (Archie, Betty & Veronica, Sabrina, Josie and the Pussycats) to publish a full range of comic books and original graphic novels based on new characters from the post-Marvel Stan Lee Universe, starting with Superhero Kindergarten.
“It is only fitting that the comic book roots of Stan Lee, which began with Marvel, give birth to the next generation of great Stan Lee properties,” says Genius Brands CEO and Chairman, Andy Heyward. “I have long felt that the greatest Stan Lee characters and stories have yet to be told, and the next Marvel has yet to be built. That is Stan Lee Universe. Archie Comics are everywhere. You can’t go to a supermarket checkout stand and not see them, and soon that will be the same with Stan Lee Universe. Under the leadership of Jon Goldwater, shows like Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina have become huge hits. Jon understands better than anyone the unique value of Stan Lee and his ideas. There is no better publishing partner than Archie to bring Stan Lee Universe comics to market.”
Superhero Kindergarten will extend the brand that is currently in production as an animated series for Amazon Prime with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring and executive producing.
Michael E. Uslan, who famously led a decade-long effort to bring Tim Burton’s Batman to theaters in 1989 will oversee the development of the Stan Lee Universe across film and TV development. For more than 30 years, Uslan has produced every Batman film, including Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy, Todd Phillips’ Joker, and Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. He has written for comics and was a close friend of Lee. He will work with his son, David Uslan, on the project.
“In my world, there is no bigger honor than to be entrusted to carry the mantle of Stan Lee forward,” says Uslan. “This is taking the Olympic torch on the final leg up Mt. Olympus. We look forward to bringing the most talented writers and artists in our field to the next generation of Stan Lee creations.”
Last year, in celebration of Batman’s 80th anniversary, Uslan spoke with our sister publication, the Pop Insider, and shared insight into Lee’s concept that it’s not the heroes that make a great story, but the villains.
“I go to my dear friend, mentor, and idol, Stan Lee,” Uslan said. “What he often told me was that ‘the greatest, and most long-lasting, superheroes are the ones with the greatest supervillains. Ultimately, it’s the supervillains that define the superheroes.’ I really do believe that.”
Stan Lee Universe is a joint venture between Genius Brands and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, managed by Genius.