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Stan Lee, Marvel Comics Legend And Center Of Alleged Elder Abuse Scandal, Dies
Earlier this year, a series of blockbuster exposés shed light on his tumultuous business ties, particularly with manager Keya Morgan, who allegedly took advantage of Lee's age, as well as his allegedly fraught relationship with his only child, J.C. Lee.
Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic book and helped make billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, died Monday. He was 95.
Lee was declared dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to Kirk Schenck, an attorney for Lee's daughter, Joan Celia Lee, who mostly goes by her initials J.C.
As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book. He revived the industry in the 1960s by offering the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, even philosophy.
Earlier this year, police investigated whether or not Stan Lee has been a victim of elder abuse by his business manager and caretaker after Lee's attorney Tom Lallas filed a restraining order against Lee’s then-manager Keya Morgan (pictured, right). Morgan has been managing business and care for Lee, 95, since February, according to The Associated Press.
“Mr. Lee has a large estate worth over $50 million and therefore is vulnerable to financial predators,” Lallas wrote in the restraining order declaration.
The order claims Morgan, who, according to a lengthy October interview in the Daily Beast, is currently on probation, had been increasingly taking advantage of the age, impaired hearing and vision of the man who created iconic characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man and Black Panther. It also accuses Morgan of isolating Lee from his family and former business associates.
In addition to investigating Morgan for months, police had also issued an emergency order to keep Morgan from Lee before the restraining order was issued, according to a press release from Lallas, obtained by Oxygen.com.
Police said that Lee told them Morgan was helping him, but Lee also struggled to remember Morgan's name. Then, Lee posted a video to his Twitter account in which he stated that Morgan was his only partner and representative, “for the record.”
"Anybody else who claims to be my rep is just making that story up," Lee said in the clip.
Morgan retweeted that video.
That’s not the only case of alleged elder abuse. Lee filed a lawsuit against his former business associate Jerardo Olivarez in April following accusations he was moving money out of Lee’s bank account without permission and instructing a nurse to take copious amounts of blood from lee, which Olivarez then “stamped” onto Marvel comic books and sold for hundreds of dollars, according to a report by Deadline.
In an October interview, Lee also denied claims that J.C., his only child with his beloved wife Joan Lee, who died in 2017, abused him.
Bradley J. Herman, who was once Lee’s “business and asset manager,” alleged in an April exposé by The Hollywood Reporter that the daughter had been not only verbally abusive towards her parents in the past but also was spending vast sums of her father’s estate every month and, on at least one occasion, was physically abusive as well.
By July, Lee filed a restraining order against Morgan, who claimed it was "a witch-hunt by his daughter and her lawyer against me because she cannot stand the fact Stan likes me so much,” according to TMZ.com. He further threatened to “100% prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the allegations against me are false. The truth will come out.”
The restraining order was granted and in August it was determined that a restraining order against Morgan, be extended for another three years.
Lee is behind characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men, all of which were among his many creations that went on to become blockbuster film franchises. Recent projects he helped make possible range from the films "Black Panther" and "Doctor Strange" to such TV series as "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Additionally, Lee had a cameo in almost every film included in the Marvel Universe.
"I think everybody loves things that are bigger than life. ... I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups," he told AP in a 2006 interview. "We all grew up with giants and ogres and witches. Well, you get a little bit older and you're too old to read fairy tales. But I don't think you ever outgrow your love for those kind of things, things that are bigger than life and magical and very imaginative."
Lee considered the comic book medium an art form, and he was a prolific creator: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years.
"I wrote so many I don't even know. I wrote either hundreds or thousands of them," he told AP in the same interview.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[Photo: Getty Images]