The National Hockey League and SLG Entertainment LLC, led by Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men among other comics superheroes, announced Thursday their unprecedented partnership to form Guardian Media Entertainment LLC. This partnership creates the platform from which to launch Stan Lee's vision for his latest superhero franchise, The Guardian Project, which will encompass the creation of 30 Guardians (one to represent each NHL team) as a new series of superheroes, with a creative concept that organically and authentically incorporates various NHL elements but is not set in the world of hockey.
"I've always believed that every great plan starts with a great story," Lee said. "In the creation of Guardian Media Entertainment and its unique and unprecedented relationship with the NHL, I truly believe we have the perfect combination from which to launch 30 new superheroes and excite young fans around the globe."
Created and developed by Lee and Tony Chargin, Executive Vice President of Creative Affairs at Guardian Media Entertainment, and Jake Shapiro, each Guardian derives from its corresponding hockey team -- complete with special powers representative of each team and city. These 30 Guardians will be unveiled together in a special presentation during the 2011 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C.
"To be in business with Stan Lee and to be able to bring his latest superheroes to our fans is incredibly exciting to all of us at the NHL," said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President, Marketing, for the National Hockey League. "We are in constant pursuit of new ways to engage our fans and to introduce new fans to hockey, and the business of Guardian Media Entertainment does exactly that."
Gill Champion, Lee's producing partner and President and COO of POW! Entertainment, said, "This is a wonderful opportunity to expand Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment brand into the sports arena."
With an initial plan to reach tween boys, GME hopes to bring a new audience to the NHL, while engaging the existing, established hockey fan base through a compelling tale of good vs. evil.
"The NHL not only brings enormous brand equity to the partnership, but also their built-in audience of more than 70 million fans worldwide and their marketing and distribution channels," said Mark Terry, Chief Operating Officer of Guardian Media Entertainment.
"To have the machine of the NHL, Stan Lee as an equity partner and the combined vision of all is the ultimate power play," added Adam Baratta, GME Chief Creative Officer.
The most cutting-edge, motion-capture technology will be used to bring the project to life by Vicon House of Moves (IRONMAN 2). A special teaser package will be unveiled during the Oct. 8, 2010 panel presentation of The Guardian Project at New York's Comic Con (4:45 to 5:45 p.m. in Room 1A08 of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center).
The near-term rollout plan for the Guardian Project will include an online presence, mobile applications, publishing, gaming, in-arena, broadcast, merchandise, promotional and sponsorship activities.
For more information on Guardian Media Entertainment and The Guardian Project, visit www.guardianproject30.com
, which will go live at 12:01 a.m. Friday.