Now Kirby Estate After Marvel

With the possible win for various heirs of comics creators, the Jack Kirby Estate is going after Marvel. Especially considering they were just bought for billions of dollars.

Kirby tried fruitlessly to get his art back from Marvel for years in the 80s, only to be stonewalled because Editors were selling his pages illegally out the back door. He got a minor stipend from Marvel at the end of his life, but really it’s an insult considering all he did for the company. Now his kids may see some benefits, thought it will take years at the very least if they do.

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  1. I don’t think the Kirby Estate is going to win…

    Kirby was too silent when he had the chance to possibly get big concessions and frankly I think the law’s in Marvel’s court on this.

    I didn’t like the copyright extensions granted during the Sonny Bono era but frankly also think this copyright reversion business is a big disaster in the making. It certainly won’t benefit the original idea creators — they’re all dead!

    Yes, it was horrible what happened with Kirby’s art but frankly I see a bit of hypocrisy there… Where are the concessions for the other artists? Where are the settlements for other people? This just opens up too many scabs and wounds. Who wants to deal with cleaning up all that puss? Do we really want to spend court time on pop culture IP issues that are decades old when there are a heck of a lot more important, more immediate things to resolve like murders?

    That’s what sort of gets me about all the Kirby business. It gets to be a bit self-serving at times. Granted, I don’t think he was anywhere near as obnoxious as Harlan Ellison was about “artist’s rights” but you have to figure there were a ton of other people in the same situation/same boat as Kirby, too!

    A number of people have settled with Marvel or DC without the ridiculous amount of publicity and celebrity. I think those people came out smelling and looking a hell of a lot better than the Kirby’s or Siegel’s are likely to at this point in time. It just seems ridiculous to hold onto these things after all this time and let the bile and poison eat at you. There’s only so much time for all of us in this life and spending decades in litigation when the law really favors larger entities doesn’t seem like a great way to spend your time! ( <= Only the lawyers are going to win… Love the way the legal system rewards itself for its own sins! )

    The only one of the whole kit-and-kaboodle that seems to have been smart from the beginning about this stuff was Will Eisner. Fortunately for him he kept the rights to most of his work and kept control of The Spirit (his most consistently excellent creation) all the years he was alive. Unfortunately, they never made a decent Spirit movie while he was still living but he did get to see a good chunk of the original Spirit run finally get a nice restored printing all the while retaining his control on that property…

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