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Stan Lee: 'I should have worried about creator rights'

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Legendary comic book creator Stan Lee

© PA Images / Denis Poroy/AP

Stan Lee has discussed his approach to comic creator rights.

The legendary writer revealed that he "never received any royalties" from the characters he created for Marvel Comics.

"I've never been one of these people who worries about [that]," Lee told Grantland. "I should have been. I'd be wealthy now, if I had been.

"I always felt the publisher was the guy investing all his money, and I was working for the publisher, and whatever I did belonged to him. That was the way it was. And I was always treated well, I got a good salary. I was not a businessman.

Stan Lee poses for a portrait at the LMT Music Lodge
"I haven't had reason to think about it that much," Lee continued. "I think, if somebody creates something, and it becomes highly successful, whoever is reaping the rewards should let the person [who] created it share in it, certainly. But so much of it is - it goes beyond creating. A lot of people put something together, and nobody really knows who created it, they're just working on it, y'know?

"But little by little, the artists and the writers now are a different breed than they were, and most of them, if they create anything new, they insist that they be part owners of it. Because they know what happened to Siegel and Shuster, and to me, and to people like that.

"I don't think it's a problem anymore. They make much more money than they used to make, when I was there. Proportionately."

Lee further explained: "Everybody thought that I was the only one that was getting paid off, but I never received any royalties from the characters. I made a good living, because I was the editor, the art director and the head writer.

Stan Lee
"So I got a nice salary. That was all I got. I was a salaried guy. But it was a good salary. And I was happy."

Lee pointed to the example of Batman creator Bob Kane, who demanded ownership of the character from the beginning.

The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man creator recently questioned why Avengers co-creator Jack Kirby should be credited in Marvel Studios' movie adaptation.

It was later revealed that, contrary to rumours, Kirby would be credited in the film.

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