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REACTION AND ACTION-->Blank Panther?: Jack Kirby, Blackness and the American Dream

Blank Panther?: Jack Kirby, Blackness and the American Dream


The recent decision against the Kirby estate was not unexpected. The rules governing copyright are in some minds, regressive and suppress creativity. Fairness aside, should we allow a corporation to own the fruits of creative labor forever? It is a question worth asking. If the creator can never get their creation back, should they create? It is an argument that this decision is not going to do anything to solve. Regardless, the significant of Kirby's work remains despite the owner. Back in February, when I was reflecting on Black Panther and Kirby for Black History Month, it was impossible to escape the significant of Kirby's vision and the continuing power his work has shaping modern comics. Dynamite Entertainment's recent publication of Kirby: Genesis means that Kirby family will benefit from Jack Kirby genius in very real way in the coming months and years. The bitter feelings from this decision cannot deny Kirby's importance, but it does serve to once again highlight questions about corporate power and individual rights. Faced with the choice of making a living through a creative endeavor as an employee of a "big business" or going it alone and risking not every achieving the dream, many people sign on to create for a "DISNEY" or some other media giant. If the creation is successful, they are forever struggling to get their "fair share" of the profit. This is at the heart of every confrontation between writers, directors, and producers in past labor negotiations over the last five years. This struggle will continue as the digital revolution requires content for myriad platforms. The irony is that while the Kirby estate may have loss the battle, the war between creators and owners of the system is not going away. If anything, Kirby's loss will heighten awareness among creators that they must be aware of their rights. With the emergence of digital opening the door for more and more creators, Kirby's greatest legacy make be to remind creators to safeguard their creations.

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