Marvel Comics just settled with the estate of Jack Kirby. This isn't surprising but it is disappointing for those of us rooting for Jack Kirby and other silver and golden era artists. At issue is a legal concept called work-for-hire. To put it simply, if Jack Kirby was doing work-for-hire for Marvel then Marvel owns...one hell of a lot. If not, then the estate of Jack Kriby owns one hell of a lot. :)
On paper, Marvel was on a roll. In the last court battle the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Marvel on the matter but the Kirby estate petitioned the Supreme Court to review that decision. And they got help from respected lawyer Tom Goldstein with their petition. Goldstein is famous, even among non-lawyers, for starting and writing the SCOTUSblog, a go to blog for anyone interested in what Supreme Courts cases are all about in plain language. His help was apparently successful. The Supreme Court scheduled a conference to discuss granting the Kirby petition and then...Marvel settled out of court. Good news for the Kirby estate but bad news for those of us who've been wanting justice for independent cartoonists for some time now.
Old news from when we all had hope:
Goldstein's petition on scotusblog, a beautiful argument for justice for artists of the golden and silver age.