Disney-owned Marvel is suing relatives of Steve Ditko and other Marvel comics creators to retain control of classic characters, including Iron Man, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Black Widow.
The lawsuits, covered earlier today by The Hollywood Reporter, were filed in New York and California against the heirs of Steve Ditko, Don Rico, Don Heck, and Gene Colan, as well as Stan Lee’s brother and Marvel collaborator Lawrence Lieber. They ask courts to declare that Disney has sole ownership of comics like The Avengers, Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Strange Tales, and Tales of Suspense — including the characters and story elements that have formed the basis for Disney’s lucrative Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, the suits follow Lieber and others sending termination notices to reclaim part of the rights on many Marvel characters. They’re an attempt to head off litigation that might follow from those notices.