Marvel fires back in Kirby estate’s bid to reclaim rights

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Jack Kirby Marvel characters Spider-Man X-Men Fantastic Four Hulk ThorUpdating a story from this past fall, The Associated Press is reporting today that Marvel has filed a lawsuit to hold onto the rights to superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

In September, the heirs to comic-book artist Jack Kirby sent copyright-termination notices to companies that have been making comic books, movies, toys and other works based on the characters, including Marvel, Disney, Sony Pictures, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount.

Kirby, who died in 1994, worked with writer-editor Stan Lee to create many of the most famous characters in comics. The properties are in demand in Hollywood, which has increasingly turned to the pages of comic books for blockbuster inspiration.

Marvel says the heirs’ claims are not valid because the work was “for hire.”

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