It's never a safe bet to think the United States Supreme Court will take on any particular case -- it only accepts a handful each year -- but the credibility of Jack Kirby's family's case against Marvel Comics got another big boost recently.
Attorney Tom Goldstein, the founder of SCOTUSblog, one of the most widely-read online sources for Supreme Court commentary, has opted to co-represent the Kirby family as it fights for copyrights for characters Kirby co-created between 1958 and 1963, which include the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and a slew of others. Goldstein's name puts considerable muscle behind the Kirby family's claim, which Marvel has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss because it doesn't "merit review."
Of all the characters that Jack Kirby created for DC Comics in the 1970s, a roster that includes OMAC and the Demon, the ones that have always resonated the most with readers are undoubtedly Mister Miracle and Big Barda. The story of a super-escape artist who fled an oppressive planet rather than be changed into something he wasn't, and a fierce warrior who overcame her brutal conditioning and learned to love, and how they conquered evil is, one of the most compelling things Kirby created in a long and unmatched career in superhero comics, and it's been a favorite of subsequent creators over the past 40 years too.
One such creator is Ramón Pérez, the Eisner-winning cartoonist of Jim Henson's Tale of Sand, who revealed on Twitter this week that he pitched a Mister Miracle and Big Barda series that "died because of the New 52."
Truly, we are living in a fallen world, but the good news is that you can at least check out a sample of Pérez's work.
Jack Kirby's family has some powerful friends on its side in its legal battle with Marvel to claim back copyright of characters Kirby created between 1958 and 1963 -- characters that include the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and the X-Men -- but Marvel's attorneys are trying to shut the whole fight down before it advances any further.
Marvel and Disney have filed formal paperwork requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court reject the case of Kirby V. Marvel, saying it doesn't "remotely merit this Court's review."
Ravage 2099 and Stripperella co-creator Stan Lee has been channeling Andy Rooney in a series of videos on World of Heroes called "Stan's Rants." Like those missives of the late American broadcaster, these clips are mostly benign "cranky old man" bits. His newest one is about how he hates being on hold, for example.
But the video above, which is from last week, is a knife in the guts of less famous comics creators -- which is to say, nearly all of them. In the video, Lee complains about having to sit through long credits at the end of movies, including superhero movies.
"Nobody knows who [these people] are, nobody can read them and nobody cares," he says, astonishingly.
But here's the problem: Those credits are usually where the names of comics creators who wrote and drew the characters the movies are based on actually get seen.
The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.
Two spin-offs of Guardians of the Galaxy launch in recent weeks: The Legendary Star-Lord and the already-surprise-hit Rocket Raccoon. Marvel Unlimited's got a fairly thorough, if not quite complete, selection of most of the Guardians' previous appearances, especially the ones in the Annihilation/Annihilation: Conquest/Annihilators sequence. But their prehistory is worth digging into, too, and there's some choice proto-Guardians material in the archive.
If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.
This week, a viewer writes in with a question about where to start with the King of Comics, Jack Kirby. With a career that spanned six decades and a masterpiece (or three) in every era, the sheer amount of work that Kirby produced can be daunting for a new reader. Fortunately, we've got some suggestions.
Three of Hollywood's biggest industry guilds have submitted an amicus brief in support of the Kirby estate in the case of Lisa Kirby V. Marvel Characters. The brief urges the Supreme Court to hear the case, as the guilds believe the outcome will have major implications for the film industry.
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about.
This week, you folks are lucky enough to get a full episode a day early! Click on the player above to hear Chris and Matt talk about their experience at this weekend's Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina. They'll talk about all the stuff they bought, how this year's con compared to previous years, a bit about how Special Edition NYC may change the con landscape, rap videos, and much more!
The Supreme Court may take up the case of Lisa Kirby v. Marvel Characters to determine whether or not works produced by Jack Kirby and published by Marvel between 1958 and 1963 were work-for-hire. The case could allow the Kirby estate to terminate Marvel's copyright claims to several of its best-known characters, including Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.
Jack Kirby is considered by many to be the single most influential figure in the development of American comics. He defined the parameters of superhero artwork in the 1940s, he helped invent romance comics in the 1950s, he was one of the primary architects of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s, he brought a sweeping cosmic sensibility to DC in the 1970s, and he played a vital role in the independent publisher boom of the 1980s. Kirby was astoundingly prolific, drawing thousands of pages and covers in a career that spanned seven decades, and created or co-created many of the world's most memorable and popular characters: The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Wasp, Ant-Man, the X-Men, Black Panther, the Silver Surfer, Galactus, the New Gods, Nick Fury, the Avengers, and countless others.
Theatre-goers in New York City will learn about the man behind those iconic creations when the new play King Kirby has its world-premiere engagement as part of the Comic Book Theater Festival in Brooklyn, starting June 20 and running through June 29. We spoke to playwright (and acclaimed comic writer) Fred Van Lente about the roots of the show, and his motivation in adapting Kirby's life for the stage.
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