According to reports on The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel is suing the heirs of certain comic book geniuses, including Stan Lee, his brother and Marvel collaborator Lawrence Lieber, Steve Ditko and Gene Colan, Don Rico, Don Heck, to keep control over the ‘Avengers’ characters. The lawsuits are asking the courts to declare that Disney is the sole owner of comics like The Avengers, Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Strange Tales and Tales of Suspense, including the characters and story elements that formed the base of the MCU.
As THR notes that the lawsuits follow Lieber and others who send termination notices to reclaim some of the rights to the many Marvel characters.
If the studio loses the battle, it will have to share ownership of the billions worth characters.
In August, Ditko’s estate filed a termination notice on Spider-Man. Under the termination provisions of copyright law, authors or their heirs can claim the rights once granted to publishers after waiting for a period of time defined by law.
According to the termination notice, Marvel is expected to relinquish Ditko’s rights to his iconic character in June 2023.
Artists and writers, along with their families, have fought repeated legal battles for the rights of iconic comic book characters. Most recently, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster made an unsuccessful termination attempt against DC.
On the cinema side, the studio is preparing for the release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. They also have “Eternals” coming out on Diwali and a long list of movies from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” to “Thor: Love and Thunder”, “Fantastic Four” and many more.