At the New York Comic Con, one of the oft-discussed stories was the settlement between the estate of the late Jack Kirby, co-creator of the Hulk, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Captain America, X-Men, Silver Surfer and so much, represented by Marc Toberoff, and Marvel Comics, now owned by Disney.
The suit, if successful, would have redefined work-for-hire and creator-owned definitions under US Law, and would have had wide-reaching consequences across the entertainment and media industries.
Some were angry that the case didn’t go forward, with the benefits that could have accrued for many. Others were entirely dismissive of the case’s chances and were surprised that Marvel chose to settle. And others pointed out that it was the case Marvel – and especially Disney – could not have won, in the eyes of the public at least.
But the details of the settlement were kept private. Until I found the right person, with looser lips, to ask. And I was surprised by the answer.
Possibly, worried he may have said too much, my very well-connected source defined the settlement as “eight figures. Mid eight figures.” Which leads me to believe we could be looking from anywhere between $30 million to $50 million, either way the largest single sum settlement that any comic book creator’s estate has ever received for such a legal settlement in history.
The deal also ensures that Jack Kirby will receive full named credit on upcoming movies based, or partly based, on his work.