I know it has been a long time since I have contributed to BleedingCool.com and I have been busy. Actually, writing this column had been a carrot that spurred me on for weeks now, unfortunately, timing and recent events has ruined the positive nature of what now feels like a responsibility.
Jack Kirby is the father of the Marvel Superhero. I don’t really need to tell you about him. That’s how important he is. Needs no introduction some would say.
Recently a legal battle is ensuing over the rights of his creations through Marvel Comics. This is a battle that will likely cost both parties lots of money and drag some reputations through the mud. In the end, I don’t think either party is 100% right.
I’m not an expert and won’t pretend to be one. Law isn’t my thing. I deal in fair, unfair, and how I feel about situations. The fact of the matter is, Jack Kirby’s family should receive royalties for his creations. Plain and simple; that is it. I don’t think Jack Kirby’s family should own, or co-own the characters, especially not now. There is too much history and too much creative contribution to divvy up and give share to, that the sole entity of each creation does no one any good being split.
Getting royalties for said characters isn’t as hard as it sounds. Especially considering the breadth of Jack Kirby’s creative brilliance for Marvel Comics. I mean, he really produced the stuff that these legends are made of. It doesn’t happen in court though, and it’s not going to happen at this point unless both parties take a serious beating and they can settle on it.
Conflicting parties need only sit down and look at the facts and then weigh it against the potential negatives of their own malicious sides. A situation like this if pushed too far could bury the reputation of the comic book industry.
No one wants to hear that Jack Kirby, one of the most influential creators in comic books does not receive the respect that he deserves from the company from which his name is more than just the corner stone but the whole damned foundation! That is horrible, it is disgusting, unfair, and off putting. When I heard about the legal actions being taken, I wanted to boycott Marvel Comics. I wanted to start petitions and get people to boycott with me and more impulsive people than I probably already are doing so.
I had to take a step back from the situation and realize what is important to me. That being the fair treatment of creators, publishers and everyone in the comic book industry. Which means I look for both parties to have their rights a reason why I don’t like this legal battle.
To Marvel: Settle this now, offer royalties to the Kirby family for as long as his characters are used. It will save you money, your reputation, bad press and if you believe in it, Karma.
To the Kirby Family: whatever has brought you to this point, I am sorry for, your actions to you must feel just, but I cannot support them nor do I encourage anyone to support them. For however long this legal battle takes place it garners attention among the public and it will hurt everyone involved. In essence it is a gamble. I encourage seeking the help of the comic book community in negotiations with Marvel Comics.
There is not a soul working in this industry who isn’t thankful for the man named Jack Kirby, and I am sure the support will be enormous.
To Comic Professionals: Your actions are among the riskiest if taken because your jobs and your futures are dependent upon them. I only hope that you do what you believe is right:
“Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out.”
To the comic fans, readers etc: you are Moon, your movements as one can shift the tides of the comic book industry, but only if you take action. Do what you feel is right. I know we don’t all agree but to those who fight for what they believe is right they will reap the benefits of their own faith.
I’m sorry if this piece is a bit jumbled, erratic or emotional at times, but I am driven by my own convictions. My passion for this industry is a force not to be stood against and my need to speak cannot be kept in check. I seek you, the readers as an outlet for my frustrations on the matter in hopes that it will spare me the ill will of those who could impair my future. Thank you for your eyes and ears and most importantly your thoughtful criticisms and contributions.
Since writing this column I have become a better and more thoughtful person because of your influence. I end this article with a piece, in loving memory of Jack Kirby, one of my and many others’ biggest inspirations: