It’s on! Or it will be in November, when a POSSIBLE 8 person jury gets to decide if Gary Friedrich or Marvel own Ghost Rider:

Eight jurors will decide this fall if Marvel actually owns the copyright to Ghost Rider or not. That was the order (read it here) issued today by a federal judge who set trial for November 4. The decision by District Judge Katherine Forrest in NYC comes just over two weeks after the Second Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 ruling of hers in Marvel’s favor in the legal battle with former freelancer Gary Friedrich over the fiery motorcycle-riding superhero. Marvel’s lawyers indicated today in a courtroom conference meeting on the case that while they will not challenge the Appeals Court decision, they would seek to have the case handled without a jury in a motion to be filed at a later date.

Marvel doesn’t want a jury because this court almost always rules favorably for corporate interests. However before you start thinking about a heartwarming little guy, Spider-Man vs Galactus victory here, as our own Jeff Trexler pointed out, the appeals court ruling wasn’t so much a win for Friedrich as a loss for Marvel. Friedrich’s ownership claim faces a steep uphill battle.

UPDATE: The Beat’s legal advisor Jeff Trexler has passed along the actual order and points out that contrary to all the other reports a jury trial is NOT a done deal.

The court’s scheduling order does not state that the November trial will be a jury trial. It states that the parties have through July 3, 2013 to file motions as to whether there should be a jury trial or a bench trial. The judge may very well agree to a jury trial, but as of now certitude on the matter would appear to be premature.

Read it here


  1. Jury would be awesome. The theft and entitlement of these big corporations engage in needs to be countered. Whether he totally owns the character or not, he should get his share or royalties when they keep making money off it. As you can see from Marvel’s record since the 70’s, invention of a long lasting character is not an easy thing, he should not be struggling for money now rather enjoying some of the fruits of his labor. Something more fair.

  2. As you can see from Marvel’s record since the 70′s, invention of a long lasting character is not an easy thing. . .

    That depends entirely upon the context. If someone writes a story (not necessarily a novel) which is reprinted/kept in print for decades, he or she has created a long-lasting character. But the character is part of the story. Mystery novelists fairly often write series, because a new mystery for the sleuth to solve gives a reader a new experience.

    In the case of superheroes, publishers are continually fiddling with the characters, making changes to their costumes, retconning their histories, putting new people in the costumes. In the case of DC and their crises, the revamps of the heroes make wondering whether they’re the same characters more than a semantics issue. And in the case, say, of Steve Englehart’s Vision and John Byrne’s white-skinned Vision, the two characters were so different that they might as well have been treated as entirely separate beings.

    And aging a hero by, say, ten years or more would inevitably create, for artistic purposes, a new character unless the creator described the changes in his life to establish for the reader that this was the same person, just older and changed by his experiences.

    Any character is just an idea until a writer develops that idea in a story. Superman is a wildly successful and well-known property; he’s also a so-so character. Making money off (exploiting) the property is entirely separate from using the character for artistic purposes in a story.


  3. See what you mean I think….maybe Wolverine is the better example. The Ghost Rider that works and whose imagery has continued is what’s debated . obviously he feels he created him in a way that merits shared benefits from the character that got a following . visualizing an iconic character isn’t just part of the job even though they go through variations. This will be an interesting case to follow, hope he comes out on top. Ghost Rider made the old Defenders comics interesting,

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