Marvel Comics Sues Jack Kirby!
Yeah, I know. Jack’s long-gone. That doesn’t mean he can’t be sued – or, at least, his estate. To be fair, Jack started it.
A whole bunch of copyrights expire between 2014 and 2019,
and Kirby’s estate sent notices saying those copyrights will revert to from the House That Jack Built to Jack’s actual house.
These copyrights pretty much include everything Jack ever
touched at Marvel: Amazing Adventures, Amazing Fantasy, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, The Incredible
Hulk, Journey into Mystery, Rawhide Kid, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos,
Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense and The X-Men.
This action follows similar claims made by Jerry Siegel
(Superman), Marty Nodell (Green Lantern) and Joe Simon (Captain America). All have met with some degree of success for the litigants.
Marvel, of course, claims all this stuff was created as work-for-hire and therefore belongs to Marvel. Or, actually, now, Disney. “It is a standard claim predictably made by comic book companies to deprive artists, writers, and other talent of all rights in their work,” according to Kirby’s attorney Marc Toberoff. “The Kirby children intend to vigorously defend against Marvel’s claims in the hope of finally vindicating their father’s work… Sadly, Jack died without proper compensation, credit or recognition for his lasting creative contributions.”
In the world of litigation, Newtonian physics reigns supreme. Marvel lawyer John Turitzin said in a statement that the heirs were
trying “to rewrite the history of Kirby’s relationship with Marvel,” adding “Everything about Kirby’s relationship with Marvel shows that his contributions were works made for hire and that all the copyright interests in them belong to Marvel.” He then sought a court ruling that the Kirby notices have no effect.
Marvel is now owned by Disney, and Disney’s got more
hard-ass lawyers than Harvard graduated in 200 years. If the Kirby estate were to win, the $4,000,000,000.00 Disney just spent for Marvel goes up in smoke. Expect a big bloody fight – or an amusing settlement.
courtesy of the Associated Press.