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"Kirby's claim kicked off the Marvel/Disney money train." Topic

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1,035 hits since 29 Jul 2011
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BundyTime Inactive Member29 Jul 2011 8:33 a.m. PST

In a win for Marvel, Kirby's works were ruled to be 'work-for-hire' and therefore the property of his corporate overlords.


Let the plundering continue unabated!

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian29 Jul 2011 9:46 a.m. PST

Well, rather, the plundering was prevented.

BundyTime Inactive Member29 Jul 2011 10:02 a.m. PST

Have you seen how much the Marvel/Disney movies have made?! They have exploited those works to the full, and will continue do so – as is their legal right. The Kirby heirs only wanted to wet their beak.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2011 10:21 a.m. PST

It stinks (IMHO) – Kirby pretty much invented modern comics as he shuffled between marvel and DC with the same storylines (let's not forget that, eh ?).

I know, I'm so naive to think that big corporations might recognise a moral obligation when there's not a legal obligation. I just cling to the hope that there are some decent people left in the world.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2011 10:38 a.m. PST

What "moral obligation"? To "heirs"?
Paris Hilton is an "heir". How much did she have to do with building up the hotel business?

BundyTime Inactive Member29 Jul 2011 11:34 a.m. PST

big corporations might recognise a moral obligation when there's not a legal obligation

The idea of Corporate citizenship (Citizens United notwithstanding) is a concept that has lost it's resonance as the money has piled up.

How much did she have to do with building up the hotel business?

Well, that is where her sex-tape was filmed…… thereby promoting a venue for other amateurs of the genre?

xxxxxxxxooooo Inactive Member29 Jul 2011 12:39 p.m. PST

I know, I'm so naive to think that big corporations might recognise a moral obligation when there's not a legal obligation. I just cling to the hope that there are some decent people left in the world.

When I was in the middle of getting ripped off in Hollywood a very wise man gave me the following nugget of wisdom:

"It's called 'Show Business'…not 'Show Art' "

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2011 4:39 p.m. PST

What "moral obligation"? To "heirs"?

No, to Kirby, whilst he was still alive. The heirs would then have benefitted in the normal way.

45thdiv29 Jul 2011 4:46 p.m. PST

Guiscard – you are too right about Hollywood. There are no rules, but their rules. And it is very big business. I've spent 20 years off an on in the business and if I did not love the work, I think I would just pack it all in.

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2011 7:32 a.m. PST

Folks the issue here was one of contract. If you create things for your employer as part of your job it belongs to the employer.that is why it is called a work for hire. It has to be that way. Anything else would be a comic book.

kallman30 Jul 2011 11:08 a.m. PST

Let me see, where to begin, as an artist that has done both work for hire and also licensed my work the fact is when you deal with people in business you had best know well what you are getting into. I have had good dealings and bad and in most of either case it comes down to you as the artist knowing how to navigate these murky waters. Artist are notoriously bad at business as it just is not in our nature. Trust me I have been ripped off a number of times; however, each time that happens I have learned from the experience and taken the effort to learn how to protect myself. Having a paralegal certification helps considerably now of days.

In the case of Jack Kirby no one can doubt the value of his contribution to popular culture and the medium of sequential art. I in particular love to study Kirby black and white work for direction in my own illustration work. Jack trusted his friend Stan Lee and that was perhaps his main mistake. There are rarely friends in business. I have seen money kill friendships and tear families apart. Sadly most of us think that there should be some kind of honor or unspoken moral rule in regards to how we treat each other. In reality that is very rare and oft times only reserved for those we closely care about. Even that is not a given.

Down to brass tacks, Jack Kirby was paid for his work, sadly at the time he did not foresee how much value that work had. It is hard to negotiate for a better deal if you are not aware of nor can predict that what you have will at some time garner greater value. What happened to Jack Kirby became a lesson for later contemporaries who managed to profit more from their talent by being a bit more savvy.

Should Jack Kirby have been better compensated? Yes. But that was not what he contracted for and the contract is all that the law can rule on. The heirs do not have a right to the work as it currently stands. The upside to all this is that like the music business, the comic business is experiencing a paradigm shift because of the internet. Creators can by pass the corporations, syndicates, editors, and other middle men in order to pursue and market their own

There is a downside to this in that artist often benefit from having a good art director or editor. However, the fact that with web comics an artist receives direct and instant feedback from the fans of their work may work as a substitute.

nazrat30 Jul 2011 11:33 a.m. PST

What Kim said!

As for the Kirby heirs, let them develop a little talent and make money the old fashioned way-- by WORKING for it! It's too late to give deserved recompense to Jack and his family doesn't deserve anything more in my opinion and especially according to the law. They should let it go and move on. Continuing to go up against the Disney/Marvel juggernaut is simply beating your head against a brick wall, and for a long, loooong time. Gotsta hoit!

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Sep 2011 12:23 p.m. PST

I've recently read some history about Kriby and his relationship with Stan Lee, Joe Simon, Marvel, and DC. It appears that in the early days he, like most people in the industry, didn't really think that they were making "art," nor did they think it was going to have long-term monetary value. Only when the toys and cartoons started in the 1960s (20+ years after Jack had started working as an artist) did he begin to realize that there was money to be made from licensing and residuals. By then, though, it was really too late.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this (and other, similar) rulings. I see multiple sides in this issue… and suspect I will for a long time to come.

The Gray Ghost Inactive Member28 Jun 2012 3:24 p.m. PST

I just wish Jack Kirby got more recognition for what He accomplished. And you have to remember Disney himself ripped off people left and right.

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