Welcome of a new edition of Writing Without Fear, today I am taking a look at what has becoming the lonely redheaded step child of the collective Marvel Movie Universe, the Fantastic Four.
Today is the birthday of Jack Kirby (1917 -1994) the King of comics and one of the prime architects of Marvel comics pantheon, inspiring generations with his dynamic art style and amazing details. Thank you Sir for your imagination, your dynamism and for bringing worlds of wonder alive.
The unsung hero of the Marvel revolution without which I doubt Stan would have been Da Man and many of today’s Comic Book Icon’s would not exist. Jack Kirby’s full contribution to comic book lore will forever be shrouded in mystery, allegations and a mishandled legacy. In the end it is the fan’s who know and value Mr Jack Kirby for everything he did… Thank you Sir for inspiring us all and Happy Birthday. To learn more about the genius of Jack Kirby please visit the Kirby Museum Blog Here.
Jack Kirby if he was still alive would be 94 today, it is hard to put into words what this artist did to elevate the superhero comic. So instead I refer you to this excellent dynamic fight sequence between Captain America & Batroc the Leaper from the Captain America specials Marvel ran earlier this year; what a fantastic action packed 9-panel page. Happy Birthday Jack, your legacy will always be remembered.
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