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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Over on the blog EVERY DAY IS WEDNESDAY J. Caleb Mozzocco said regarding the Kirby suit:
The thing that depresses me the most is that, as Spurgeon has said repeatedly, it’s an injustice that is just so easy for Marvel to right, or at least address. That doesn’t mean they have to just give back all the copyrights, but, at the very least, they could give Kirby’s heirs a token, good-will amount of financial reward, and go out of their way to make sure Kirby gets the credit he deserves for his contribution to—well, to their existence. I say token, but considering how much money is being made off of Kirby creations and co-creations right now, something that would be painless and hardly noticed by the Disney/Marvel juggernaut would likely be perceived as extremely generous. Stan Lee gets something like a million dollars a year just for being Stan Lee (although I believe he had to fight in court for that as well)…how hard would it be to give Kirby’s heirs something similar?

Not hard at all.

While I would find it appropriate if Marvel had granted Jack and Roz Kirby an ongoing pension at least by the 1980s-- perhaps after the conclusion of the "artwork return" negotiation-- I'm not sure I see the validity of a pension for the Kirby heirs, if that is what may be signified by "a token, good-will amount of financial reward."

However, if Mozzocco is talking about a one-time token--

Isn't that what the Kirby heirs essentially turned down when they refused to settle with Marvel out of court?

As others have pointed out, probably no one will ever know for certain what Marvel put on the table. Nevertheless, it had to be better than nothing, which is what the Kirby heirs ended up with by taking the case all the way to summary judgment.

I further assume that they did so because they and their representation hoped they'd be able to appeal a negative verdict.

In all likelihood this potential appeal will keep Marvel from sending the Kirby estate any gift-bags in near future.

Don't let it be thought that I am defending Marvel here, simply by pointing out that they don't like to be sued. Marvel has a history of initiating ill-considered, groundless, bullying suits against a lot of people, ranging from Dave Stevens to a restaurant that dared use the name SPIDER-WOMAN. (Memories of the latter suit are fuzzy as I read about it in CEREBUS many years ago.)

Nevertheless, the only way the Kirby heirs will get money out of Marvel as a token of appreciation is if they are perceived to be harmless to the corporation. That's
just the way things are, and wishing they were otherwise won't change the matter.

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