Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Jack Kirby Settlement Rumour

Over at the Bleeding Cool web-site, Rich Johnson has reported a rumour that was rife at the recent New York City Comic Con about the recent settlement between Marvel/Disney and the Jack Kirby Estate.  Johnson claims that, "..my very well-connected source defined the settlement as “eight figures. Mid eight figures.” Which leads me to believe we could be looking from anywhere between $30 million to $50 million either way the largest single sum settlement that any comic book creator’s estate has ever received for such a legal settlement in history." It's a good rumour but, in reality, that's all it is - a rumour - an unsubstantiated rumour, supposedly passed on by a 'unnamed' source 'close to the family'. 

The truth of the matter is as follows.  The actual terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement, and if anyone connected to the settlement breaches that  agreement then the deal can be declared null and void, thus putting the Kirby Estate at risk.  The same agreement applies in the recent settlement with Gary Friedrich Ghist Rider case. Some people know the true terms of the settlement but they won't be telling anyone connected to any rumour reporting web-site.  Thus amounts being bandied around are just a guess. Here's how the rumours start.  I can say that I heard from someone that Marvel gave the Kirby Estate one billion dollars and complete control over all of Jacks co-creations, but that doesn't make it fact.  I can say that part of the agreement is that the family will get all the profits from the next Avengers movie - doesn't make it truth.

As for the 'credit in the movies' claims, well, if you've been paying attention to the credit scrolls in the various Marvel blockbusters than you'd know that Jack Kirby has had a credit in those movies for a while now. His name is there. However nobody connected to comic books gets their names above the title in a major studio blockbuster (and I'm not talking about low budget indie films). Thus you won't see "Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four" at the cinema anytime soon.  Kirby's settlement was more than likely on a par with the Stan Lee settlement a while back, and I highly doubt that Kirby would have gotten any less of a monetary amount than was given to Lee.

The fact is that the only people who know the TRUE terms of the settlement are the people directly involved - the lawyers and the beneficiaries - and they're not going to be telling anyone what it is in any great hurry. But, by all means, keep reporting how someone 'connected to the family' are leaking the details. Name names. It'll only put the whole deal at risk.

2 comments:

Rich Johnston said...

"The fact is that the only people who know the TRUE terms of the settlement are the people directly involved - the lawyers and the beneficiaries - and they're not going to be telling anyone what it is in any great hurry."

Not everyone seems to be as fussy. I believe my source is impeccable in this regard, but they also know I have never revealed a source in 20-odd years of doing this.

Daniel Best said...

If indeed someone has leaked the terms of the settlement then they're putting the entire settlement at risk - a very, very foolish act.

As I've written, the credit part is neither here nor there - Jack Kirby was already getting credit on the movies, so that's nothing gained. And there was always going to be a cash payout, it's just the amount of that payout. I don't doubt that your 'source' is close to the family, but, really, there's nothing in that rumour that anyone with half a brain couldn't guess for themselves.