Marvel and Jack Kirby's Estate Settle Legal Feud

Whenever anyone signs the praises of Stan Lee, there’s usually a comics fan who brings up Jack Kirby in response as someone who got screwed out of credit and rights to some of the most legendary characters in comics, including X-Men and Fantastic Four.

Now the long running legal feud between Kirby’s airs and Marvel has been settled. Before this battle was going to go to the Supreme Court, matters were brought to a close, and the Kirby estate said in a statement, “We are looking forward to advancing [the] shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”

For those who are not Marvel inclined, Deadline pointed out that when Kirby worked for Marvel, he was a hired gun, and he didn’t have rights to Captain America, who he created with Joe Simon, as well as the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and X-Men. The New York Times wrote that one of Kirby’s most important contributions was “a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion.” (James Cameron would also call Kirby
“a visionary.”)

In a recent interview in Playboy, Lee said, “There was never a time when it just said ‘by Stan Lee.’ It was always ‘by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’ or ‘by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.’ As far as what they were paid, I had nothing to do with that. They were hired as freelance artists, and they worked as freelance artists…Jack was a great guy and so is Steve. I’m sorry anybody feels there’s any acrimony. I loved them both.”

David Konow

David Konow has been a writer for far too long. He has written for Deadline, Indiewire, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, The Wrap, Tom's Games, and many others. He has also authored three books: Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and Reel Terror (St Martins).


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