A long time ago, in the distant history of Marvel comics, there was once a powerful force in the world of creativity known as Jack Kirby. Kirby would eventually leave Marvel due to irreconcilable differences with the company and his fellow artist Stan Lee, but during his time he helped develop some of the most iconic characters in the comic book world.
Since then, Kirby had been undergoing a fight with Marvel to get the rights to his characters and original artwork back. With Kirby’s death in 1994, his estate took up where he left off, though they have made no better progress then he did on the matter.
The issue of rights is a touchy one for both artists and fans alike, with big companies doing whatever they can (including some rather shady practices) to gain and maintain ownership of the already underpaid artists’ creative endeavors. This means that Kirby, among others, got left out in the cold when his creations started generating billions of dollars for his former employers.
Rumors hit the web that Kirby would not be receiving a credit on Joss Whedon’s new Avengers film. This caused quite a shit-storm among fans. Some of them called for a boycott of the film, while others wanted a boycott of all things Marvel.
Moviefone recently interviewed Kirby’s former partner-in-crime, Stan Lee, concerning his upcoming documentary, With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. They took this opportunity to ask him his opinion concerning the lack of a Kirby credit on Avengers. Though he seemed a bit confused about the subject being brought up, he had this to say:
“I know, but you’re talking to the wrong guy because I have nothing to do with the credits on the movies. I’m credited as one of the executive producers because that’s in my contract. But Jack was not an executive producer. So I don’t know what he’d be credited as. Again I know nothing about that, I have nothing to do with the movie’s credits. You’d have to talk to whoever is the producer of the movie. Is there anything you want to ask me about the documentary because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be talking about.”
Apparently, all this controversy was for naught. Moviefone, who was privileged enough to get to attend a New York press screening of The Avengers, confirmed that Jack Kirby is indeed listed in the credits as co-creator.
This may not solve the issue of artists’ rights, but at least people can put this one to rest.