Recently the heirs of Jack Kirby went after Marvel in the courts for the right to terminate Marvel’s copyright of Jack’s co-creations and to collect royalties they believe Jack was owed. After all Jack Kirby was one of the architects of Marvel’s success and most likely responsible for the look of 80% of the current pantheon, (yes he was responsible for all the above pictured characters and much more) so it would be worth a good penny, and it would bring Jack the recognition the man does richly deserve.
They failed, because legally they really didn’t have a leg to stand on and that is the tragedy of this story. Jack Kirby despite all his creativity was only considered a freelance and work-for-hire artist. Which means once he was compensated for his work anything he created was considered owned by the company that hired him. I know, I’ve worked under a work-for-hire contract and its horrible to see things you’ve created being exploited for further profit without having share in it; and you have zero claim on your creations.
Work-for-hire is what lost the Kirby heirs their case, legally they didn’t stand a chance, morally the Kirby heirs had the high ground, but court cases are not decided on morals alone, they are decided on laws. I have to agree that Marvel have acted shamefully in this matter and could of easily tipped their hat towards Kirby’s legacy, maybe one day they will… Maybe… Continue reading