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Kirby Estate Goes after Marvel

Plus: SUPERMAN/BATMAN, KICK-ASS, WOLVERINE and More

By Rob M. Worley     September 21, 2009
Source: Various


Comics2Film: Jack Kirby
© Mania

The children of Jack Kirby have filed a suit against Marvel asserting termination of copyright on numerous Marvel properties. Plus: 'Superman/Batman' cast list. 'Kick-Ass' costumes. 'Wolverine' tells kids not to smoke and more! Seriously, kids. Smoking is bad for you and it annoys your Comics2Film 9.9.21!

 

 

WHITEOUT Gets Cold Shoulder at Box Office

As expected, the comic-based 'Whiteout' has disappeared from the top 10 in its second week of release. It dropped four places in the face of four new opening movies, to land at #11. The films second week domestic gross adds up to just shy of $8.5 million. Amazingly, it's not the worst-performing comic book movie of the past twelve months. That honor still falls to Marvel's 'Punisher War Zone', which never broke the $8 million mark in its three-week run.

While we're chart watching, it's interesting to note that 'G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra' fell only three places to #14. It also lost ground to the four newcomers, but gained a spot back against the reviled actioner 'Gamer'. 'Joe' has tallied up over $146 million domestically and over $285 million worldwide.

Thanks to Box Office Mojo for the numbers.

 

 

SUPERMAN/BATMAN Cast List

The World's Finest has a look at the full cast list for the upcoming direct-to-video 'Superman/Batman: Public Enemies'. The list provides some interesting insights about which characters will appear, although many have been announced already.

It's nice to see Black Lightning is in the mix (voiced by LeVar Burton). Hopefully this will mean some bling to creator Tony Isabella, who was notoriously screwed by the animation world when they simply created Black Vulcan on Super Friends to avoid any creator royalties issues.

Also interesting to note that Adrea Romano and Bruce Timm are providing voices in the show.

'Superman/Batman: Public Enemies' arrives on the home video market September 29th.

Thanks to CaptainSigma for the submission.

 

 

Mark Millar Addresses SUPERMAN Rumors

On his message boards, comic and film mogul Mark Millar said his recent comments about the 'Superman' movie may have been misinterpreted and that anyone talking about the details of his "pitch" on the project are probably lying. He posted:

1/ I don't think I said they couldn't afford me now. If I did I was joking because writing Superman would be a massive payday so if I said that I was obviously laughing at the time. It's possible though as I like being glib.

2/ Nobody has ever seen my Superman idea besides Matthew. We never pitched. I've never done a pitch in my life (it's demeaning) so all this stuff about people hating my Superman ideas, etc, is just bullshit. Nobody's seen it. I don't write or give ideas away for free and simply wouldn't. I mentioned a big epic idea to Empire in a Wanted interview which was a couple of lines long, but no story stuff at all. So the stuff about me pitching is nonsense. I don't and will never pitch. That's why I like working in comics.

Thanks to Matador for the submission.

 

 

WOLVERINE Tells Youngsters Not To Smoke

MTV Splash Page reports that the DVD and Blu-Ray release of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' will carry a public service announcement warning kids not to smoke.

Marvel has had a ban on depicting characters smoking in comics for years, but the Marvel movies have come under fire recently for tobacco use. 'Incredible Hulk' took some heat for its cigar-chomping villain. 'Wolverine' got some grief from the American Medical Association for showing the heroic character with a cigar during a few scenes.

Fox and director Gavin Hood decided that a PSA was a good way to offset any subliminal "pro-smoking" message viewers may be picking up on.

"My biggest fan on this movie is my nephew, who's 12 years old," Hood told MTV News. "You certainly don't want for that audience or any audience to suggest that smoking is cool, given what we now know about smoking, which was not the case 40 years ago when the comic book character was created. Given what we now know about the effects of smoking, someone at the studio had the idea that it might be an honorable thing to do."

 

 

Mintz-Plasse goes Glam Rock for KICK-ASS

Christopher Mintz-Plasse told MTV Splash Page that his costume in the movie owes a bit to 1980s glam rock. In the comics, the character's head is covered yet in the film he has some big, big hair poofing out of the top.

"[The look] fits for the character," Mintz-Plasse told MTV News, "The character is very in his dad's shadow. He doesn't get to hang out a lot with friends because he always has a bodyguard around. He kind of wanted that wild side—that '80s glam-rock kind of look. And I love [David] Bowie—I love that kind of hair."

 

 

Kirby Estate Challenges Marvel

Superman turns free agent! Marvel and Disney get Married! Warner Bros gives birth to DC Entertainment, Inc! Monkeys mate with robots! What more could happen to shake up the already tumultuous world of comics?

How about the children of Jack Kirby asserting a claim against the long term rights to numerous Marvel superheroes their father had a hand in creating.

Several sources, including the New York Times, are reporting that Kirby's heirs have filed at least 45 notices of copyright termination to various entertainment heavyweights including Marvel, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and other companies that have been using the characters.

The estate's play is backed by the attorneys at Toberoff & Associates, the same folks who are helping the heirs of Jerome Siegel wrest away the rights to Superman from DC/Warner Bros.

According to the Times, the filings, "expressed an intent to regain copyrights to some of Mr. Kirby’s creations as early as 2014."

Along with Stan Lee, Jack Kirby was the driving force behind the Marvel revolution of the 1960s. He had a hand in creating Fantastic Four, X-Men, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and a legion of other characters. Kirby's dynamic art style became the signature style of revitalized comics publishing and is widely recognized as a major reason for the success of the Marvel age of comics.

