'Spiderman' creator Stan Lee to develop new superhero franchise

MUMBAI: The man who gave us the classic superhero Spiderman as well as X-Men Stan Lee has got further superhero plans up his sleeve.

His company Pow! Entertainment has forged a joint venture partnership with former Beatle Ringo Starr to create and launch an original entertainment franchise.

The animation concept will transform Starr into an evil-battling, earth-saving albeit reluctant superhero with a great sense of rhythm. The venture will be financed, produced and distributed by IDT Entertainment.

The superhero project will be developed by Lee with Ringo Starr's entertainment company Rocca Bella for television, home entertainment/DVD, publishing and all categories of licensing and merchandising.

Production on the animated television series will begin later this year. DVDs will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2006. The superhero will be based on Ringo's famed persona. Lee said, "Ringo is beloved worldwide for his commitment to people and his singular wit. Our Ringo superhero character will combine these qualities, along with Ringo's secret powers which people generally didn't know about because he has kept them secret, until now.

"What a blast this'll be! Ringo Starr is one of the most colourful, creative guys I know. Between the two of us, we've cooked up enough wild ideas for music, humor, action and superhero surprises in our new animated project, featuring the rollicking, ringed and bearded Ringo, to keep the fans happy and excited for years to come".

Starr said, " I am so excited to become a 'reluctant superhero'. How great to hang out with Stan and laugh, laugh, laugh, as we're in the first stages of creating this soon to be masterpiece. Adding music to this adventure is something I am also looking forward to. See you in animation land -- soon!"

Rocca Bella executive producer Marjorie Bach said, " Ringo is not just a legendary drummer and musician but also an extremely talented artist and storyteller. Stan Lee invented the modern superhero, revived a dying industry and created a mythology. What a team! This animated project will allow us the freedom to create fantasy worlds based on Ringos' superhero character that will delight and inspire everyone, from the children of the 60's to the kids of today."

IDT Entertainment focusses on developing, acquiring, producing and distributing computer-generated and traditionally animated productions and other productions for the film, broadcast and direct-to-consumer markets.

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