Robot 6

Seth throws his support behind Marvel boycott

Coober Skeber 2 cover by Seth

Coober Skeber 2 cover by Seth

Wimbledon Green creator Seth has joined in the call to boycott Marvel following the recent court ruling that Jack Kirby’s heirs have no claim to the characters he co-created for the publisher, saying, “I hope it catches fire and spreads. The corporation badly needs to be shamed into doing the right thing.”

Veteran artist and educator Stephen R. Bissette asked fans late last month to stop buying all “Kirby-derived” Marvel products in an effort to pressure the company to better credit the artist and fairly compensate his family for the properties he helped to create. Seth, like Bissette, takes particular issue with Marvel’s characterization of Kirby’s contributions, and the supporting testimony offered by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and others.

“The corporate lie about Kirby’s role in the creation of all those characters is abhorrent,” Seth writes on his blog. “It’s a bold faced lie. Everyone knows it’s a lie. No one is fooled. Everyone lying for the company should be ashamed. Stan Lee should be ashamed. What the Marvel corporation is doing might be legal but it certainly isn’t right.”

Seth concedes a boycott isn’t a sacrifice on his part — he’s never worked for the publisher and can’t recall the last Marvel product he bought — but encourages others to “refrain from supporting the corporation until some form of justice is brought forth for Mr. Kirby.”

(via The Comics Reporter)

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43 Comments

Boycott them all you want but the legal system has passed judgment and the Kirby heirs lost.

Seth who?

Boycott the Boycott!!!

Buy More Marvel!!!!

Here’s an idea. Let’s boycott Disney, ABC, ESPN, Pixar and all other parts of the conglomerate, OK? Well, let’s start after SportsCenter.

Thank god this person with nothing at stake either financially or as a fan and has almost no name recognition (especially in the superhero crowd) decided to throw his support behind the boycott. When are we gonna hear about Josh Lesnick throwing his hat into the boycott ring? Or how about Eiichiro Oda? Marvel and superhero comic fans will care about that right?
I’m not saying I don’t this guy is wrong or that I don’t agree, but how is this going to affect anything?

Are there any Kirby-derived books at Marvel that are even worth reading other than Hickman’s FF?

Most Marvel books suck and are overpriced…seems like those are 2 things worth boycotting also.

How did marvel lie? All I’ve seen are blatantly biased accounts of what’s happened trying to support one side or the other, and again would these characters exist and be profitable if Kirby never was hired by marvel.

I love Seth’s work but, yeah, this seems like a rather silly choice, on his part, of a soapbox to climb onto.

Especially since Jack’s been dead for some time. It seems like some people are determined to raise up his relics as some kind of “golden calf” idol.

I really wonder how he would feel about this.

Following on from “Simpleton,” what if we boycott every business that ever screwed someone over? If this boycott ever took off, (which it WON’T,) all it would achieve is the destruction of an already struggling industry. Good luck.

P.S. I have to add that I completely agree that it is shameful that Kirby’s importance is downplayed. Talking about it is the way to help. Like now.

Once again, this country continues to prove how good at SORE LOSING we’ve become.

The Kirby heirs LOST the lawsuit, can we ALL just move on already?!? Talk about beating a dead horse…

This boycott is ridiculous. If any of them actually cared about the artists “rights” they would have switched to Image a long time ago. It’s really simple. If you want the Artists to Own the rights to their characters buy Image. If you want a Company to own the rights then buy Marvel. Everyone in the Industry knows that Marvel and DC do their best to out right Own all the characters that play in their little respective worlds. The court case was a ridiculous waste of time along with this boycott that is 15 years too late.

Because Seth was there and knows exactly what happened right?

George Bush (not that one)

August 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Can’t the Kirbys sue for the lost art ? Did that happen ?

some of these comments are disgusting. show jack some respect. marvel owes him everything. you’re dreaming if you think marvel would be around right now if jack wasn’t there at the beginning.

The greatness of what Jack Kirby created during his time at Marvel is inarguable. This is not what is under However, what also inarguable is that what he created at Marvel is what is considered “work for hire.” Let it be brought up that the line between comic publisher and comic creater is well drawn (unless, like stated above, we are talking about Image, or even Marvel’s creater line Icon). It’s not like he created and published Captain America before it was published by Timely. Marvel’s success was made with the talents of Kirby, Stan Lee, Joe Simon, Steve Ditko, and the list could go on and on from all the greats who have contributed to this throughout the years.

Also, it should be noted that Kirby himself is not litigating, it’s his estate, who obviously think that are entitled to money that Jack himself never went after. What have the four Kirby heirs in the lawsuit ever done for the comics industry? Why haven’t they gone after DC comics for Forth World profits? Why not Topps comics (yes, I know they no longer exist, but Topps was still operating, last I checked) while they are at it?

I have officially joined the boycott too! Here’s my url so you can buy my crap instead! http://www.nobodycaresaboutmeeither.com

We boycott artists will be soliciting a collaborative issue soon to benefit us called: “Nobodies United against anything we don’t decide is fair”.

Googam son of Goom

August 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Seth is a wonderful artist and I enjoy his works, but he is neither lawyer, judge nor jury. He is a sentimental guy and a sweet eccentric and that is why those who love him love him so. Yes, Jack Kirby was a stupendous creator who forged the backbone of Marvel as it is today, but Just because you designed and engineered the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building does not mean that you own it let alone your grandchildren.

Geez, why hasn’t anybody thought of completely revamping the US Copyright Act????? We’re in the 2010′s and we still haven’t updated it by taking out the vague things and making it completely understandable. My best idea for a law revamp? Writer/Artist signs with company, gets royalties if property of his/her own creation is successfully adapted to other media/merchandise, and keeps getting an equal and fair share of the profits from the company. Less corporate, more cooperative.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to distinguish right and wrong, and Marvel treatment to Kirby is atrocious. How Robert Frost said a jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. In the present case a judge chose who has the better lawyer, and Disney/Marvel have a indecent amount of money to buy the best liars or lawyers.

