Invincible Co-creator Robert Kirkman Sued Over the Comic’s Ownership Stake

A few years ago, Robert Kirkman was sued by his Walking Dead collaborator, Tony Moore. Now, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that colorist William Crabtree is claiming co-creator status on Invincible, and also alleging that “he was tricked into abandoning his copyright.”

Kirkman co-created the Invincible comic book series in 2003 with artists Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley. Crabtree has never been acknowledged as a “co-creator,” but he was the original colorist on the series. Crabtree’s contention is that Kirkman gave him an oral agreement for 20% of sale proceeds of the comic and 10% of any film or TV adaptation. However, Crabtree claims that Kirkman and his representatives pressured him to transfer his copyright claim to Kirkman so that Invincible could be more easily optioned in Hollywood.

Crabtree’s accusations mirror the claims that Moore made in his lawsuit against Kirkman. That may not be a coincidence, since Moore’s lawyer, Devin McRae, is also representing Crabtree in this case.

RELATED: Steven Yeun Shares An Update For Invincible Season 2

“Fraud and deceit has become a standard business practice for Kirkman and is apparently where his true creative aptitude lies,” wrote McRae in the lawsuit. “Kirkman falsely told Crabtree that Crabtree’s rights and financial interest in the Work would remain unchanged if he signed the Certificate of Authorship and that the document would simply allow Kirkman to market the licensure of the Work more easily, resulting in greater profits for both of them.”

According to McRae, Kirkman continued to pay the royalties for the Invincible comic book after Crabtree signed the new Certificate of Authorship. Regardless, Kirkman declined to pay Crabtree anything for Amazon Prime Video’s Invincible animated series. Additionally, the suit claims that Kirkman stated that Crabtree’s royalty payments were simply “bonuses” that were paid at his discretion.

At press time, Kirkman has not responded to Crabtree’s lawsuit. Moore’s case against Kirkman ended in a settlement between the two. Regardless, there’s no guarantee that the outcome will be the same this time.

What do you think about the Invincible lawsuit? Let us know in the comment section below! Is Kirkman at fault? This is very familiar. But who can really say for sure?

Recommended Reading: Invincible: Compendium One

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