Kirby Family Moves Ahead With Disney/Marvel Lawsuit

The signs were all there, and now, they have rung true. Last week the family of noted artist Jack Kirby officially filed a lawsuit against Marvel Comics and the Walt Disney Company to have the copyrights to those characters terminated and reverted back to the family members, who claim, in the actual lawsuit papers, that Kirby's work, which included iconic characters such as The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers and Spider-Man, was done on a freelance basis, and that Marvel used Kirby on a work-for-hire basis, therefore his family is entitled to a share of the profits from those works and the copyright. Marvel has filed a countersuit, and has stated that the claims that the Kirby family is making are not true, especially when considering the intertwined relationship, according to Marvel, between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby during the inception of those characters and titles in the late 1950's-early 1960's. The Kirby family served papers to Marvel and Disney back in the fall of 2009, seeking termination of the copyrights to over 40 characters. The outcome of this lawsuit, the family is seeking a trial by jury, could have a massive impact on the comics and film industries for years to come.