By John Gaudiosi
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Comic book legend Stan Lee on Friday revealed details of his new web-based, digital series "The Seekers," saying it is set in modern times on an Earth in danger of imminent destruction.
Describing his upcoming new venture with MTV as "a real epic story", Lee told Reuters that "Seekers" will have multiple characters and he hopes it will move from the Internet to TV, movies and videogames.
"It's a real epic story," said Lee, ahead of a detailed presentation of the new comic book series on Saturday at Comic-Con International.
"One of the blurbs I wrote for it says, 'We present these incidents that you're about to witness as a work of fiction in order to avoid worldwide apprehension and panic.' It has to do really with the state of the Earth and all the population on it," he added.
"The Seekers" will launch in early 2012 as a free digital comic series on the MTV Geek website and is expected to eventually become a print comic. Lee, 88, has big plans for what will be his first foray into digital comics.
"Television, movies, video games, you name it, it will be there," said Lee, who helped create Marvel Comics superheroes "Spider-Man", "Thor" and "Iron Man".
Lee said he has written a six-page treatment for "The Seekers". Thousands of years ago an alien race sent "seekers" to every planet in the universe with sentient life. When a race advances enough to a point that it might be a threat to other sentient life across the galaxy, these seekers have the ability to set off a doomsday device that will destroy the planet.
"Our whole planet is in danger," said Lee. "It has to do with man's inhumanity to man."
Three of the main characters will be;
-- The Gatherer, a seeker sent to Earth, who has recently awakened due to the nuclear and biological threats humans now harness.
-- Arthur Nordan, a renowned radiologist who recently watched his colleagues killed by the Gatherer on an expedition.
-- Jennifer Hart, a World News Network correspondent trying to get an interview with Nordan. The duo end up discovering the Seekers and the imminent threat posed by the Gatherer.
Lee said there would be many more players in the stories. "It's a multi-character series, which introduces new characters while keeping the old ones in virtually every episode."
What separates this comic from anything Lee has done before is that he's giving an aspiring artist and comic book writer the chance to become a central part of the development of "The Seekers".
Beginning in early August, MTV Geek will host a contest allowing anyone to send in their own interpretation of "The Seekers". Artists will submit five pieces of art, while writers will turn in a 10-page script based on Lee's treatment.
Lee and his team will pick 20 entries and the online community will vote for the top five submissions. Lee will announce the winners at New York Comic-Con in October and work directly with the artist and writer to create the comic.
"This contest is a big one and it's important because we're excited to give undiscovered talent a chance to shine," he said.
"The comic book industry is expanding with digital comics and motion comics and video games. I think the opportunities are there for new talent, and this project is one way for people to get a job in the industry."
"The Seekers" will join other digital comics that will run on MTV Geek, including Teen Wolf, Divination, The Gloom, Hats, Agent Mom, Me2, Punks, Hell Town, Beowulf Jones, and 1,000.
Tom Akel, executive editor of MTV Geek, said the website has attracted over 800,000 unique visitors since its mid-October launch last year. He expects the partnership with Lee to attract an even larger crowd.
(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Bob Tourtellotte)