Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Kirby/Marvel copyright fight continues, John D’Agostino dies

Jack Kirby

Legal | New York federal judge Colleen McMahon made several decisions last week in the case of Jack Kirby’s heirs attempting to terminate Marvel’s copyright of his works. The judge agreed with Marvel that it would be premature to make an accounting of how much money is at stake, but rejected a bid by Marvel to throw out the Kirby estate’s main counterclaim. She also ruled that the Kirby estate’s attempt to reclaim original art is barred by the statute of limitations, counterclaims of breach-of-contract and violation of the Lanham Act were tossed, and Disney will be part of the case, even though Marvel said it shouldn’t be.

“In sum, the judge has narrowed the case to its most crucial issue. Both sides disagree about Kirby’s working environment in the 1950s and 1960s when he, along with Stan Lee, conceived many of Marvel’s most popular characters. The judge will soon be tasked with looking at Kirby’s work history and some of the loose contracts and oral agreements that guided his efforts in those years,” wrote Eriq Gardner. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | Artist, letterer and colorist John D’Agostino died Nov. 29. D’Agostino started his career as a colorist for Timely Comics and was head of their coloring department for several years. He also worked for Archie Comics, Charlton Comics and Marvel Comics, and lettered the first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man in the 1960s. Tom Spurgeon offers an obituary. [Mark Evanier]

Michael George

Legal | A new judge will preside over the second trial of comics retailer Michael George, as the original judge, Macomb County Circuit Judge James Biernat, is set to retire Dec. 31. George, 50, was found guilty in March 2008 of first-degree murder in the death of Barbara George, who was shot in the head at the comic store they owned in Clinton Township, Mich. He was sentenced to life in prison in June 2008, but less than three months later Biernat set aside the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder. A second trial is set for Feb. 8. [The Tribune Democrat]

Publishers | Don MacPherson looks into an eBay listing for a “HUGE collection of proofs, color separation & color key printing cells, art copy, original artwork, comic books, graphic novels, posters and advertising items” from “the founder of Comico Comic Book Company.” He discovers the listing was made by the owner of the warehouse where the collection has been stored since the company went under, and he speaks with former Comico editor-in-chief Diana Schutz about the listing. “If any of the original art up for sale on eBay is part of the stuff that ‘disappeared’ when Comico folded in 1990, then that art was not Comico’s, legally, to sell. That art was in Comico’s hands for reproduction purposes only, and should have been returned to the rightful owners — the artists, that is — at the time of bankruptcy,” Schutz said. [Eye on Comics]

WonderCon

Conventions | Registration for the 25th annual WonderCon in San Francisco opens tomorrow, Dec. 1. The 2011 show will run April 1–3 at the Moscone Center South in San Francisco, with special guests Joe Quesada, Jason Aaron, Robert Kirkman, Paul Levitz, Frank Quitely, Seth and many more. [press release]

Digital | David Brothers explains why the recently announced “Marvel Comics App Vault,” which would “retire” comics from their digital comics application for an unspecified amount of time, is a bad idea. [ComicsAlliance]

Publishing | Rich Johnston wonders why Dynamite’s Bring the Thunder #1, by Alex Ross, Jai Nitz and Wilson Tortosa, is the second-lowest ordered Dynamite book of all time, and how this might affect its value in the speculator market. “So there is uncomfortable reality that this book does feature a lead African American character, and promoted as such. And that such reduced preorders may be as a result that some believe that such books automatically sell lower.” [Bleeding Cool]

Creators | Matt McGloin talks to writer Christos Gage about the Marvel mini-series Invaders Now! [Cosmic Book News]

Creators | At a time when the Transportation Security Administration can’t seem to catch a break, it doesn’t hurt to find out that some of them are comics fans. [Van Jensen]

Comics | J. Caleb Mozzocco looks at Marvel and DC Comics titles that sell less issues than the recently canceled Thor: The Mighty Avenger. [Every Day is Like Wednesday]

Comics | Comics critic Matt Seneca defends the artwork of Rob Liefeld. “A Liefeld may not move you along through the story like a Toth or Miller does, but every panel hits so hard and nasty that the giddy guilt-free mayhem of superhero comics ends up better served by it than anything considered or elegant. Is it individual expression? Liefeld never bends to the world as it is, whether in reality or even in the comics that came before him. He pulls from inside himself and draws what comes. And for my money, that’s what ‘good comics art’ is.” [Death to the Universe]

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Comments

9 Comments

” And for my money, that’s what ‘good comics art’ is.” I disagree.

But sometimes I wonder if Rob Liefeld has some kind of vision problem where he sees the world as he draws it. Imagine living in Liefeld world without laughing. Everyone’s always yelling, women have impossibly long legs, impossibly large breasts (so do the men!), and everyone’s feet are almost always pointed ballerina tip-toes, or strange flat triangles.

And everyone has the same bodytype. And the same faces with different kinds of hair.

“He pulls from inside himself and draws what comes.” So does my three year old daughter but that doesn’t mean she’s a good comic book artist. And I’m her biggest fan!

A good comic book artist tells the story! Their pictures compliment the words and provide a deeper experience for the reader. An artist can have style up the wazoo but if it’s all headshots, no establishing shots, anatomy is consistently off or just pin ups, a dis-service is done to the reader and to the art form.

Clearly Matt Seneca is making an idiotic statement in an effort to generate some controversy, and thus traffic for his site. No one could honestly believe such flat out stupidity.

I for one would like some of whatever Matt Seneca is smoking, because If it makes him think Robs art is all that, it must be some primo sh*t

The way things are leaning, looks like the Kirby’s are going to lose.

Brian from Canada

November 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Rob Liefeld’s early days were great; his later days, not so great. But he deserves some respect — especially for his ability to still excite people about the projects he’s working on. I was at a con a few years back where Liefeld was one of the guests and he totally had a way of getting kids happy about their hobby and people excited about his ideas… and NOT by just saying he does something that’s cool. This is what I wish a lot more people in the industry were really good at because it would help the industry a lot.

@redvector: They’ve lost some major ground, but the biggest contention — that Kirby’s work was not for-hire and therefore they can get his rights back — is still up in the air. And I think Marvel’s going to have its work cut out for it in proving it was WFH (because it wasn’t).

Sir Manley Johnson

November 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Just remember that once upon a time somebody was buying that Liefeld ‘crap’ big time. Why? I have no answer. I despise his work precisely because it was so god-awful and popular. If it had just been god-awful I wouldn’t think about twice. So really what was ‘wrong’ with comic readers at that time? Time seems to have corrected whatever it was.

Sorry to hear about the death of Jon D’Agostino. He was a great inker. I always thought of him as “the Joe Sinnott of Archie”, since he had the same type of superb line work as Sinnott and his inking style did as much to define the look of Archie comics as Sinnott’s did to define the look of Marvel comics. It’s no surprise that the two of them sometimes collaborated on assignments. I’ll really miss the slick combinations of tight, thick-and-thin line weights that always made his inking look so much better and more professional than the others’ in the Archie stable.

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