Saturday, October 11, 2014

Settling With Jack Kirby's Family Won't Hurt Disney
Plus, Marvel Unveils "Secret Wars" at New York Comic-Con

By +Tim Beyers 

As I write this, +New York Comic Con is underway at the Javits Center in Manhattan. More on that in a bit. First, I want to focus on Disney’s settlement of its legal differences with the family of the late, great Jack Kirby. 

+Heidi MacDonald of the The Beat has an expansive commentary on the settlement itself, which you can find in the feed to the right. I won’t duplicate her work. Rather, I want to comment on the financial impact to Disney. I’m expecting it to be zero. 

Or at best, a rounding error. 

Fans won’t like reading that any more than I like writing it. But if we’re going to be honest about this business -- and we should be -- then it’s important to remember that Disney paid $4 billion for Marvel with the intent of leveraging an untapped (and unencumbered!) portfolio of intellectual property. Had there been a reasonable risk of losing rights to the Kirby family, or being dealt a serious financial blow, Disney would have been forced to disclose it in SEC filings. I’ve yet to see anything like that. Instead, the House of Mouse makes generic reference to ongoing litigation in its communications with investors. Here’s the latest statement, which you can find on page 19 of the latest 10-Q quarterly report

“The Company, together with, in some instances, certain of its directors and officers, is a defendant or co-defendant in various other legal actions involving copyright, breach of contract and various other claims incident to the conduct of its businesses. Management does not believe that the Company has incurred a probable, material loss by reason of any of the above actions.” 

Any “material” payouts to the Kirbys will be noted in Disney’s upcoming in the upcoming 10-K annual report, which should be available just before Thanksgiving. In the meantime, if you’re the curious type who likes reading legal briefs, Justia has a link to the last major decision in Marvel Characters vs. Kirby

New York Comic-Con news highlights 
Now, let’s dig into some of the more interesting headlines from NYCC: 
  • +Marvel Entertainment announced plans for an animated Guardians of the Galaxy series to air on Disney XD beginning in 2015. Source: Marvel.
  • +DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are fast-tracking a LEGO Batman movie, with Will Arnett once again voicing the Dark Knight. Source: Geek Legacy
  • Valiant unveiled an animated trailer for The Valiant, a December limited series from writers Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt and artist Paolo Rivera. Source: Valiant Entertainment. 
  • Dark Horse had a rush of announcements, though none so intriguing as Archie Meets Predator. The crossover builds on the success of Afterlife With Archie and is due in spring 2015 from writer Alex de Campi and artist Fernando Ruiz. Special thanks to +Aub Driver for sending the press materials.
  • Finally, and in what may be the biggest news of the show, Marvel has commissioned writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic to develop a new version of Secret Wars, the most successful crossover comic book event in the company’s history. Source: Marvel

Picks of the week 
Other things you should be reading and listening to: 
  • Disney XD scored a win with Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion, which drew 6.5 million viewers around the globe. ABC’s broadcast follow-up is scheduled for Oct. 26 and will feature a cameo from James Earl Jones voicing Darth Vader.

Paying the bills 
Publishers like it when you read and comment on my work. Here are two of my most recent: 
  •  Did you know that Iron Man is still more profitable than Guardians of the Galaxy? Find out everything I learned when I crunched the numbers. 

My favorite TV show of the new Fall season is ... 
The Flash. And by the numbers, I’m not alone. Nielsen says that 4.79 million viewers tuned in for Tuesday’s series premiere, which notched an impressive 1.9 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. 

And that's +The Full Bleed for this week. Have a comment or a story idea? Leave it below or find me on Twitter and Facebook. (Full disclosure: I own shares of both Disney and Time Warner.)

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