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Comics A.M. | Kirby family lawyer vows to appeal copyright ruling

Jack Kirby

Legal | Marc Toberoff, the lawyer suing Marvel on behalf of Jack Kirby’s heirs, plans to appeal Thursday’s ruling by New York federal judge Colleen McMahon that the Kirby estate had no claim to copyrights on the superheroes Kirby co-created for Marvel Comics. “We respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling and intend to appeal this matter to the Second Circuit,” Toberoff told The Hollywood Reporter. “Sometimes you have to lose in order to win.” [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison chat about Supergods, The Sandman, Superman and more. “…when I did comics, it was also a performance,” Morrison said. “It’s like playing live. You don’t get much time to edit; we don’t really do second drafts in our business. I love that aspect of comics, where you could have a Sandman out and people would be talking about it immediately, and we could be responding to things that were happening all around us and it could be published three months later, or two months later, depending on how late we were. It’s not like writing a book, which is over a span of years like building a cathedral. The comic is so instant. That’s why it covers the seismic shifts of culture very, very accurately.” [Shelf Life]

Jellaby

Creators | Jellaby creator Kean Soo talks to Eva Volin about making the transition from electrical engineer to comics creator (with a little help from Scott McCloud), and his newest project. [Good Comics for Kids]

Comic strips | Jay Stephens and Bob Weber, Jr. have stopped producing their all-ages comic strip Oh, Brother!. “I say with deep disappointment that Oh, Brother! didn’t connect with newspaper editors in this current climate of cutbacks and downsizing,” Stephens told his local paper. [Guelph Mercury, via The Comics Reporter]

Publishing | SmarterComics will release a comic adaptation of The 50th Law, a self-help book written by rapper 50 Cent and Robert Greene. [CMU Daily]

Digital | David Brothers looks back at the digital comics announcements made Comic-Con International in San Diego. [ComicsAlliance]

Conventions | Editor Tim Beedle reflects on attending Comic-Con as a freelancer as opposed to a fan, an experience that included selling a copy of Strawberry Shortcake to a porn star and sharing a hotel room with four women, which was not quite as much fun as manga makes it seem. [Words That Stay]

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Applications for exhibitors and Artists’ Alley for the 2012 Comic-Con International in San Diego are now available. Applications for the former are due by Dec. 31, while applications for the latter are due Sept. 23. [CCI]

Retailers | Comic shop Atomik Pop! will close its Norman, Oklahoma, location on Saturday. Its store in Oklahoma City will remain open. [The Oklahoma Daily]

Process | Letterer Todd Klein shows one page from Fables in all its stages, from pencils through finished piece. [Todd's Blog]

Fandom | Casey Putsch, owner of Putsch Racing, has built a turbine-powered Batmobile replica based on the car from Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns films. Putsch used a Boeing turbine engine from a decommissioned military helicopter to build the car, which can reach top speeds between 165 mph and 180 mph. [The Lantern]

Crime | Some of Brent Anderson’s Astro City and Green Lantern art was stolen from his car in San Diego. [The Beat]

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Comments

6 Comments

I believe in order to successfully appeal the case, the Kirby’s lawyers would have to find an error of law, fact, or procedure.

I suspect that won’t be very easy, except for MAYBE an error in fact.

figured that just like the battle for superman by its creators that Kirbys estate would not give up the fight to regain the characters or some compensation for jack . for this suit if an appeal is sucesful may wind up being another superman lawsuit.

Based entirely on the fact that legally this isn’t a creative argument, but simply a case to determine whether or not the work was for hire the appeal has an uphill battle. The Copyright Act of 1976 doesn’t replace 1909 it merely establishes clear guidelines as to what exactly is work for hire as applied by the Act of 1909. Based on the legal definitions of the act and the depositions considered in the case pertaining to work for hire as well as prior statements made by Jack himself in 1986 and 1994 and it is very unlikely the 2nd Circuit will find any error or cause to take the case on appeal let alone set aside the summary judgement in favor of the family. It looks like Toberoff overreached going for sole ownership.

Appeals courts do not consider errors of fact. This is within the realm of the trial courts to determine as they are the only courts to hear the factual evidence. Appeals courts will only consider errors of law.

Dark Satanic Hayley Mills

July 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Ugh. Boycott corporate comics.

I agree with Hayley Mills’s comment above. Not many people will do what she suggests, of course. If the Estate appeals this decision, they’ll probably lose again, because it comes down to LEGAL issues, not ETHICAL issues. But it’s a very sad decision all around, especially for the Kirby family and all of Jack’s fans who know just how much he contributed. The bottom line is that if Kirby had not returned to Marvel in the late fifties, the rebirth of the company never would have happened. In fact, it’s very likely that Martin Goodman would have ceased publication of his comics line altogether and Stan Lee would have left comics for a career in advertising–as Stan himself has admitted many times. So really, both Stan and Marvel owe practically everything they have today to Jack Kirby. Maybe legally Marvel doesn’t owe anything to the Kirby family, but ethically they most certainly do. I don’t see how anyone with a shred of human decency could deny that–and I certainly hope that Marvel/Disney executives will have the goodness of heart to understand that–and act on that understanding in a meaningful monetary fashion in the future, regardless of the outcome of the appeal. Lastly, I must say that I find it absolutely sickening to read the kind of hateful, vitriolic comments that have been posted on the internet against the Kirby family while all this has been going on. To all of those people, I’d like to say one thing. How would YOU feel if Jack Kirby was YOUR father and YOU were in the position that his heirs are in? I imagine you’d feel exactly the same way they do. So, as the old Joe South song says, “Walk a mile in my shoes…before you abuse, criticize and accuse…walk a mile in my shoes”.

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