Marvel Sues Comic Book Author Jack Kirby’s Heirs Over Rights to Spider-Man, …
The company has filed a suit on Friday in New York in response to the notices sent by Kirby’s four children that said the rights to the characters would revert from Marvel to his estates in 2014 to 2019.
Kirby, who died in 1994, co-created many of Marvel’s major comic characters in the ’60s, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and X-Men among many others.
Marvel wants a judge to invalidate the notices, claiming Kirby’s works were merely “work-made-for-hire,” meaning the company is the real author of the superhero characters under the 1909 Copyright Act.
But the heirs maintained that Kirby authored the characters under his own team and were subsequently published by Marvel.
It was not until 1972 that Kirby granted Marvel the copyrights to his works, and by the same grant, Kirby’s family sent statutory notices of termination.