As superhero movies continue to rake in huge amounts of cash, thanks to the courts, many of the heirs of comic book creators have little more than bragging rights to show for the characters their families originated.

The latest blow was dealt by the 9th Circuit, which told Laura Siegel Larson, daughter of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, that she had no rights to the character of the Man of Steel. The court ruled in favor of Warner Bros. and DC Comics, saying that a letter between the two companies and Larson in October 2001 amounted to an agreement in which Larson would receive payment while DC and Warner Bros. would hold the rights to Superman.

This ruling means that the district court is going to have to reconsider its decision that gave Larson the rights to Superman material published in Action Comics’ first issue in 1938.

Larson is not the only one. It’s hard out there for a comic creator (or an heir). Many other lawsuits have been tossed, including ones brought by Betty Boop creator Max Fleischer’s family and the heirs of celebrated artist Jack Kirby, who created The Hulk and the Fantastic Four, among others, alongside Stan Lee.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.


For more InsideCounsel coverage of comics and copyright, see below:

5 celebrity lawsuits in the news

Warner Bros. wins latest round in Superman copyright conundrum

Owner of Tarzan and John Carter characters sues over allegedly infringing comics