Just how serious is Disney/Marvel about producing an Ant-Man movie? Few in the world are likely to be more interested than the children of comics author Jack Kirby who have named Ant-Man along with Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Thor, Nick Fury a seemingly endless list of comics titles and specific issues in a lawsuit claiming they are the rightful (co-)owners of these creations.
Filed on March 9 in the US District Court in the Central District of California, the complaint filed by Lisa, Barbara, Neal and Susan Kirby as well as the estate of Kirby’s wife, Rosalind, rebquests a trial by jury, seeking unspecified damages against previous and current earnings on these properties of which Disney/Marvel has current control.
Making a very persuasive argument, particularly if it’s all true, the complaint inks a portrait in which a financially strapped Marvel purchased the comics from freelancer Jack Kirby ad hoc — sans contracts and that Kirby created everything on his own time in his own place of residence with his own tools so that he was at no time able to be considered ‘work for hire’ as Disney/Marvel has contended.
According to reports, Marvel filed an action in Manhattan court today to petition a judge to invalidate claims by the family of Spidey’s co-creator, Jack Kirby. Kirby’s family sent out several dozen notices last year to several companies including Marvel, claiming that they are entitled ownership to Kirby’s creations under copyright law. In addition to Spidey, other hot properties such as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men are in play.
Marvel claims that the characters were created under ‘work-for-hire’ and have complete ownership to the properties.
Marvel’s main competitor, DC Comics, has already lost a portion of its rights to one of its largest properties, Superman, and will lose control of him completely in 2013.