Wednesday, August 14, 2013
In Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Kirby, the four adult children of Jack Kirby sued Marvel, claiming their father died without receiving proper payment for his work.
Jack Kirby was known as Marvel president Stan Lee’s “best artist,” co-writing such iconic titles as “Spider-man,” “X-Men,” “The Fantastic Four,” and “The Incredible Hulk.” A federal judge upheld Marvel’s copyright claims, finding Kirby had signed an agreement designating him as Marvel’s “employee for hire.”
The 2nd Circuit affirmed, acknowledging Kirby had more creative leeway than most Marvel freelancers but still worked within the scope of Marvel’s assignments. While Kirby may have created his own characters and plot lines, the court found his partnership with Marvel is what induced his creations.
See Lorraine Bailey, Marvel’s Win Against Kirby Heirs Affirmed, Courthouse News Service, Aug. 9, 2013.