Comics A.M. | Jack Kirby's heirs appeal Marvel rights ruling

Legal | The lawyer for Jack Kirby's heirs asked the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to overturn a 2011 ruling that Marvel owns the copyrights to the characters the late artist co-created for the publisher, arguing that a federal judge misinterpreted the law. Attorney Marc Toberoff, who also represents the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their fight against DC Comics, told a three-judge panel that a  freelancer who gets paid only when a publisher likes his work is not, under copyright law, performing work for hire. Marvel countered that Stan Lee's testimony established Kirby drew the contested works at the publisher's behest; the Kirby family insists the lower court gave too much credence to Lee's testimony. Kirby's children filed 45 notices in 2009 in a bid to terminate their father's assignment of copyright to characters ranging from the Fantastic Four and the Avengers to Thor and Iron Man under a provision of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. However, in July 2011, a judge determined those comics created between 1958 and 1963 were work made for hire and therefore ineligible for copyright termination. [Law360.com]

Editorial cartoons | A staff member for U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais threatened to report the Chattanooga Times Free Press to the Capitol Police after the paper published an editorial cartoon by Clay Bennett, titled "The Character Assassination," showing DesJarlais with a gun in his mouth. DesJarlais, who is running as a pro-life candidate, sent out a mailing recently claiming a phone transcript of him urging a woman with whom he had had an affair to have an abortion was "character assassination"; the cartoon may also be referring to allegations that he intimidated his ex-wife with a gun and then put the gun in his own mouth. Times Free Press managing editor Alison Gerber, who took the call, told DesJarlais's staffer to read the First Amendment. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]

Editorial cartoons | South African president Jacob Zuma is still suing cartoonist Zapiro over a cartoon he claims damaged his reputation, but he has dropped one of the charges and reduced the amount he is seeking. [The Times Live]

Creators | Mike Norton talks to Alex Zalben about his many projects, including his Eisner-winning webcomic Battlepug and his horror comic Revival; Norton also works on the Defenders and Young Avengers series for Marvel. [MTV Geek]

Creators | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson interviews Moyoco Anno, creator of Sakuran and Sugar Sugar Rune. [MTV Geek]

Creators | Steven Weissman, creator of Barack Hussein Obama, guests on the latest Inkstuds podcast. [Inkstuds]

Creators | Kevin Schinick talks about how he prepped for his new gig as the writer of Marvel's Avenging Spider-Man. [Previews World]

Creators | Edward Sorel, who started out in league with Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast and has illustrated over 40 New Yorker covers, reminisces about his long career. [The Comics Journal]

Graphic novels | Actor Thomas Jane talks about his new film Dark Country, and its adaptation into a graphic novel by Thomas Ott. [Hero Complex]

Manga | Jason Thompson discusses one of the classics of modern manga, Seiichi Hayashi's Red-Colored Elegy: "...Red Colored Elegy is like a platypus, an evolution of manga that makes you wonder whether it's really real or just something stitched together out of pieces of other animals. But what makes it jump out from so many other 'alternative' comics that are purely formalist and have no emotional connection to the reader is that this is one of the saddest, greatest love stories I've ever read." [Anime News Network]

Advice | Skullkickers writer Jim Zubkavich has some suggestions for would-be comics writers on how to find an artist to collaborate with. [Zub Tales]

Conventions | Here's the best report yet on the Mumbai Film and Comic Convention, complete with interviews with Naruto cosplayers and the news that Hachette has published a graphic novel in India. [Coolage]

Retailing | According to conversations at New York Comic Con, a number of retailers are taking advantage of Diamond Comic Distributors' various retailer support programs. [ICv2]

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