The feud over the rights to the iconic comic book characters, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, between Disney/Marvel and the estate of Steve Ditko has finally found a resolution.
Marvel has opted not to carry the battle over the character rights into next year, as an agreement has been made with Steve Ditko’s estate. Both parties informed the court of their amicable settlement, anticipating the filing of a dismissal with prejudice in the coming weeks.
The conflict over the character rights had its roots in 2021 when Marvel responded to a series of copyright termination notices issued by Larry Lieber and the estates of Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and Don Rico. This legal bout encompassed a wide array of characters, including Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Thor. By this past June, most of the disputes had been resolved, leaving only one unresolved case.
The last standing disagreement involved the heirs of Steve Ditko, who contributed to the creation of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. The termination notice aimed to reclaim rights from comic series like Amazing Fantasy (which featured Spider-Man’s debut in 1962) and Strange Tales (housing Doctor Strange’s inception in 1963). Not only did the termination notices target the original art and stories, but they also encompassed “any character, story element, or indicia reasonably associated with the Works.”
So with news of the settlement, that means Spider-Man and Doctor Strange will remain at Marvel.
Legal representation for Marvel came through Dan Petrocelli and Molly Lens of O’Melveny, while Patrick Ditko was represented by Marc Toberoff. As of now, neither side has offered any comment regarding the settlement.
THR first reported on the matter.