Marvel Comics and writer Gary Friedrich have agreed to a settlement to their long-standing legal dispute over ownership of Ghost Rider, as reported Monday by Reuters. If finalized, the settlement will mark the end more than six years of litigation between the two parties.
Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but according to Reuters, Friedrich’s lawyer, Charles Kramer, said the writer and Marvel “have amicably agreed to resolve all claims between, among, and against all parties.”
The lawsuit centered on Friedrich’s claim that rights to Ghost Rider reverted to him in 2001. A U.S. district judge ruled in Marvel parent company Disney’s favor in December 2011, but an appeals court overturned that this past June, and the case was set for trial on Dec. 16.
Friedrich, as a freelancer, worked on the first appearance of the Johnny Blaze version of the Ghost Rider character in 1972’s “Marvel Spotlight” #5. The hero was later portrayed by Nicolas Cage in two feature films; 2007’s “Ghost Rider” and 2012’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”
In February of 2012, Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada told CBR, “We absolutely agree that Gary made a significant contribution to the creation of Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider. That has never been under contention. But Gary didn’t do it alone. Mike Ploog, the original artist, was a co-creator. Other people contributed as well, including Roy Thomas and Stan Lee. There were many individuals present at the time of Johnny Blaze’s creation who disagree with the claim that Gary was the sole creator.”