Stan Lee’s official Twitter account is promoting a NFT collection featuring the deceased comics creator himself, and it’s not going well.
Lee, who is responsible for many of the Marvel super heroes that dominate the box office today, died in 2018. But that didn’t stop his Twitter account from announcing it was turning one of his creations, and himself, into an NFT collection. People didn’t react kindly to the news of their dead hero’s social media account selling JPEGs, and the tweet currently has 22,600 quote-tweets mostly expressing outrage.
“From championing diversity to embracing new tech, Stan was 1 step ahead of the curve,” the tweet said. “To honor his innovative spirit, Stan's 1st Indian hero, Chakra The Invincible, debuts in his own NFT (digital art) collection from 7:30pm PT 12/27-12pm PT 12/29!”
The internet’s response was swift and brutal. “The verb 'defile' was first recorded in 1275–1325, and comes from the Old French word 'defouler,' meaning ‘to trample on, violate,’ the official Twitter account of Dictionary.com said in response.
“NFTs shouldn't be done this way. This is terrible,” said the official Twitter account for Crazy Frog, which is itself embroiled in a contentious quagmire over its own NFT collection.
Everyone disliked it.
The Chakraverse NFT collection is the creation of the NFT studio Orange Comet in collaboration with Chakra’s co-creators and Lee’s POW! Entertainment. “We are driven by a single focus,” Orange Comet’s website said. “Making stuff that truly matters.”
“The Chakraverse Collection No. 1 will consist of an extremely limited collection of 6,880 unique generative art pieces based on characters from the graphic novel,” Orange Comet’s website said. “Each of these NFTs are ONE OF A KIND and embrace Stan Lee’s original characters while reimagining them exclusively for this NFT collection.”
Orange Comet CEO Dave Broome is excited about the launch. “It was a privilege to work with Sharad and POW! Entertainment to reimagine Chakra and to capture the spirit of their original vision,” he told Motherboard. “We are excited to share our new animation with all Stan Lee fans from the United States to India.”
Chakra: The Invincible is an Indian superhero Lee created in collaboration with Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra. Chakra has appeared as a character in comic books, an animated TV show, and several films. "Stan Lee was a close mentor and friend. Working with him to create Chakra the Invincible was one of the greatest joys in my life,” Devarajan told Motherboard. “We started work on the character as early as 2009 and eventually launched him in 2012 in the first comic. Our mission with Chakra was to create an Indian character that would transcend countries and cultures, bringing together ideas from east and west by speaking in the primal language of human imagination."
Customers looking to score an NFT can’t pick and choose which art they get. “These NFTs will be placed in a ‘Loot Box’, wherein every buyer of the box gets a random Chakra character art piece from the NFT collection.” Loot boxes and NFTs, together at last.
Worse, some of the NFTs included in the preview of the collection are a grinning Stan Lee in various costumes. As many critics pointed out, it’s hard to imagine a more disrespectful use of the man’s image after his death. The move is especially grotesque when you consider Lee’s final years were marked by elder abuse accusations and a business partner who allegedly stole blood from him and used it to sign comics in his name and sell them at auction.