The adult animated series, co-produced with Genius Brands International and written by 'Deadpool' co-creator Fabian Nicieza based on a concept by Lee, marks the first show to debut on THR.com, with the premiere episode in virtual reality.
Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment has partnered with The Hollywood Reporter and global brand management company Genius Brands International on the launch of a new property, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders.
The launch of the new animated series, aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds, coincides with THR's special salute "Stan Lee: 75 Years in the Business" in the upcoming Comic-Con issue. The announcement was made jointly Tuesday by Gill Champion, CEO and president of POW! Entertainment; The Hollywood Reporter's Entertainment Group president/chief creative officer Janice Min; and Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of GBI.
A co-production of POW! Entertainment, GBI and THR, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders was written by Fabian Nicieza (co-creator of Deadpool) based on a concept by Lee, who will edit and voice himself as one of the series' main characters. Superstar comic artist Todd McFarlane is creating the cover graphics for THR's special issue on Lee.
The show follows Lee, who, having come down with a case of writer's block, meets seven aliens who have crash-landed on Earth. Each of the aliens has superpowers; however, they can only use their powers in their homeland. On the verge of being captured by "the men in white coats," Lee offers the aliens sanctuary and puts them through intensive superhero immersion training, helping them learn how to access and use their powers on Earth.
The first four episodes will premiere exclusively on THR.com, with one episode airing each day during Comic-Con International 2016. The debut episode will be presented in virtual reality, with smartphone VR viewers to be handed out at Comic-Con.
Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders is the first series to launch on THR.com and will be promoted through THR's YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. THR also will collaborate with distribution partners on promoting the premiere episodes on THR.com and the remaining 22 episodes of the series. The animated series will then move to full global distribution through GBI.
The global consumer products program will be introduced by GBI at Licensing Expo 2016, beginning Tuesday. The company has already secured national retailer Hot Topic to launch the brand under a direct-to-retail apparel and accessories program in stores and online in conjunction with the webisode launch at San Diego Comic-Con.
"I can't wait to bestow upon the world one of our latest creations, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders," said Lee. "And as if this wasn't exciting enough, we've joined forces with the creative teams at The Hollywood Reporter and Genius Brands, so you can guarantee this will be an unforgettable event that you won't want to miss!"
Added Min: "The Hollywood Reporter is thrilled to collaborate with Genius Brands and POW! Entertainment to celebrate Stan Lee's amazing accomplishments and longevity with the premiere of his latest animated series, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders, on THR.com during Comic-Con International. Having that exclusive airing coincide with a special feature on Stan, the superhero of comic creators, within the pages of our special Comic-Con edition of THR is so perfect. Nobody comes close to Stan's creative prolificacy, and the introduction of this new series is the ideal opportunity for the industry and THR to honor Stan and his trailblazing contributions as a one-of-a-kind visionary."
Said Heyward: "Stan Lee is a true industry icon. From his Marvel superheroes like Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, the X-Men, Hulk, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, to the latest characters in Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders, he continues to stimulate our imaginations with characters and stories that are as indelible and relevant today as they were 50 years ago and will be 50 years from now. We are honored to partner with Stan's POW! Entertainment on producing his latest project and look forward to further collaborations as we celebrate this legendary man and his remarkable body of work."
The news come on the heels of THR winning a 2016 Webby Award for best online film and video in the entertainment category. THR also was honored with the American Society of Magazine Editors' National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the Special Interest category in 2015 and 2016 in addition to a 2015 and 2016 ASME National Magazine Award nomination for Magazine of the Year and a Gerald Loeb Award nomination for its Studio Chiefs Roundtable.
In 2014, THR won a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for The Hollywood Reporter in Focus: The Wolf of Wall Street. The Hollywood Reporter and Sundance TV partnered in 2015 to co-produce and broadcast Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter, an original nonfiction series featuring panels with awards contenders.
The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group reaches more than 24 million U.S. users a month online, with a social footprint of about 15 million, ranking No. 5 among comScore entertainment-news properties.