Just received 50 page judgment of the United States Southern District Court of NY in Marvel vs Kirby and counterclaim Kirby vs Marvel.

Grants plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment against Kirby, and denies Kirby’s motion for summary judgment against Marvel.

Key quotes:

The expert opinions of Mark Evanier and John Morrow on behalf of Kirby were roundly dismissed as hearsay.

The court paper goes into Marvel’s business practices with regard to creation of comics and payment of freelancers in detail, so it’s worth a read for that alone.

A 1972 agreement signed by Kirby reads:

And a 1986 document signed by Kirby:

VERY important note here: the “instance and expense test” is applied. I could be wrong about how I’m reading this, but that may be very important for future WFH lawsuit decisions.

If you have ever hired an avaricious also-ran to do minor work, this is great news for you if the also-ran climbs out of the woodwork 30 years later and wants the whole copyright enchilada.

If you are a primary creator doing major work for a big publisher: um, not so good.

Speak up if I’m misunderstanding here.

The conclusion:


Plaintiffs (Marvel) motion for summary judgment granted. Defendant (Kirby) cross motion summary judgment denied. Morrow and Evanier export reports are stricken. Plaintiff’s motion to strike Sinnot and Steranko testimony denied.

Click on link below to go to pdf of court decision. Then click on KIRBY DECISION to download PDF.

Kirby decision