By Michael Doran
posted: 03 August 2009 05:23 pm ET
UPDATED at Monday, 8/3/09 at 7:30pm EST: Monday evening Newsarama received a telephone call from Kirby Estate Attorney Paul S. Levine, less than two hours after our attempt to reach him, informing us he was returning our call at his earliest possible convenience.
Levine, who formerly represented Jack and Roz Kirby from 1981 through 1987 prior to the creator's death in 1994, and now represents the creator's estate on behalf of Lisa Kirby, told Newsarama that Tedd Kessler, Esq., attorney for Joe Simon, had been informed and approving of negotiations between himself and Nick Barrucci regarding the Fighting American "from the very beginning" and every step of the way for several months prior to the Comic-Con announcement, including the drafting of contracts for the deal between Dynamite, the Kirby Estate, and Simon, unsigned at the time of the announcement.
Levine stated that Simon should have no way been surprised about the Comic-Con announcement, as implied Simon’s statement [below] that he "found out" about the deal from the Comic Book Resources story.
While he confirmed the Kirby Estate will not longer participate in a Fighting American project at Dynamite in observance of Joe Simon's wishes and due in part to the strong language being used by Simon in condemning it, Levine added that Lisa Kirby and the Kirby Estate remain supportive of Barrucci and Dynamite, and committed to the publisher's planned revival of the "Kirby-verse", involving characters whose trademark and copyright are the sole property the Estate, including Captain Victory and Silver Star.
Original Story: A plan to revive the classic 1950's Jack Kirby/Joe Simon patriotic superhero The Fighting American by Dynamite Entertainment might have hit a snag - the catch being permission by co-creator/comics legend Joe Simon to use the trademarked character, and now the estate of Jack Kirby tells Newsarama they will not be participating in a Fighting American project at Dynamite either.
Simon, through a release by his licensing manager Jim Simon Sunday, August 2nd, publicly denied giving permission to Dynamite's Nick Barrucci to use the character's likeness in a new publication, despite the publisher's announcement last week at Comic-Con International: San Diego of the new project, apparently with the blessing and cooperation of Paul Levine, an attorney for the Jack Kirby estate.
Announced at their Comic-Con panel and in more detail last weekend by Comic Book Resources, Dynamite plans to bring the character back in a new unspecified project or series of projects, under the guiding artistic hand of Alex Ross.
"This is something we've been working on for a couple of years now," Barrucci told CBR. "We started talking to Joe Simon himself, and met with him and his attorney Ted Kessler, and then the conversation went to Lisa Kirby and Lisa's attorney Paul Levine. From there, it's just been a very long conversation."
Levine was present for and a participant at the Comic-Con panel where the project was announced to the press and public, but at least according to Jim Simon, the announcement of a project came as a surprise to Joe Simon.
"It is true that Mr. Barrucci started with talks with Joe Simon, but Simon turned down Dynamite’s proposal in no uncertain terms," writes Jim Simon in a press release published by Kirby & Simon blogger Harry Mendryk. "Apparently Mr. Barrucci did not know the meaning of the word no and he proceeded anyway. Joe only found out the supposed deal when it appeared on Comic Book Resources."
The release concludes with this quote from Joe Simon: "There are some penciled covers of Fighting American by Mr. Ross that are printed in the story without copyright notice. I find that damaging, as is the whole fake story."
In a brief conversation with Joe Simon Monday afternoon, the creator confirmed the release and reiterated this project was announced without his approval or participation, adding that more statements from him regarding this situation will be forthcoming.
Newsarama also spoke with Lisa Kirby Monday afternoon, who informed us the Kirby estate will no longer be participating in a Fighting American project at Dynamite.
Barrucci did not have an immediate response when contacted by Newsarama about this story.
Look for further details on this story as its develops...
The Fighting American Images Copyright Jack Kirby & Joe Simon
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