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Jack Kirby And Marvel Comics

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Marvel Comics

Jack KirbyMost of you already know that a federal judge ruled in favor of Disney/Marvel and against the estate of Jack Kirby in their claim for copyright termination for 45 characters Kirby either created or co-created.

Naturally, there has been some reaction to this as we all await what the next step will be in what one can only assume is an ongoing, sad, and unnecessary struggle.

Here are some links if you want to follow along:

Michael Dean at The Comics Journal - which has a history with Kirby and was instrumental in helping Jack get what was left of his art back from Marvel in the 1980s and exposing how Marvel was extorting his signature - does the heavy lifting on the ruling.

Dean also wrote a summing up of Kirby’s 1980s-era battle with Marvel over the return of his original art.

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Weekend Reading: Kirby, Dick Tracy, Godzilla & Jimmy Olsen

Jimmy Olsen 1Everyone but me is at WonderCon this weekend. And I know this because of all the Facebook updates and Tweets that keep showing up in my inbox.

For those of us not walking the con floor and buying comics and debating the future of comics, let’s see if there’s something we can read:

Superman: Nikki Finke prints the letter that the late Joanne Siegel sent to Warner Bros. regarding the Siegel estate’s ongoing legal battle over Superman.

For those in need of some history about the current incarnation of the Warner empire, it begins with Kinney Parking Company which “was a New Jersey parking lot company owned by Manny Kimmel, Sigmund Dornbusch and mob figure Abner Zwillman. Prior to its public listing in 1960, it merged with a funeral home company, Riverside, and then expanded into car-rentals, office cleaning firms and construction companies."

Kinney National Services, Inc. “which was formed in 1966 when the Kinney Parking Company and the National Cleaning Company merged. The new company was headed by Steve Ross."

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Steve Perry: Aliens, Predators and Men In Black

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Dark Horse Comics

steveperryNot too long ago, I was hired by a big time TV producer to ghostwrite a book for him. He had a screenplay that had been sent around and remained unsold and he wanted to try working backwards—convert the screenplay into a book, sell the book, get the book optioned and then sell the screenplay. Stranger things have happened, and he had enough contacts and name-value to give it a strong shot.

I read the screenplay and we met for lunch at one of those nearly trendy places where you’ll likely see Bronson Pinchot eating an egg-white omelet and Tori Spelling ordering half of a flour tortilla. The intended audience for the book was to be Young Adult. We discussed tone and he was very clear—somewhere between Holes and Men In Black. I’d seen the whole Holes movie (and read the book), and I’d seen both of the Men In Black movies. (Today’s MIB trivia:I had also been the editor of the original Men In Black comics back in the stone age of comics and still keep in touch with MIB creator Lowell Cunningham.)

After the meeting, I went to a used bookstore as quickly as possible—except that they don’t exist anymore. So I went to Amazon and ordered a copy of the Men In Black novelization. I wanted to see how someone else had done the job with a similar property. I liked what I read and was impressed by how many little details the author had added while keeping the tone of the movie. He had also done an excellent job of capturing the personalities of J and K, which is no easy task. That author was Steve Perry, and I studied his approach the way others might Stephanie Meyer or a certain Rowling. Without realizing it, he was helping me follow in his footsteps.

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