More creators targeted by Disney and Marvel over comics copyrights

Contributed by
Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

It wasn't very long ago that we were talking about Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich's woes over character ownership. Marvel took the rights away from him and slapped him with a big, fat lawsuit. It looks like that may have been only the beginning.

If you're not familiar with the creator-owned series Starstruck, let's break down the necessary info. Starstruck is a sci-fi comic series created by Elaine Lee and Mike Kaluta. It was briefly part of a creator-owned Marvel line, called Epic, before ultimately finding its way to other publishers like Dark Horse and IDW Publishing.

So Lee and Kaluta should control rights to that property, right? Not so, says Marvel, which issued a cease-and-desist letter. Outspoken comic creator Steve Bissette posted a letter written by Elaine Lee regarding what had happened:

"Look, I'll say it now. Kaluta and I, just week before last, received a letter from a Marvel/Disney attorney, challenging our rights to Starstruck, a project that was briefly with Marvel/Epic, supposedly their creator-owned imprint, almost three decades ago. Since then, we've been published by Dark Horse and IDW. This has sent us rummaging through 30-year-old documents, looking for proof that we own what we own. We've found several letters that back up our claim that the rights were returned to us, and things seem to have quieted down, but we are still looking for more 'just in case.' You don't screw around with The Mouse."

Is this merely an error on Marvel and Disney's part? Or is it another salvo in what could easily become a war between the House of Mouse and comic creators everywhere?

(via Bleeding Cool)