This is a Tough One

On the one hand, the heirs of Jack Kirby really do deserve the money. The King really got screwed by both Marvel and DC over the course of his illustrious career and, of course, some kind of compensation should be rendered.

On the other hand, though, the Kirby heirs probably would only have the rights to the aspects of those properties which Kirby had a direct hand in creating- that's one of the few things that seems to be clear coming out of a similar trial involving the heirs of Siegel and Shuster- so they might not be entitled to everything they think they're entitled to.

Furthermore, and rather selfishly, I'm worried about what it means for my future comics purchases. If all of this were to get tied up, what would happen to Captain America? Thor? Spider-Man? Could you imagine how crippling this could be for the Marvel and the American comics industry on the whole? If anything, it's proof that Kirby was just as influential as his heirs say; but it also means that the outcome could be disastrous.

From here on out, I hope everyone treads carefully- the health of a whole industry and the sanity of an entire fandom depends on it.


  1. I read Kirby: King of Comics and the author basically said the same thing. It's nearly impossible to tell how divided the early collaboration between Kriby and Stan was. We do know for certain that Kirby came up with Silver Surfer because he doodled him on a cover, and Stan was like, "Kirby, what the blazes are you thinking with this silver guy? That's crazy!" And Kirby told him the backstory he'd worked out about SS, and Stan liked it and incorporated it into the comics.

    Of course later Stan completely changed the personality and backstory of SS without telling Kirby, so how would you divide that in court? He came up with the original idea, but the SS being sold in comics now might just be Stan's version. Who knows?

  2. Spider-Man is an even bigger clusterfuck.

    Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created a character called "Spiderman" in the 50s that never saw print.

    Kirby presumably (we will never know) let the name slip to Stan Lee, whose wheels started spinning and wanted to create a teenage superhero with spider-mimicking powers. Lee asked Kirby to draw it, but that never went past six penciled pages because Lee didn't like that Kirby couldn't tone down the dynamism of his figure drawing to a teenage scale and gave the project over to Steve Ditko.

    Ditko designed the costume and the webbing concept. Lee ran with what Ditko did and gave Peter Parker his self-deprecating humor and the origin story that was published as "Spider-Man" in 1962.

    Lee and Ditko co-wrote the issues until around 1965 when Steve Ditko began plotting AND drawing the stories, but sending them to Lee for only the dialogue. This happened because the creative duo stopped talking. Ditko left the company in 1966.

    So who created Spidey? Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had a name (minus the hyphen). Steve Ditko created a visual design. Stan Lee came up with a set of powers and crafted a personality. Lee and Ditko both created many of the early stories. How in the name of god could anyone separate that legally?