Thursday, March 18, 2010

News links....

Here's a "news dump" for a couple of links of note....

Kirby Heirs Sue for Copyright
From one of my primary comics/pop culture news sources, Heidi MacDonald's Comics Beat, comes the news that the heirs of the late Jack "King" Kirby, who is credited with creating or co-creating many of Marvel Comics' most iconic characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, etc., have filed for partial copyright ownership of the characters.

This was not unexpected and has been part of a broader trend. This action is based on copyright law revisions made decades ago that gave creators an opportunity to terminate transfers of copyright 35 years after the transfer in order to re-claim ownership of a property. The action by the Kirby estate follows similar action taken by the heirs to Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster against DC Comics/Warner Brothers, which remains ongoing and unresolved. (The heirs recently received some ownership of Superboy.)

Adding to the drama, of course, is the fact that Disney recently purchased Marvel, and has a history of aggressively protecting their properties. (They recently won a major judgment against the Winnie the Pooh estate.)

Interview with Disney Director Don Hahn
The Animation Magazine website has posted from the print publication an interview with Disney animation director Don Hahn, who played a role in Disney's animation feature renaissance during the 1980s that began with Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and which Pixar has continued in spirit.

The interview coincides with a documentary that Hahn actively participated in called Waking Sleeping Beauty about the intense backstage politics and maneuverings the directors, artists and creative talent had to navigate within the Disney studio to get their features made. Though Hahn clearly looks back at those days with pride and fondness, there nevertheless was a lot of the kind of intensity and competition Hollywood is famous for—understandable given the amount of money at stake—that involved even the people at the very top including Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Roy Disney. Nevertheless, with hindsight Hahn is able to say something positive about nearly everyone and even learned new things himself about what was happening behind the scenes during the making of the documentary.

Backing into Forward
Last Sunday's Los Angeles Times Arts and Culture section had a nice article on Jules Feiffer, coinciding with the release of an autobiography, Backing Into Forward: A Memoir. I'll be picking it up at some point, if for not other reason than to read about his years working with Will Eisner (which the L.A. Times article mentions).

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