For those of you who don’t follow comics, Gary Friedrich, the creator of Ghost Rider on the writing end, sued Marvel in 2007 over the use of the character in film and related products. Freidrich stated that the copyright was supposed to revert back to him in 2001.
In 2010 Marvel countersued over Freidrich selling art of the character at conventions, his main income source, and won. Marvel ordered Freidrich to renounce his title as creator, stop these sales, and to pay them $17,000.
ComicsAlliance gives people looking at the situation three views, the last of which being the most alarming: Marvel may start coming after any perceived copyright infringers, which seems to includes anyone who does fan art or sketches.
Many artists, including Sean Murphy, have pledged to not draw any characters they do not own at any convention going forward to avoid this sort of legal mess. Jim Shooter, who was Editor-in-Chief of Marvel for nearly 10 years weighed in from his unique perspective, and it’s a fascinating read.
- Artists’ Alley, Gary Friedrich And Marvel’s Spirit of Vengeance (comicsalliance.com)
- Gary Friedrich case spurs debate about convention sketches (robot6.comicbookresources.com)