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Jack Kirby Vs. Disney (or The King Goes After The Magic Kingdom)

Discussion in 'Marvel Comics and Collectibles' started by Jeff Harris, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    The thing that Ed mentioned about Stan being a huckster reminded me of something. If you want an idea of what Jack Kirby thought of Stan, check out the exploitative con man Funky Flashman character from Mr. Miracle. It's definitely not that flattering an homage.
     
  2. Hanshotfirst1138

    Hanshotfirst1138 Singing drunken lullabies

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    I find that entirely possible, especially given the direction that Spider-Man with its anti-drug stories later on. It's kind of ironic that Ditko, with his wierd Randian philosophy, became famous to a whole generation of hippies and decidedly liberal left-wing fans. I think that it was the same sort of creative differences that always affect these sorts of situations: two minds who just want to go in different directions. Then again Ditko has always been said to be a rather peculiar person, and his obviously controversial political and philosophical views may well have just caused a lot of friction between him and other people.
     
  3. Sketch

    Sketch not like those other old guys

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    There's a problem here though. They're seeking damages for Spider-Man and he was Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's baby. Couldn't their lawsuit as it is get rejected out right for trying to collect on something Kirby did not create?

    I don't know how Marvel has been treating the Kirby's so I'm not going to say they're in the wrong here per say but they're overstepping at least a bit by including characters Jack Kirby did not create. And of all the characters... Spider-Man... Marvel's cash cow. That rubs me the wrong way regardless if they haven't gotten what Kirby's estate deserved for his years of shaping an industry through comics for Marvel.
     
  4. TheVileOne

    TheVileOne Peace Loving Shinobi
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    Kirby was apparently the first person to draw Spider-man, right? Does that him him a co-creator?
     
  5. Sketch

    Sketch not like those other old guys

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    Looking into a few things. Marvel sure gave Kirby a terrible time. Their business practices were atrocious.

    Did he ever sign the release to get his original artwork? Cause if he didn't it could certainly be argued he never agreed to a work for hire contract.

    It was a given that Marvel owes the Kirby estate a great deal and they should pay the damages without a doubt but if Kirby never signed a contract releasing those rights they've got a strong case here to take the rights of those major characters.

    Still gonna say no on Spider-Man. I think Kirby drew A "spider man" but I don't recall.
     
  6. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Hero Fan
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    I believe that Ditko was the first. The Spider-Man idea had been kicked around for a while with all sorts of weird iterations from different guys but Ditko created the look that eventually became what we know. Jack drew the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 after Ditko's similar cover got rejected for whatever reason. It was always a rarity when Jack drew Spidey.
     
  7. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Even Steve Ditko admits Kirby created a "Spiderman." According to Ditko, however, Kirby's Spiderman was a kid who turned into an adult hero (Captain Marvel style) and carried a Web gun. If you think that sounds like MLJ's "The Fly," which was created by Simon and Kirby, that's because it does. Both Kirby's Spiderman and The Fly are in part based on Simon and Kirby's earlier rejected "Silver Spider" pitch, which they unsuccessfully shopped to Harvey in the 1950s.

    http://www.toonopedia.com/fly.htm

    But Kirby's version bore very little resemblance to the Spider-Man that was eventually published, so you can't call it solely a Kirby creation. I'd argue that you couldn't even call it largely a Kirby creation, but the heirs obviously have different feelings about that.

    Ditko wrote a long article about this, with illustrations of what Kirby's Spiderman actually looked like and a synopsis of the first story, but I can't find it online anymore. If I find it I'll post it here.
     
  8. TheVileOne

    TheVileOne Peace Loving Shinobi
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    If the Kirby kids are going to claim that they own Spider-man because Jack Kirby did a take that was never used, they IMHO don't have a leg to stand on.

    Suddenly a lot of people came up with scripts that involved blue aliens and other planets and are suing James Cameron too.
     
  9. Wolf Boy2

    Wolf Boy2 Active Member

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    Actually, you know, the producers of "Dances With Wolves" and Disney's "Pocahontas" have a pretty airtight case against Cameron. ;)
     
  10. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu That's 'Cause I ATE IT!!!
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    Well, no, but if he was the one who named the character, then the claim might not be entirely groundless. Admittedly, his estate won't be due for the kind of compensation that, say, Steve Ditko would be if he were interested in pursuing this kind of action, but that's got to be worth something. Otherwise, we might be reading and watching the adventures of the Human Spider everywhere.

    Honestly, this might also just be because Kirby's heirs know nobody else is going to file the claim for Spider-Man, so why not try for it? Stan's claims are out for a bunch of reasons, and Steve Ditko isn't likely to pursue anything in time. The other alternative is that they have enough of a claim to put it on the table as a bargaining chip to take it off in return for something else, since Spider-Man is the keys to the kingdom as far as Marvel is concerned. Whether it'll work is debatable, since I think Marvel/Disney seems to be willing to go all the way on this one, but them lawyers are tricksy.

