It appears that Marvel have offered Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich a settlement, thus ending the lengthy case which had previously bankrupted the veteran writer. The details of the settlement have not been offered to the public, but Friedrich’s attorney has informed a federal New York judge that the case can now be dismissed.


Hopefully this is good news for Friedrich, whose battle for rights over the Ghost Rider came to a head in 2007, when the first movie was released. There was sniping on both sides, with Friedrich suing Marvel and then  Marvel counter-suing Freidrich and, well, let Jeff Trexler explain it all in more detail.

Interestingly enough, however, writer Bob Layton – best known for his work on Iron Man, aspects of which were reflected in the subsequent film releases – has also taken to Twitter to announce that Marvel have also made a settlement with HIM over a character issue. Referencing David Michelinie in his tweet, this almost certainly refers to the ‘Demon in a Bottle’ storyline he wrote.

I wonder if we’ll see other creators revealing settlements over the next few weeks. It looks like some new policy might have come in, and hopefully it’s one which will give all creators the best possible deal.


  1. Just take care of your creators corporate comics and you won’t have these kinds of problems ever again. Give them bonuses, rewards, benefits for creating original ideas for your spinning grinding wheel of entertainment if you won’t offer them copyright ownership. These creators are putting dollars in your pockets, do something for them before it gets ugly.

  2. The Corporate Masters are a double-edged sword. On the one hand are the asymmetry they can bring to bear against individuals. On the other is that they have high (total in some cases) regard for risk management. And in many of these cases, there is some significant potential risk exposure.

    Nice to see Friedrich and Layton taken care of.

  3. On the subject of these copyright cases, what is it like for comics creators in other countries? Seems to me a lot of Japanese creators make a lot of money, but I don’t know if they retain any copyright or if they just have a deal to be cut in on profits with the publisher.

  4. Japanese comics creators retain copyright on their works. But so do most American comics creators, just not those working on licensed characters.

  5. It is great to see the folks who, you know, actually made comics benefit from the flood of dollars their creations have brought in. There’s no reason why comics can’t operate under the same rules as TV and other media.


  6. While one wishes every worker to get a reward(so this is good news) it’s just a shame that other professions like scientists, engineers, designers etc don’t get any benefit from their creations even though arguably their creations are of more benefit to humanity than media output.
    Wonder why why we don’t see anybody making as much fuss for their rights as we do for comic books.
    For example my contract states everything I create(even in my own time) ,if it has the slightest connection to the business of my employer it belongs to them(and this is pretty much standard in engineering field).

  7. David, that is a standard in other fields, too. Some companies (and industries) are very protective of their employees’ creations. I understand the intent of this contract stuff, (if you invent a new product on the bus ride home, it is still not yours, because the company expects that they are sponsoring your ideas with their paycheques and equipment) but it can get onerous.

  8. Maybe, the Efforts of these 2, Brave Guys
    will , finally, open a Door for the Jack Kirby Estate.
    Jillian Kirby,Jack’s youngest Grand Daughter has begun “Kirby4Heroes”,
    in an effort to assist Members of the Comic Book Industry
    who are in Need.(See Her FaceBook page for all the details.
    The “Hero Initiative” is supported through Her Work , as well.)
    She never met Her Grand Father, but has come to understand the lives of people like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and many others , who probably feel forgotten (and i am not educated enough to know all of them to include. i don’t wish to ignore any of the men and women who have given so much to my memories,creativity, and present life.)
    Thank you for writing this Article.
    i am very Glad for These Creators.
    i wonder about the case of Bill Finger, and His “Creation” of The Bat-Man ; will anything come down to His Estate and Heirs.
    Again, i am not expert, but i feel somewhat convinced that
    Bill Finger had a huge involvement in Bat-Man, and Bob Kane
    never came through on His Promises to Mr. Finger.
    i Hope The Best for all of these who are Heroes, to me…

  9. Al wrote: “Some companies (and industries) are very protective of their employees’ creations…(if you invent a new product on the bus ride home, it is still not yours, because the company expects that they are sponsoring your ideas with their paycheques and equipment) but it can get onerous.”

    My dad was a university professor in analytical chemistry and part of his employment agreement was that in addition to teaching, he was obligated to conduct research, write papers, run the lab, etc. Anything he discovered – because he was salaried, tenured and received health coverage and things like that, and because he was using the university’s labs and equipment – the school would own but he would get credit and royalties in perpetuity should the discovery yield cash in some form.

    He did push some research projects forward to the next level, but nothing that would get him “Eureka!” loot.

    I’ve worked in places where I was presented with documents to sign that would grant all my off-site independent work to the employer, but they were easy to negotiate down to much more acceptable terms.

  10. Gary Friedrich is VERY lucky that Marvel did this and didn’t go with leaving him destitute from the court case he lost against them…

  11. Most people, I believe, think of Layton as an artist rather than a writer — though he did write and draw the two Hercules mini-series in the ’70s/’80s and he and Michelenie co-plotted their Iron Man runs.

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