Comics King Stan Lee Fights Crime Online

How long has it been since you opened a comic book? Now you can click one open: Stan Lee's new Web-only, biweekly animated series, Accuser.

Even those only vaguely familiar with comics know Stan Lee. During a 60-year run, Lee has helped create some of the most recognizable and best-selling titles. His credits include The Amazing Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk. His name still carries weight, even 38 years after Peter Parker's life-changing bite by a radioactive arachnid.

Accuser premiered this week, with three more episodes to follow on a biweekly basis. It's the latest animation series from Stan Lee Media, powered by Macromedia Shockwave.

"Stan is creating a host of series for the Internet," says Zach Foley, vice president and manager of digital art at Stan Lee Media. "This is one of 15. It's a perfect medium because the cost of distribution is really low, and there's a huge amount of creative freedom."

Futuristic Armor

The story revolves around an unethical defense lawyer named Dan Mason, who gets his comeuppance. He gains super powers through a ruthless attack on his family by a dissatisfied client.

Mason is paralyzed and his wife is killed in the attack. As we might expect, he is visited by a mysterious stranger who bestows upon him a mystical wheelchair that converts to a "suit of futuristic armor... not only allowing Mason to walk again, but dramatically multiplying his strength and providing him an arsenal of exotic weapons."

Okay, it's not ER. But it's a welcome, guilty pleasure. The good guys win; the bad guys take their lumps -- all is just as it should be in comicdom.

Even on a 56K-bps modem, the Webisode loads in just a few minutes. The animation is relatively simple, in true Shockwave fashion, and designed to produce smaller file sizes. Still, the movement and comical superhero voice-overs make a nice replacement to the old panels and speech balloons.

"We want to make sure you're viewing something in 30 seconds," no matter what the connection speed, Foley adds. "That might be games, or a trivia question, so you're not just sitting there twitting your thumbs."

Super powers, indeed.

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