RI Comic Con, Hasbro Spar Over Marvel Comics Icon Stan Lee’s “Last New England Appearance”

Thursday, August 10, 2017


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94-year-old Stan Lee, the focus of the battle

Last November’s Rhode Island Comic Con was billed as the last time Stan Lee would be appearing at an event in New England — ever. Lee, the creator of Spiderman, is a now-94-year-old superstar. Fans waited for hours in line to pay $100 or more for an autograph or a photo of the legendary comic book creator and the once-editor of Marvel Comics, believing this was to be his "last time" in New England.

Now, Hasbro -- the third largest toymaker in the world with revenues of approximately $4.45 billion -- is launching a rival event called HASCON.  Featured at the event?  Stan Lee. 

Both RI Comic Con and Hasbro's HASCON are held at the RI Convention Center.

“We have a signed contract with Mr. Lee's management stating his Rhode Island Comic Con 2016 appearance [was] to be his last New England appearance,” said Susan Soares, Press Relations Manager of Altered Reality Entertainment — the parent company of RI Comic Con.

This is big business. "Eventbrite, a ticketing website, estimated that fandom conventions in North America grossed $600m in 2013. It said the wider economic impact could be as high as $5bn," writes the BBC on the Comic Con industry. Unlike the RI Comic Con and HASCON, the San Diego Comic Con generated $17.2 million in 2014 -- the last year they filed their 990 Tax Form.

Legal Battle Brewing?

Rhode Island Comic Con produced a portion of the contract for GoLocal, which was executed on March 8, 2016, and was signed by the agent for Stan Lee that committed that the event would be billed as “Stan Lee’s Last New England Convention Appearance.” 


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Contract between RI Comic Con and Stan Lee



RI Comic Com has refused to disclose how much they paid Lee, but a trade publication for the industry, Bleeding Cool, wrote that Lee was scheduled to be paid $200,000 for the Geeks Expo that was held in Dallas on New Year's Eve.  

Bleeding Cool reported, "I’m told that Stan Lee got half his appearance fee of $200,000 in advance, but on the day he only got $30,000. But he was relatively lucky as this seems to have come out of appearance fees for all the rest of the talent there, who had to make do with the money they could make from their own booths and signing tables."

Comic Con's Soares said Lee's HASCON appearance is a breach of contract. 

“[Hasbro’s actions] puts [Stan Lee’s] 2017 appearances at other New England shows in breach of contract. We have attempted to get an explanation for the breach of contract, and have yet to receive a response from either party. We, as the fans are, deeply upset and disappointed in these actions by all parties involved, whether deliberate or not,” added Soares.

A spokesperson for Hasbro, Chris Raia told GoLocal, “As for the last-ever appearance question, we’ll defer to RI Comic Con and Stan Lee’s teams.”

“As for Stan Lee’s involvement with HASCON, he’ll be sitting on a panel at 1:30 p.m. on Friday – and also hosting a VIP “Stories with Stan” session on Saturday at 11:30,” added Raia

Rhode Island Comic Con claims that the cost for HASCON is substantially higher than the Lee experience their company provided. “One thing to consider the experience fans will have with Stan at HASCON vs. the one they had with Rhode Island Comic Con. From what we understand, the only fans who actually meet Stan are those who pay the $600 VIP ticket,” said Soares.


Hasbro touts Lee's appearance with the following:

This is your chance to sit down with Stan Lee, a true comic book legend! As one of this generation’s greatest storytellers, Stan will share his tales to astonish about the creation of pop culture icons including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men and many more – EXCELSIOR! Stories with Stan attendees are guaranteed to receive a pre-signed autograph poster from Stan Lee commemorating his HASCON visit and a surprise gift. Lunch will be served.

Saturday 11:30 am

$200* Link for more information:

Lee and his team at Marvel created other leading comic book heroes - which are now mega media hits including, The Hulk, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, Thor, and X-Men.

RI Comic Con hyped the appearance over and over again as Lee's "last ever" in New England.  

The promotion was meant to increase the value of the collectibles and RI Comic Con took in hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments. Lee was paid hundreds of thousands according to industry reports tied to other appearances.

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Hasbro's event


According to the HASCON site, it appears to cost more than $600 to have a personal access to Lee at the event.

Super Fan – 3-Day VIP Ticket 

For Adults – Ages 16+ $642.00* 

This 3-Day Ticket welcomes adults to an incredible behind-the-scenes experience at HASBRO. 

Get priority access for some of the events, get HASCON souvenirs, see shows and more.

The VIP Super Fan ticket includes these Special Bonuses:

Panel VIP – Access to special VIP early line-up when attending guest panels. (Must arrive 40 minutes prior to session and only available to first 50 VIPs per session.)

Reserved Theater Seating – Skip the line and receive a guaranteed reserved Main Panel Seat in the HASCON theater. (Limited to one seat, for one event per day.)

Goodie Bag – Get a HASCON gift bag filled with surprises and souvenirs.

Green Screen – Transport yourself to a virtual HASBRO world with our immersive green screen experience. First come first served until we reach capacity. Priority will be given to VIP ticket holders. Participation in green screen experience is not guaranteed.

HASCON Early Access – Experience HASCON early and Shop one hour earlier than Main Show opening hours in the morning for a chance to buy HASCON Exclusive product* (*limited quantities available on HasbroToyShop.com after HASCON) from My Little Pony, Transformers and Dungeons & Dragons, as well as multi-convention Exclusives from Star Wars, Marvel and Magic: The Gathering.

Hasbro Headquarters Tour – Experience where magic is created by going on a behind the scenes tour of Hasbro Headquarters. Take a tour of Hasbro Memory Lane, view a selection of artifacts from our key brands including Transformers, G.I Joe, and My Little Pony, and one of the original Monopoly boards. Visit the model shop where our team of designers, artists and model makers create the vision for future toys and games. Tours on a first come, first served basis as there are capacity limitations.

VIP Lounge – Relax and unwind at the Super Fan Lounge and meet fellow fans of your favorite brands and stories.

Evening Events: As a VIP, choose one of the many exciting evening events including: hall of fame dinners, celebrity meet and greets, exclusive movie events, and more. Evening events will be available on a first come, first served basis as there are capacity limitations.  The Super Fan event choices**  

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The promotion of Lee in 2016 by RI Comic Con



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