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2 Montreal Artists Are Suing Marvel For Allegedly Stealing Their Designs

They say there are similarities between Marvel heroes' suits and the suits in their own comics.

Courthouse façade and sign in Old Montreal. Right: Illuminated Marvel sign.

Courthouse façade and sign in Old Montreal. Right: Illuminated Marvel sign.

A Montreal-based comics company, Horizon Comics Production, is currently suing Marvel for copyright infringement. This is their second attempt at suing Marvel Entertainment and its parent company, Disney.

The trouble all started when Ben and Raymond Lai, the founders of Horizon Comics Production, saw Iron Man 3. The Iron Man suit got a shiny redesign for this film, one that the Lai brothers felt was too similar to the suit worn by Caliban, a character in Horizon Comic's Radix series from 2001.

The Lai brothers tried to sue Disney in the U.S., but their case was eventually dismissed.

"They started the claim in the U.S. Marvel did everything to exhaust them financially, tons of motions to dismiss," said Julie Desrosiers, an attorney with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin and one of the Lai brothers' lawyers. "Marvel was successful at having their claim dismissed on a preliminary basis. And because of all the money that was involved, they couldn't even pursue that in appeal in the U.S."

It's worth noting here that Ben and Raymond say Marvel Entertainment and Disney were familiar with their Radix series, having previously approached the brothers about working for Marvel.

MTL Blog has reached out to Marvel for a comment on this story. We'll update this article when we get a response.

According to Desrosiers, Ben and Raymond were ready to drop the issue — until Avengers: Infinity War came out. Iron Man's suit had received another redesign, this one with details the Lai brothers feel was taken from Radix character Maxwell. They say designs in Ant-Man and the Wasp also bear a resemblance to their 2001 designs.

Publishers, the brothers say, have begun to think their designs are a rip-off of Disney. "You just have to look at the dates. It's clear that's not the case," Desrosiers said.

"So after all of that they decided, 'well, we're not just going to forget about this. We're going to start proceedings against Marvel, but on our turf, in Canada.'"

So far, Disney has filed three motions to dismiss the lawsuit but their motions have been dismissed by the Superior Court of Quebec.

"The court highlighted the fact that my clients [have] a very serious question to bring before the court in these copyright infringement cases," Desrosiers said.

Desrosiers said that the Lai brothers hope to receive recognition for their work and financial compensation from Marvel Entertainment.

"My clients are very determined to bring this to the end and to seek justice."

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