News is breaking about the estate of Jack Kirby battling Marvel over several superheroes rights. This is similar to the debacle that DC had with the Siegel and Shuster families over Superman. Stan Lee, who had a hand in creating just about every one of Marvel’s marketable superheroes, won a lawsuit with Marvel a few years ago about royalties that he never received based on so many of his properties. Now the Kirby family are getting in on the act, but I have to wonder just how much room Kirby’s family will have to win this. What Kirby’s influence was on many of Marvel’s properties is stuff of legend and a point on contention between Lee and Kirby loyalists.

Marvel is suing to keep the rights to superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and X-Men. The federal lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan asks a judge to invalidate notices sent by the heirs of artist Jack Kirby to try to terminate Marvel’s copyrights.

The heirs sent notified several companies last year that the rights to the characters would revert from Marvel to Kirby’s estate.

The lawsuit says Kirby’s work on the comics were “for hire” and render the heirs’ claims invalid.

Comic book characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men have become some of Hollywood’s most bankable properties in recent years.

Marc Toberoff, an attorney for the Kirby heirs, said he hadn’t seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment.

I can’t imagine that the Kirby family will win any sort of lawsuit with Marvel. Especially as it pertains to say, Spider-Man, since Jack Kirby did nothing with Spider-man at all. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko did Spider-man, although supposedly it was influenced off of Kirby’s original idea and The Fly. Seriously though, Kirby never drew or wrote anything of substance for Spider-man, so I doubt his family will end with his rights. He didn’t design the costume and his only real contribution was a redo of Ditko’s original cover. The Fantastic Four on the other hand…

3 Responses to Jack Kirby versus Marvel

  • Drayco90 says:

    It's extremley obvious that these douche bag "heirs" have no idea what Mr. Kirby worked on, and they only want a quick buck. Mr, Kirby's legacy deserves better than this.

  • Lt_Clutch says:

    I met Jack Kirby and his wife Roz shortly before Jack's passing. They seemed like nice people and I doubt they would have gone up against Disney the way their family is doing right now. Because that's who they're really facing here: The Marvel purchase by Uncle Walt's Empire is a done deal. The heirs are trying to see what they can grab hold of before it all becomes the property of Disney stockholders.

    Whenever Jack got upset over someone screwing with his work he would simply switch employers back and forth until he got over whatever had pissed him off. He wasn't in it for the money, just the creative freedom to create stuff as he pleased. He likely wouldn't have bothered with this crap unless his family truly needed to be taken care of, which they clearly don't anymore.

  • I honestly wouldn't mind a grab at some cash (though if anyone should have saw it, it should have been Kirby himself) but to try and get the rights to the characters seems like too much to me. I'm sure that's just an overall bigger plea for money, but still.

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