Stan Lee

Fans Upset as Somehow-Still-Active Stan Lee Twitter Account Pushes NFTs

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After a weekend of fun NFT news (like this clip of sweet Keanu Reeves doing something out of character by laughing at something) and terrible NFT news (like McDonald’s McRib NFT project with a recorded racial slur), Monday was really going to be a coin flip. Turns out it was same ol’ nonsense upon the news that a superhero co-created by Stan Lee about a decade ago was heading a large NFT collection.

In case you were wondering “How is it that someone is frequently tweeting from the account of a dead man?” I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. There is a whole saga behind the use of Stan Lee’s likeness, legacy, and more in projects (including tweets) that he never approved because that legacy (including his Twitter) is worth a lot of money. However, in the end, the Twitter account came under full ownership of POW! Entertainment.

The people’s reactions

Currently sitting at about 11,200 likes, 1,200 retweets, 15,000 (mostly negative comments), and 22,400 quote tweets (with commentary), it’s safe to say that the people are not happy, and this got ratio’d to hell and back. NFTs’ impact on the art economy, conversations on climate change, the phrasing of this tweet, and the fact that every day someone learns that a dead icon’s Twitter account is still active didn’t help the situation at all.

Every upset really came and left with one or more of these reasons.

Comic writer Danny Lore expressed frustration that, at bare minimum, this wasn’t used in a way that will benefit people in need—nope, just to make money in what many working artists are calling a scam.

Even the written word itself had some words for this tweet.

Marketing ✨diversity✨

I value everything Stan Lee did for comics and more, but just because Stan Lee developed his first Indian superhero doesn’t mean that this was the first Indian superhero or even the first one developed under Marvel (FYI, all indications show this was a separate venture with Graphic India). That seems to be lost in the tweet and the NFT website.

While Orange Comet (the website linked in the tweet) acknowledges Sharad Devarajan as the co-creator of Raju Rai (Chakra the Invincible), they omitted this information from the tweet. Also, throughout that page, there are three-plus visualizations of Lee (mostly through embedded video, but also through NFTs with Lee’s face) but no image of Devarajan or the comic artist Jeevan J. Kang (only named once).

Speaking of artists, the NFT art that is the special variant cover has no artist name attached to it at all, on the website or in the tweet. Capital “D” Diversity used as a marking technique is not new (and worth its own conversation), but boy does this sound like something that came out 30, 50, 60 years ago.

This account loves to do this, though, even when the tweet is not about NFTs.

Climate Change

While the site addresses the environmental impact of cryptocurrency and NFTs (at the very bottom) and pledges to handle it in a sustainable way with renewable energy sources, I remain skeptical for a number of reasons. Namely, the climate-friendly talk in the NFT arena is all coming from the marketing side isn’t backed by any regulation. No neutral regulatory committee, board, or anything made up of unbiased experts is giving the thumbs up on this. It’s more of a “trust us,” like much else of NFTs.

Additionally, Orange Comet (and other “green” NFTs) promote carbon neutrality, but that’s too broad of a concept to mean anything. For example, if I run a business entirely by coal but pay for something that is carbon negative (like habitat restoration or carbon capture), then with enough money, I am just doing whatever I want. This is nobler, I guess, than just running straight on coal, but also, time is running out and we’re more than skeptical.

Also, with India and South Asia more generally being some of the most densely populated regions in the world (and only growing), plus the ever rapid effects of climate change, these communities that Orange Comet is seeking to champion through the Chakraverse and alongside India Graphic are among the most vulnerable to climate impacts. India has 1.3 billion people (a slightly lower population than China’s and four times the United States’) and another growing industry that is so energy-intensive, that also looks like a scam, isn’t helping anyone.

(via Twitter, image: Marvel Entertainment and Disney.)

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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.