A judge today ruled in favor of Marvel in a lawsuit filed by the descendants of Jack Kirby, the comic-book artist who partnered with writer Stan Lee to create some of the company’s most memorable characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and dozens of others. Kirby’s heirs claimed ownership of the characters, which they contended Kirby alone created, but Judge Colleen McMahon disagreed. In a 50-page affidavit, the judge declared that the characters "were created at the instance and expense of Marvel … Therefore, Marvel is presumed to be their 'author,' and the holder of the statutory copyright as a matter of law."
The decision must undoubtedly come to the relief of Disney, which bought Marvel for a mere $4 billion in 2009. The first Marvel film under the Disney banner, The Avengers, is slated for a May 4, 2012, release.
Source: The Wrap