Ben Fritz has a story in today’s Los Angeles Times business section on the heirs of the late, great Jack Kirby looking for a legal avenue to profit from the many characters that he created, which have become lucrative Hollywood properties.
Walt Disney Co. may not get full ownership of many of Marvel Entertainment’s most famous superheroes if new copyright claims by the family of the late artist Jack Kirby have merit.
Four children of Kirby, who co-created a number of Marvel’s best-known superheroes in the 1960s including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Thor and the Hulk, have served 45 “notices of termination” to Marvel, Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. The notices seek to regain copyright control of certain characters.
Disney this month agreed to buy Marvel for $4 billion. Sony owns the movie rights to Spider-Man, Fox to the Fantastic Four and X-Men; Paramount and Universal have distribution rights for certain Marvel-produced films.
The notices were sent Wednesday.
The children of Kirby, who died in 1994, are being represented by Los Angeles law firm Toberoff & Associates, which has represented the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel in a similar claim against Warner Bros.
Kirby served as artist and co-plotter with writer Stan Lee on most of the characters in question.
Whereas Lee has been a public face of the company for decades, Kirby is less known. That’s in part because Kirby left to work for competitor DC Comics in 1970…
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– Ben Fritz
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CREDIT: Jack Kirby self-portrait, Marvel.