Just when you thought the comicsphere could rest easy after the past few weeks — the heirs of Jack “King” Kirby have something to say.
The heirs of one of the architects of the House of Ideas have sent 45 notices of copyright termination to Marvel, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Fox, and Universal, the New York Times has reported.
There’s no word about what characters are involved with this — or if the rights being discussed are for comics, film, television, licensing, or all of the above — but considering Kirby has helped create characters ranging from the (original) X-Men to the Fantastic Four, it could be big. Any change-up would occur around 2014, which would be years after Paramount’s Avengers films, Sony’s Spider-Man 4, or Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine sequel would hit theatres.
On the legal side of things, this is more or less bleeding edge copyright and intellectual property war being waged here. DC has seen similar issues with the Siegel estate’s legal dealings regarding the Superman franchise — and in this case, both the Siegels and the Kirbys have the same lawyer, Marc Toberoff. The phrase “work for hire” will almost certainly come into play here, as the creation of these characters in the early 1960s didn’t typically come with the most ironclad of creator contracts.
But what about that Disney deal? Will this spoil that? Not according to Disney reps, who told the NY Times, “the notices involved are an attempt to terminate rights seven to 10 years from now, and involve claims that were fully considered in the acquisition.” Stay tuned to Blog@ and the mothership for more info…