After years and years of trials, appeals, and rumors over what would or would not happen, Jack Kirby's heirs have, at long last, settled out of court with Marvel.
In case you didn't know, artist and comic legend Jack Kirby is responsible for the creation of many of Marvel's heaviest-hitting characters. The problem is that what Kirby did at the time seems to fall under the auspices of contract work -- meaning, essentially, it doesn't matter what his brain came up with while under contract, because Marvel owns it.
But, with Kirby sadly deceased, his estate and heirs have continued to fight so that Marvel will finally pay up what they feel is due for all those characters ol' King Kirby was responsible for creating.
And while the court process was mostly one hundred miles of bad road, the Kirby estate plugged along. With a potential SCOTUS hearing on the horizon over the possibility that the Kirby estate could legally issue termination notices on 262 of Jack's works, it seems that Marvel has finally given in, at least a little.
In a joint statement, Marvel and the Kirby heirs had this to say:
Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.
While the specifics of the settlement will likely remain undisclosed, best guess says Marvel and Disney paid the Kirbys a significant sum. Considering there was even a tiny possibility that Marvel could have had to retroactively cough up the dough for most of their hugely successful movies, it makes sense that they finally made a deal. Plus, we imagine the Kirbys are probably exhausted of fighting this lengthy legal battle.
The result? Jack Kirby actually kind of got his due, albeit posthumously. Which isn't an insignificant victory, considering all the other comics creators out there who are hoping they'll finally get paid for adaptations of their work.