How the Copyright Act of 1976 Left Comic Artists, Like Jack Kirby, at the Mercy of Big Studios

Oct 24, 2016

In late August Marvel announced that it would be celebrating Kirby week: in honor  of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby’s 99th birthday.  But Jack Kirby, who died in 1994, wasn’t on good terms with company that distributed his work.

Even if you’ve never read a comic in your life - there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Stan Lee, the creator of characters like Spiderman and Iron Man. It’s less likely that you’ve heard of Jack Kirby.

Portrait of Jack Kirby.
Credit Jason Garrattley via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/6Tn7ij

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee worked together at Marvel for almost a decade - they came up with the X-Men and the Hulk. And you may have heard of another character Kirby co-created: his name is…Captain America.

But for nearly 20 years Marvel and Jack Kirby engaged in harsh public  battle over creative rights and fair compensation.

Related: Stephen Bissette’s book S.R. Bissette’s How to Make a Monster is due out next year.

Asher Elbien's article for The Atlantic: “Marvel, Jack Kirby, and the Comic-book Artist’s Plight