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Criticwire

From the Wire: The Legacy of Stan Lee

  • By Matt Singer
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  • May 15, 2012 1:42 PM
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  • 1 Comment
This is a really strange time to be a lifelong comic book fan. On the one hand, all your nerd dreams are coming true: geeks are cool and superheroes are mainstream. On the other hand, the success of comic book movies hasn't really trickled down to the comic book industry, which continues to struggle with flagging sales (up slightly this year, but down 13% from five years ago and 31% from fifteen years ago, according to Comichron.com). What's worse, many of the men who made these comics in the first place are seeing no financial reward from their remarkable success. "The Avengers" is now the fastest movie to gross $1 billion in history and exactly none of that goes to the estate of Jack Kirby, the man who co-created "The Avengers" with Stan Lee back in 1963. And while that's not legally wrong -- Kirby created "The Avengers" as a freelancer performing a work for hire for Marvel, which means all his artwork and concepts belong to the company and not the artist -- it sure doesn't feel too good.