Sunday, September 28, 2014

A little bit on the Disney/Marvel-Jack Kirby settlement...

I spent a great deal of time over the weekend on Facebook reading Kurt Busiek's responses to another Jack Kirby fan's skepticism over the Disney/Marvel-Jack Kirby family amicable settlement.  I couldn't read the fan's comments (he earned a block for excessive negativity a while back), only Busiek's replies.  Which were lengthy and not in the least combative.  He just explained-- much more patiently than I ever could, and certainly more cogently-- why the fan was badly mistaken this is somehow a bad thing.  Or at the very least why someone with zero stakes involved would get upset about it when both Disney/Marvel and the Kirby family, with major stakes involved, both seem so pleased with the outcome.

Late in the game another fan added some commentary.  Busiek jousted with him as well and knocked him off his horse more than once.  Each time the game fan remounted and took up his lance, only to have it blunted and knocked aside no matter what attack he chose.  Greedy heirs*.  WHACK.  Stick to a contract, even a lousy one.  WHOMP.  Copyright law was meant to do something else.  KRACK.  If I pay you to build a house...  THUMP.

The last I saw before averting my eyes the fan was hurtling himself down the tilting lane, this time without even a horse.  The horse had long since retired to the clubhouse for some hot toddies and a massage.  I believe the fan had armed himself with the only weapon he had left in his arsenal, a wet noodle, which he was waving around while shouting, "Now we'll never have a New Gods movie!" 

I just couldn't watch any longer.

So I started drawing.  I drew all day and into the night.  I drew that lousy Hulk you see below.  That version is number four of four.  The first three suffered fates more ignominious than the naysaying arguments in the Facebook thread.  When you consider how many outright shitty drawings I've posted here over the last few months or even years, you can imagine just how bad something must be if I don't even try to post it.  Pretty bad.

But what's pretty good is this settlement between Disney/Marvel and Jack Kirby's family.  I can't see anything negative about it for either party, cannot fathom why anyone would naysay it.  I see it as a major win-win situation for both the big corporation and the little family that could.  The Kirbys get to enjoy some of the fruits of Jack Kirby's decades-long labor, Disney/Marvel can add the Kirbys to their marketing plans for all their future movie and multi-media extravaganzas along with Stan Lee. 

After all, Kirby's fantastic creations aren't the only things marketable here.  The man himself is an amazing story of unrelenting creativity and hard work spanning generations.  The guy co-created Captain America with Joe Simon then went off and fought in the last good war, for Thor's sake.  You want to show him off, and Stan, too:  "Look at what these plucky, grandfatherly guys did for all of us.  Enjoy their work and buy a lot of our licensed stuff, which we will produce at a record-breaking pace, relatively guilt-free for a change."

Disney/Marvel may be paying out to his family, but they're going to cash in on this, too.  I've never been opposed to that.  I just wanted the guy who made that possible for them to get a little more than the kick in the pants he got way back when.  Since he's not around anymore, giving it to his children and grandchildren is the best of all possible things.  If you can't grasp that, you are an alien to me.  Or I am to you.  Norin Radd, at your service.

Settling like this makes good business sense.  And it feels good to this fan, too.  Thanks to this and the things I've heard about Marvel's relationship with Bill Mantlo (the guy who made that little Guardians of the Galaxy movie possible in the first place), I have warm, gooshy feelings about Disney/Marvel I've never had before!

*In the interest of accuracy, if not engaging storytelling and myth-making, this point may have come from someone else, in another thread or even on another site entirely.

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