Googam son of Goom

August 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I agree with Acer in that what he/she describes seems like a fair way to do things, but it’s not the law right now. Morality and law are not always on the same side of the fence. Seth’s boycott is one way to address a perceived wrong but the fact remains that ‘work for hire’ was and is legal and that was Kirby’s relationship with Marvel. Now if you want to change the system then say so. Socialism has a place.

Stan Lee got his piled to the sky, golden due, and his stuff was work for hire. Why? Because its just the right thing to do when somebody has made you trillions of dollars and continues to do so. What’s wrong with Kirby getting the same allowance?

Marvel’s treatment of Kirby was atrocious yes. They should have out of gratitude and respect showered him with money and paraded his likeness around as much as they have Stan. They SHOULD have. But legally, they weren’t REQUIRED to.

Sean T. Collins

August 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Darkseid need have looked no further for the Anti-Life Equation than in any given comment thread about his creator.

Michael, you mean that you just do the right thing if you are legally required to? I think a person should do the right thing according to his conscience. Unfortunately big corporations like Disney/Marvel don’t have conscience or soul, just greed.

DC too,specially in regard to supes/siegel fam debacle

Googam son of Goom

August 12, 2011 at 12:32 am

So what about Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, Steve Gerber and Steve Englehart? Same law? or same morality?

Sean T, really? These comments are equivalent to “the anti-life equation?”

Because they actually seem rather well-mannered, and even thoughtful, compared to any number of comment threads on any given day here at CBR or, really, just about any online forum.

Presumably, then, it is the fact that most of these comments express a point of view contrary to yours which makes them somehow equivalent in, I suppose, soul-crushing horror to the total outside control of all independent thought everywhere?

Demonize, much?

Googam son of Goom

August 12, 2011 at 7:30 am

I forgot Bill Mantlo.

I really don’t get it. Where the legal system failed Kirby and his estate , the fan and professional community probably have the resources to redress this wrong in a simple and direct fashion by putting public pressure on Marvel. It would probably take very little personal effort or sacrifice and just because you can’t fix all wrongs is no reason you shouldn’t try to address at least some. And at a time when Marvel is trotting out a string of blockbuster movies I can’t imagine they’d appreciate the negative publicity. To see this sort of ambivalence and even open ridicule is a little demoralizing. No to mention folks who make multiple posts just to let everyone know what a “waste of time this is.”

Well, DC gives their creators royalties when they don’t have to. Gibbons and Moore and Bissett all got money from movies made of their characters, and they get residuals from all their work, past and present. Why shouldn’t Marvle do the same?

Googam son of Goom

August 12, 2011 at 9:17 am

Hey Mr pants they won’t because they don’t have to. Sucks.

Googam son of Goom

August 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

Hi JK your proposing mob rules rather than respecting the law. Are you from London?

I wonder where Seth’s desk in the old Marvel offices was that he is able to tell us that Stan should be ashamed of himself.

Stan should be ashamed of himself because he’s taking all the glory and credit when in mainstream comics it takes TWO to make a comicbook.

@Googam:

You’re asking if the same morality does apply to the writers you mentioned applies to Kirby. It does. Yeah it sucks, but you’re coming off that its done now and we should all move along. That’s a very terrible way to look at things.

Boycott Marvel then crash the comic market. Or support DCNu? The greater of 2 evils. You be the judge.

OK. Peaceful boycotts, public protest, and other legal forms of consumer and professional activism are unprecedented in American society and are exactly the same as people engaging in illegal acts like looting, property destruction, and assault. It’s funny how some here will happily defend the legal rights of corporations as unassailable but accuse those exercising the legal rights of individuals as being thugs. What an enlightening thread.

>>Darkseid need have looked no further for the Anti-Life Equation than in any given comment thread about his creator.

Well, enough staring into the abyss.

Threads like this really make it hard for me to not root for the death of mainstream comics, simply based on the fact that it would lead to the disappearance of mainstream comics fans.

@Googam son of Goom
Now that you mention it, maybe if it were reworked, perhaps the copyright act should include a morality clause. This could force the companies to be legally obligated to give their creators a fair and equal share. Again, less corporate, more cooperative. This is just me, but I believe that if diplomacy, no matter how many times it is implemented, fails, THEN force comes in–and it doesn’t have to be physical force.

Ronin,

“Michael, you mean that you just do the right thing if you are legally required to?”

If you read my statement, I said that they SHOULD even if they WEREN’T REQUIRED.

Why in the hell would a company NOT want to reward an employee for doing good work?
It’s fuel for what? MORE GOOD WORK!
If you abuse them and treat them like crap, do they work harder? #@!! no they don’t.

As per usual the marvel fanboys and shills arrive to support their beloved corporation and its pale imitations of Kirby’s creations. Soulless fans of a soulless corporation.

Locusmortis brings up a good point. With the way our economy is right now, maybe it’s time corporations stopped being so corporate and actually treat its employees like human beings.

Wraith: “Demonize, much?” You wanna have some fun, Google Sean’s blog around 2003-2004.

Kevin, thanks for posting a link to Seth’s letter. I’m glad to see that a good chunk of the comments here seem to be in favour of some sort of moral response from Marvel and are not just repeating the pro-corporate Marvel behaviour Seth laments. Hopefully there will be a petition of some sort soon that people can sign on to and maybe leave copies of at their local comics shop.

One factual correction: Seth doesn’t have a blog. Mystery Hoard is actually my personal blog –I’m trying to use it to track the Marvel Boycott and post the occasional statement from supporters.

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