    Admittedly, my memory of all this is hazy, at best, and while the references Shawn Hopkins makes sound familiar, I don't remember if Kirby's take pre-dated Stan and Steve, if there was an independent development going on, or what. I also vaguely recall something about Kirby working on a Spider-Man comic that pre-dated the publication of Amazing Fantasy #15, but that might be the thing that Shawn was referring to rather than a Peter Parker Spider-Man story.
     
  11. wonderfly

    wonderfly Shaking things up a bit
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    I merged some threads, as we really only need one thread for discussing this on the CBC forum.

    Anyway, as of yesterday, Comic Book Resources is reporting that the Kirby heirs have filed a lawsuit against Marvel to terminate copyrights and to recieve a share of profits from Marvel.

    Previously, they had just filed notice last September that they were intending to reclaim the copyrights. Marvel responded in January with a lawsuit saying the Kirby heirs don't have any rights to Kirby's work for Marvel.

    Well, the ball is certainly starting to roll on these legal proceedings now...
     
  12. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Ditko says the Spiderman, remember, no hyphen, story that Kirby did was something that was done before Amazing Fantasy #15. IIRC it was sort of a more standard Marvel weird fantasy story and Ditko says it was something about a kid going to the house of a weird old man, I suppose that's where he gets the powers. Again, I wish I could find that article where he lays all this out.

    If Silver Spider can be reasonably said to be the idea that Spider-Man grew from, then of course it predates it since Simon and Kirby came up with it in the 50s. But it just seems a little too different to me.
     
  13. TheVileOne

    TheVileOne Peace Loving Shinobi
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    Has Kirby ever claimed he named or created Spider-man? And do the Kirby's actually have written proof that Kirby named him?

    Now if we are to go further with this as a viewpoint, it could essentially mean that the Kirby's are using Spider-man as a legal posturing tool. They are putting Spider-man in their frivolous lawsuit to improve their compromise or settlement chances on other things at the end of this.

    If we are going to discuss this, does Kirby really deserve credit for something like this that in no way is really similar or resembles what is widely known as the classic Spider-man/Peter Parker character that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are credited as the creators of? Should we really give Kirby credit for his obscure story or idea that predated Amazing Fantasy #15 as the foundation of Spider-man?

    This also contradicts Stan Lee's story of the creation, but then again, I guess people can argue Stan Lee's credibility and/or his truthfulness.
     
  14. Sketch

    Sketch not like those other old guys

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    No disagreement from me that the Kirby's should be able to get Jack's due for the characters he did create but if they actually win the case for Spider-Man I'm very disappointed at the legal system. Cause claiming Kirby created Spider-Man over Ditko would be fraud. If they really are using it as a bargaining chip it's some rather shady dealings.

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of this if they get the rights to everything they're asking for.

    Jack Kirby should be remembered as quite possibly the most influential man in comics history for many reasons and his estate deserves compensation and at least partial rights to the characters he created or co-created. But Spidey isn't one of them. Or if he is... the public has been lied to for a very long time.
     
  15. Memphis Bleek

    Memphis Bleek Active Member

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    Marvel Sues Jack Kirby's Heirs; The Kirbys File Countersuit

    The article breaks down the custody battle. A moderator can mirror this thread in the Entertainment and Marvel Forums. Thoughts?
     
  16. wonderfly

    wonderfly Shaking things up a bit
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    There's already a thread on this (which I've now merged your thread with). Please search for already existing threads before creating new ones (this was on the front page of the CBC forum)...

    Thanks for the in depth article by the New York Times though...
     
  17. MDawg

    MDawg Nerfariously planning

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    Surprised no one has posted an update on this since it broke yesterday, but Disney/Marvel has won the case against the Kirby family.

    http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/07/2...ght-case-with-text-of-ruling-and-depositions/

    http://www.deadline.com/2011/07/bre...dgments-in-jack-kirby-estate-rights-lawsuits/

    The Beat has a ton of links and other info if you want to take a look at all the legal reasoning as to why Disney won the aand Deadline has more as well.

    Basically, what it came down to was Kirby signed a work-for-higher agreement, so despite being a creator or co-creator, that nullified his rights. Anyone with more legal expertise is free to shoot me down if I got this wrong. Also, there is still the appeal to go through, so this probably isn't over just yet (I think. Again, feel free to knock me down if I got this wrong).
     
  18. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Yeah, I knew about it. I just didn't post it here because I didn't have the heart to argue with people who call the Kirby heirs leeches again, especially when those people can point to this misguided ruling to act smug and vindicated. But since you restarted it, it's a sad situation that they didn't get anything. Bad precedent for other comics creators from that era, too.
     
  19. TheVileOne

    TheVileOne Peace Loving Shinobi
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    I think they hurt their case by trying to claim that Kirby created and owns Spider-Man.
     
  20. suss2it

    suss2it Active Member

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    Well that certainly sucks. I think the family deserves something for all of Kirby's hard work creating these awesome characters for Marvel. Without Kirby's influence Marvel wouldn't be the giant it is today.

    I also wonder if this ruling will discourage other creators from creating new characters for DC and Marvel and instead opt to save their best ideas for creator-owned books.
     

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