You remember that age old joke “If Superman and Spiderman had a battle, who would win?” Well surely the Jack Kirby estate employed the right ‘winners’ to fight for his legacy: the lawyers.
And with Marvel’s recent engulfment by Disney, it comes as great news, hell, surprising news that an amicable settlement between Kirby’s estate and Disney / Marvel has been reached. Keeping in mind the heated exchange clothed in legal babble that has gone back for years. The heirs wanted SCOTUS to rule in favour of their termination notices for Marvel to decease and desist using all Jack Kirby’s characters under the 1976 Copyright Act in 2009. If Kirby’s heirs succeeded in their claim, a huge chunk of Marvel’s line up would cease existing. X-Men, Thor, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Hulk all owe their existence to the Comic Con honoured Jack “The King” Kirby. And since his death in 1994, Kirby’s family have been repeatedly been in and out of lower and high courts trying to get justice for the rights to Kirby’s work. Marvel have always taken the position Kirby’s grande work was done under a ‘hire-for-work’ basis, so all copyright is owned by them. Wow Stan Lee. Not cool, hombre.
But it seems the smoke has settled and both parties have come to an amicable settlement. Our guess is there is mucho mucho millions in royalties to be paid out. The Avengers, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Iron Man, The Avengers films and comics – past and present- all would render some hefty revenue for Jack Kirby’s heirs. Hopefully, it will set up a precedent between other comic artists and companies like Marvel and DC who use this ‘work-for-hire’ paradigm, so creatives can possibly see themselves earning revenue for their creations. As creatives, we at T.A.P. welcome the news.