Branson's comic tie-up has his beardy-sense tingling

Richard Branson has long been a business hero. Now he has a new side-kick - Spiderman creator Stan Lee.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Branson’s fledgling Virgin Comics has taken on Lee, the man behind Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk, to create a new line of characters. The new venture will see Virgin employing the 85-year-old former president of Marvel Comics as both a writer and editor, overseeing a load of new comics set to launch next year.

‘Stan Lee is a cultural icon and we welcome him to his new home for this bold new chapter in his great legacy,’ said Branson. The Virgin founder has always pushed his ‘kid in a sweetshop’ persona. So it’s apt that his new honcho should be an octogenarian who still spends all his time drawing cartoons.

Branson launched Virgin Comics two years ago, and recently announced tie-ups with with Nicolas Cage and Guy Ritchie, as well as a more unlikely comic-book hero, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. He has also brought back every schoolboy’s favourite, the legendary Dan Dare.

The comics business is the latest eye-catching turn for Branson’s sprawling empire. Just yesterday the entrepreneur was announcing that, through his Virgin Galactic wing, he plans to become the first man to marry a couple in space – on the first Galactic sub-orbital flight next year. And given his upcoming cameos in the new Superman and Bond movies, does Branson have designs on becoming a superhero himself? Running a business by day, parking his Galactic spaceship in the Virgin Forest, and sitting behind banks of supercomputers calculating the finances of his labyrinthine empire.

It may be a welcome step away from his naked publicity stunts, but we can imagine the addition of a cape and spandex pants being only marginally less offensive. But there might be advantages for him. With the addition of superpowers, Branson may soon be doing a Superman, flying round the world fast enough to arrest and reverse the earth’s rotation, eventually turning back time. While Superman used the method to effect an unfeasible rescue of love-interest Lois Lane, Branson could have us all believing that the loss-making Virgin Cola never happened. And that he didn’t get bearded by Murdoch over ITV.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

When spying on your staff backfires

As Barclays' recently-scrapped tracking software shows, snooping on your colleagues is never a good idea....

A CEO’s guide to smart decision-making

You spend enough time doing it, but have you ever thought about how you do...

What Tinder can teach you about recruitment

How to make sure top talent swipes right on your business.

An Orwellian nightmare for mice: Pest control in the digital age

Case study: Rentokil’s smart mouse traps use real-time surveillance, transforming the company’s service offer.

Public failure can be the best thing that happens to you

But too often businesses stigmatise it.

Andrew Strauss: Leadership lessons from an international cricket captain

"It's more important to make the decision right than make the right decision."