Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kirby's Kids Try to Claim 'Spider-Man'

When I read the news that Jack Kirby’s kids were seeking copyrights to all their father’s Marvel creations, I found it curious that Sony is one of the studios sent termination notices.

Why? Because Sony’s only Marvel-based movies that might have anything to do with Kirby’s legacy are those in the “Spider-Man” franchise—and he’s never had official credit for co-creating Spider-Man or the other major characters in the superhero’s mythology.

The Hollywood Reporter was also intrigued by the claims of the Sony/Spider-Man part of the case, especially after getting two of the notices, which respectively seek to recapture rights to most of the original characters from the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man comics.

The former makes sense, as Kirby is known to have co-created the team with Stan Lee. The majority of initial Spider-Man characters, however, are either solely credited to Lee or to both Lee and artist Steve Ditko (and sometimes others, such as John Romita, Sr.).

Apparently Kirby was unofficially instrumental in the creation of Spider-Man, possibly even before Lee was on board. Kirby and Joe Simon were responsible for a character called the Silver Spider that may have evolved into what eventually became Spider-Man. Regardless, although Kirby didn’t draw any of the early Spider-Man comics, he is known to have been involved in their development.

Kirby’s kids, however, are claiming partial rights to “Amazing Fantasy” #15, famously known as Spider-Man’s first appearance. They also name the following characters as being Kirby co-creations: Aunt May; Uncle Ben; J. Jonah Jameson; Flash Thompson; the Chameleon; the Vulture; the Tinkerer; and the Lizard. Also, the Daily Bugle and specific storylines are included in the notice.

The Hollywood Reporter points out that such a complicated claim will cause the Kirby-Marvel case to feature a lot more back-and-forth than it would otherwise with just the concrete credits included. And it may just be one of those extras that plaintiffs throw in to barter with—knowing that the Spider-Man claims will be thrown out, the Kirbys may hope to be granted the more legitimate copyrights as part of a bartered compromise.

Either way, given how long this case could take, and seeing as how the rights to Spider-Man wouldn’t be available to the Kirbys until 2018, we at least shouldn’t see any threat to the “Spider-Man” movies until the sixth or seventh installments.

Do you believe the Kirby family has some claim to the Spider-Man characters and mythology? Are they biting off more than they can chew?

More news to come! Catch ya' later!
Source: MTV News

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