Marvel Settles Lawsuit With Spider-Man Co-Creator Steve Ditko’s Estate

Spider-Man and Doctor Strange have fought some of comic book’s greatest battles, but one of the biggest fights they took part in was inside a courtroom. Now it seems the ongoing case of Spider-Man and Strange’s co-creator has finally come to an end against Marvel.

Attorneys for Marvel and the estate of artist-creator-comic legend Steve Ditko notified the court that they’ve reached an amicable settlement and expect a “stipulation of dismissal with prejudice” to be filed by the end of the year, the Hollywood Reporter revealed.

This all started back in 2021 when Marvel filed a series of lawsuits in response to copyright termination notices from Larry Lieber–Stan Lee’s brother–and the estates of Marvel legends such as Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and Don Rico. A very long list of characters was at issue including Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Thor. Over the summer, most of these were resolved, except one.

According to that same termination notice, Ditko’s estate wanted to reclaim rights from comics including Amazing Fantasy (including Spider-Man’s 1962 debut in issue 15) and Strange Tales (where Doctor Strange first appeared in issue 110). In addition to the art and stories themselves, the termination notices also targeted “any character, story element, or indicia reasonably associated with the Works.”

Seeing how Amazing Fantasy #15 had the cornerstones of Peter Parker’s life, as well as his origin story, it’s prime real estate to want. With Strange Tales, which was the good Doctor’s home until spinning off into his solo title, but it also was the place of first appearances such as Dormammu and even Clea (who was played by Charlize Theron in the post-credits scene of last year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).

Ditko’s involvement with the creation of his Marvel characters was even the subject of a documentary back in 2007 which featured Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, and more.

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