New Stan Lee NFT collection condemned by comic book fans

Stan Lee and an NFT bearing his likeness
The items go on sale on what would be the legend's 99th birthday. Photo credit: Getty Images / Orange Comet

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity this year with celebrities, sportspeople, artists and sundry jumping on the bandwagon.

However the latest celebrity collection has attracted more criticism than most as it's dedicated to late comic book legend and Marvel founder Stan Lee.

The criticism came after the official Stan Lee Twitter account posted about the new collection, which is due to go on sale on what would have been his 99th birthday.

"From championing diversity to embracing new tech, Stan was one step ahead of the curve," it said.

"To honour his innovative spirit, Stan's first Indian hero, Chakra The Invincible, debuts in his own NFT (digital art) collection."

The tweet has been quote-tweeted over 23,000 times at the time of publishing, with the majority appearing angry that Lee's memory is being used in this way.

It follows concerns Lee was being ripped off and abused in his last few years of life. His former business manager was later charged with elder abuse, false imprisonment, forgery and fraud. 

He was accused of isolating Lee from friends and family so he could embezzle more than NZ$7.4 million worth of the comic book legend's assets.

One of the first to express displeasure was the Twitter account, which tweeted: "The verb 'defile' was first recorded in 1275-1325, and comes from the Old French word 'defouler', meaning "to trample on, violate"."

Others weren't quite as polite.

"To honour Stan Lee's advocacy for underrepresented marginalised people, we're shilling technology that drains finite resources and damages the environment, which will disproportionately harm underrepresented marginalised people," one wrote.

Another shared a story of the time Lee had hugged them at an event and how distasteful he found the NFTs.

"I wanna punch the person pissing on his grave, genuinely," they wrote.

Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag quoted a famous Star Wars line to show his displeasure.

"Millions of voices cried out in terror."

Chakra The Invincible was created by Lee in collaboration with Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra in 2012 and tells the story of Raju Rai, a young Indian student in Mumbai.

The character has gone on to appear in comic books, TV shows and movies.

While some of the NFTs contain a cartoon image of a young Indian man, others feature Lee himself wearing various different costumes.

Lee, who created or co-created many of the most famous Marvel characters, died aged 95 in 2018.