Some of the most cherished names in comic book history, from Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk to the X-Men and Fantastic Four, have found themselves locked in a new battle over who owns the characters’ copyrights.
The children of comic book artist Jack Kirby have filed to regain copyrights to these characters just weeks after Disney bought Marvel Comics for $4 billion.
Forty-five notices of transfer of copyright have been filed by law firm Toberoff and Associates and have been served to Marvel, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.
The heirs served the notices under the auspices of the U.S. Copyright Act, which permits authors and their heirs to terminate old copyright grants after a long waiting period, allowing them to recapture the rights for their own use.