Still, the relationship between Kirby and Marvel deteriorated in the 1970s as the artist distanced himself from the company.

It's interesting that notices were sent to Sony, as its unclear which of Kirby's creations the studio is involved with. Spider-Man is one of the few classic Marvel characters that is not widely attributed to Kirby, although some have asserted that Kirby's previous character, "The Silver Spider" served as the inspiration for Spider-Man. The Silver Spider focused on an orphaned boy who goes to live with his aunt and uncle (not unlike Peter Parker) and discovers a magic ring that transforms him into a crime fighter. Kirby also provided the cover to Amazing Fantasy #15.

While Kirby may not have  claim against Spider-Man proper, it's possible that the estate is asserting claims against ancillary characters, such as villains which may be used.  The only other Marvel character that Sony seems to have attachment to would be 'Ghost Rider', which is in no way a Kirby creation.

The ruling seems unlikely to affect the Disney merger. The mouse house said in a statement, “the notices involved are an attempt to terminate rights 7 to 10 years from now, and involve claims that were fully considered in the acquisition.”

Other parties declined to comment for the Times.

Should the Kirby heirs succeed in regaining control of Marvel's flagship characters, it could cause a major shakeup for Marvel or Disney (if the merger is completed). A more likely scenario, however, would see Marvel making a lucrative deal with the heirs to continue servicing the characters.

 

 

Nic Cage SUPERMAN LIVES Costume Test?

What C2F is about to show you will likely prove upsetting to many of you. We advice small children, pregnant women and people with pace-makers to skip to the next story.

OK, so everyone remembers Tim Burton's 'Superman Lives' movie, which was going full steam ahead in the 1990s before Warner wisely pulled the plug on it. And everyone remembers that Nicolas Cage had been cast in the film in a famous eight-figure pay-or-play deal. You may even remember that Cage did costume tests for the movie before it was shut down.

Well, TimBurton.jp, who revealed many interesting bits of concept artwork and maquettes from that development effort earlier this year, have done it again. They have unveiled what is purported to be a photo from the actual costume test with Cage (a long-haired a la the post-resurrection Superman comics) in a shiny, shiny suit.

Look away! Look away!

 

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 28
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Matador 9/21/2009 8:40:52 AM

Damn Marvel is next on the list with the Legal Ugly Stick!

Wow ......... Tim Burton is a great director but WTF is was he thinking with Superman. LMAO Nic Cage LOL as Supes oooohhhhh I'm still tearing up. Man that was good.

It's like the time Jason Stratham wanted to play Daredevil sure he can fight but damn his gonna be wearing a wing the whole time.

monkeyfoot 9/21/2009 9:47:33 AM

Sounds like King Kirby's decendants just want a chance at a payday. Perfectly understandable. Jack didn't get fully compensated then but I imagine it will all come down to the most needling little legalities whether they get some.

Tim Burton's Superman: Thank Rao that didn't happen!

Wiseguy 9/21/2009 10:01:57 AM

That's the funniest Superman ever. Love Burton but damn, we dodged a bullet with Cage as Supes. Looks like Superman was sniffing some glue or something stronger for that shot

Why the f*ck haven't all these character ownership issues been settled already. I am so tired of this bull. I won't follow any characters taken out of the universe I've known them in. Superman out of the DCU or any Marvel character out of theirs I'm not buying those books.

I'd really like to know which characters they're aiming for. 45 is a lot, that could be almost everything he drew. I hope they don't get sh*t, greedy lazy f*ckers
 

monkeyfoot 9/21/2009 10:29:31 AM

Wiseguy, I don't think they want to take the characters anywhere else or do weird things with them.The Kirby kids, like the Siegels just want to collect a regular big liscensing fee for the use of them. I'm sure they could care less how Marvel/Disney keeps using them. Neither are creative types to my knowledge. Just like a guy who gets his foot run over by a millionaire's car on the street, they just want to collect.

KillerTomato 9/21/2009 10:33:46 AM

So the Kirby estate is following the Siegel estate.  Wanting a cash in from successful franchises...if these moveis weren't making major bank they wouldn't even have attempted something like that.  Though I actually see the Marvel franchise coming to a very agreeable term with the Kirby estate...I mean in recent years Marvel has made ammends with a lot of its previous creators, many of which said they'd never work for Marvel again...and well that didn't stick.  Marvel made a lot of mistakes in the past, but say what you will about Joe Quesada, he definitely made major strides in improving Marvel's image.  Plus with the Disney backing...well needless to say the Kirby estate will probably be getting a strong amount of pocket change...

Matador 9/21/2009 10:37:05 AM

I hope they give it to them in bags of pennies!

Wiseguy 9/21/2009 10:43:07 AM

The fact that Disney knew this and still proceeded with the acquisition of Marvel leads me to belive either that

1-Their case is weak

2-The characters aren't that important in the big scheme of things or

3-They believe an agreement will be reached

 

xenomorph 9/21/2009 11:10:51 AM

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! MY EYES! MY EYESS! NIC CAGE SUPERMAN AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gauleyboy420 9/21/2009 11:28:40 AM

I Love Burton....

AND

I LOVE Nic Cage...

BUT THANK THE STARS THIS NEVER SAW PRODUCTION!!!!!!

fft5305 9/21/2009 1:51:32 PM

That pic of Cage looks bogus.  I'm guessing it's a fake.  Not to mention, he looks stoned.  I think if you are doing a costume and/or screen test for the highest profile gig of your career to play an American icon, you'll be awake for it.  It looks like they took a Superman action figure, and Photoshopped in a screen cap of Cage's face from one of his movies. Maybe Leaving Las Vegas.  That would account for the stoned look...

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