Disney and Marvel Entertainment are being sued by Horizon Comics for Iron Man’s suit designs from his various appearances in the MCU. Horizon Comics is a Montreal-based company that was founded in 1995 by Ben and Raymond Lai. This lawsuit builds on a previously filed one (in the US) that cites the similarities between Horizon’s comic series Radix and Iron Man’s design as beginning with the third Iron Man film, Iron Man 3, in 2013.
The Lai brothers are most known for their three-volume series, Radix, that was started in 1995 and was published by Image Comics from December 2001 to April 2002. In 2013, the Lai brothers filed their first suit against Marvel for similarities between Iron Man’s suit in the 2013 film Iron Man 3 and a suit worn by a character in Radix named Caliban. The lawsuit was partially dismissed, but allowed to continue due to similarities between the design of the Iron Man 3 film poster and the Caliban illustrations. However, that case was then fully dismissed due to both a non-infringement ruling and Horizon’s inability to sustain adding to the mounting legal bills.
Now, reported by CTV News, another lawsuit from Horizon Comics against Disney and Marvel Entertainment was filed (in Quebec this time) mere weeks ago. This new lawsuit compounds evidence with the one from 2013, alleging that since Iron Man 3, further MCU films that feature the Iron Man character, particularly 2018’s Infinity War, “consistently appropriated Horizon’s works.” The Lai brothers allege that the Iron Man 3 suit similarities to the character Caliban have all but been removed, but the new Iron Man Infinity War suit strongly resembles the Radix character Maxwell. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Marvel’s Ant-Man and Wasp characters’ suits in the comics also use designs of military characters from Radix 2.
It is not too hard to imagine, considering that the Lai brothers have actually worked with Marvel before. The success of Radix earned the Lai brothers some recognition in the American industry, resulting in Marvel reaching out to work with the brothers who initially declined. Then, infamously, the prestigious American university MIT was caught replicating the Radix illustrations in order to obtain a $50 mil. grant to create their Institute for Soldier Technology in 2002. The Lai brothers decided not to sue because MIT issued a public apology, after which Marvel called again. This time, the Lai brothers decided to say yes and worked with Marvel on both their Thor and X-Men comics.
Though things have yet to be proven in court, there are certainly similarities between the designs. However, whether Horizon Comics will be able to truly take the Entertainment juggernaut of both Disney and Marvel to task is, in some ways, an entirely different question. If Horizon’s allegations are substantiated by a court of law, it would be a big win for smaller companies and lesser known artists everywhere.
Iron Man wrapped up his arc in Avengers: Endgame, but his presence still looms large in MCU Phase 4. As the inaugural hero of the Marvel Studios franchise, Tony Stark was a prominent player throughout the Infinity Saga, appearing in a total of 10 films across 11 years. When he died to defeat Thanos, it emphasized the end of the first era for the Marvel movie universe. Functioning as an epilogue, Spider-Man: Far From Home allowed Peter Parker as well as the audience to properly come to terms with the fact that Iron Man's gone, but as a new storytelling chapter begins for the MCU, it's clear that his legacy will continue to be a primary factor in Phase 4's narrative.