In case you’ve been too caught up recently with living your own life or occupying Wall Street then I bet you didn’t know there’s another big corporation out there working hard to crush the little guy. I’m not talking about Monsanto, Halliburton, or Wal-Mart. I’m talking about the ever-lovin’ entertainment giant Marvel Comics.
As reported this summer in the New York Times:
In a major victory for Marvel Entertainment and its parent, the Walt Disney Company, a federal judge in New York granted them summary judgment in their legal dispute with the heirs to the comic book artist Jack Kirby. [… The ruling] declares comics and characters created by Mr. Kirby — who helped give birth to the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men, all of which now underlie valuable movie series — were works for hire under the Copyright Act of 1909, and cannot be reclaimed by the Kirby family.
It is disheartening to see Marvel (Disney) insist that the “work for hire” clause is reason enough to stiff this artist and his family. Kirby merits special consideration for his contributions to popular American culture and the billions of dollars he’s generated for Marvel. Even if Marvel has a legal right to deny Kirby’s family any copyright access to Kirby’s creations–which is in question partly because of a dubious contract–it is a dick move. Marvel is being a dick.
Until Marvel does the right thing by Jack Kirby, and I hope they do so soon, I will “make mine Marvel” no more.
Below you’ll find a few links. This list is not complete, but it’s a handy reference for those just starting to catch up on this topic.