Jack Kirby vs. Marvel

The legendary comic book artist's heirs are out to get theirs:


Complicating matters are licensing agreements Marvel has made over the years with rival studios for characters Mr. Kirby helped to create. Sony holds long-term movie rights to Spider-Man; 20th Century Fox has the equivalent for the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Universal Studios holds theme park rights to Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. And more films stemming from Mr. Kirby's work are coming: Marvel is spending hundreds of millions to bring Thor and the Avengers to theaters.

 If the Kirbys succeed in their reclamation effort -- and that's still an enormous if -- they would be entitled to a share of profits from new works based on any of the copyrighted material. And the four Kirby heirs (Lisa, Neal, Barbara and Susan) could acquire a nonexclusive right to initiate new projects based on characters partially created by their father, as long as they accounted to Marvel for its share in any of them. 

 "This is like the Superman case times five," said Mr. Toberoff, who predicts a three- to five-year court battle, including appeals, if the case proceeds.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In