At this precise moment, the two Marvel superheroes that are on everyone’s lips are Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, just because both are about to return to the big screen under the interpretation of Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch through Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Among so many theories that have emerged about the multiverse, expectations grow more and more every day.
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In the world of comics, a few days ago it was confirmed that in the Death of Doctor Strange series, all the repercussions that the death of the superhero will bring will be explored, as well as the need to find a new Supreme Sorcerer, which will happen in the issue to be released in December of this year. They are now undoubtedly the two most profitable Marvel Studios characters in both film and graphic novels, but this would be at risk of being taken away from them.
Although both superheroes certainly belong to the company, the relatives and heirs of one of its co-creators would be seeking to recover their copyright. According to what has been reported in Comic Book, Steve Ditko’s family has begun to proceed legally to regain the rights to Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, and this will be a long road for all that it entails. But now The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Disney has responded with a lawsuit against him and others against the heirs of Stan lee and Gene Colan.
In 1962 Stan Lee and Steve Ditko brought Spider-Man to the pages of Marvel Comics making his debut in Amazing Fantasy # 15, and a year later Stephen Strange would arrive through Strange Tales # 110. Although it seems clear that being the creators of the characters they have all the right over them, the reality is that it depends on the way in which the work was carried out. Legally, if an artist or writer creates a character and then sells it to a company, he is the owner; But if, on the other hand, the character is created while the author works for the company, it is the company to which the rights belong.
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In the specific case of the young arachnid and the Supreme Sorcerer, they arose when Ditko was already working for Marvel, which makes them “custom” jobs, but reports indicate that the family is willing to fight legally to obtain the rights based on a Copyright law of 1976 where the creator has the power to terminate the rights to his work, even if they have been previously assigned to another person or entity. This is what Disney is hoping to prevent with its lawsuits against the creators’ relatives. The company hopes to dispute whether they were created at the request of the comic book firm or not.
The truth is that this will be a long and difficult process for the plaintiffs, and they may not get much for it either, but it is likely that they will reach important financial agreements. In fact, what they would get if they win is not just to keep them and keep them in a corner of their house, but that everything that arises about them (movies, series, cartoons, and other merchandise) gives them the opportunity of acquiring a significant percentage of the profits they generate.
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In this case, Patrick J. Ditko, the artist’s nephew, presented notices stating that they specifically seek to rescind the Amazing Fantasy # 15 and Strange Tales # 110 stories, as both are origin stories on which much of the tapes are based and feature characters fundamentals like Wong or Aunt May and Uncle Ben. This would not be the first time that the company has faced these types of claims; In previous years he had a similar encounter with Jack Kirby’s family, but after proving that his projects were carried out when he was working for Marvel, the company won. Although it is not known if they reached a monetary agreement, the next release of Eternals has made several think that it was.
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