The Most Difficult Questions Usually Don't Have Any Answers

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Some random thinking on reality, fantasy, life, art, and how they all interact and influence our existence.

The Legal View: "Breaking" old news in the Superman copyright case

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By Jeff Trexler

Other comic news sites are reporting a bombshell development in DC’s legal fight to hold onto the Superman copyright: on Monday, the company filed a court document asserting that the Shuster estate had actually sold its share of the Superman copyright back to DC in 1992 and affirmed this sale in subsequent correspondence.

Thursday is Heidi MacDonald Day at The Beat!

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Back in July 1982, the Comics Journal ran an article titled “Archetype Meets Angst” by one Heidi D. MacDonald. Thirty years later, during Comic-Con International surrounded by so many people she knows, we here at The Beat celebrate our Editor-In-Chief, and bestow the honorary title of “exemplar”!

Deep, Rewarding Analysis of the Marvel 'Reboot'

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Three new titles. A relaunch/reboot/facelift/makeover for the Marvel Universe. Hickman. Bendis. Remender. Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, Cable and…. Jean Grey? We’re going to have to really get in-depth with these new Marvel titles, you guys.

The Legal View: Retconning the Siegel Case

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In my last post, we looked at the attorney-client privilege question addressed by yesterday’s Ninth Circuit ruling in favor of DC. But does a clear victory for DC in a this rather technical legal issue signal a greater loss for the Siegel and Shuster heirs?

The Legal View: Jack Kirby and the Siegel Appeal

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Last year a federal court in New York denied the Kirby heirs’ attempt to claim the copyright in Spider-Man and other Marvel properties. Why, then, is their lawyer betting the future of the Siegel lawsuit on the same losing arguments?

The Legal View: Facebook vs Superman

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DC’s latest filing in the Siegel case made headlines because of the company’s request for a trial. But was that really a surprise? In today’s post, we’ll look at what the filing reveals about DC’s not-so-secret war — and how the final fate of Superman may be determined by Facebook and the Winklevoss twins.

Court rules making your own Batmobile violates copyright — UPDATED

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We’ve mentioned a few times here a lawsuit for copyright infringement by DC against an outfit called Gotham Garage, which sells replica Batmobiles—based on the ’60s Batman TV show in particular—as well as other vehicles based on famed fantasy cars, like the Mach Five.

If you were thinking of buying one, better hurry, because a judge has ruled that the Batmobile is subject to copyright.

Sherlock Holmes: A Comic Comparison

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The past year has seen an unusually large number of Sherlock Holmes adaptations, both in comics and on the screen, but not all Holmeses are created equal. Last night, British viewers got to see the last episode of Season 2 of the BBC’s wildly popular starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law is still doing well in theaters a month after it opened. So if you’re in a Holmesian mood and wondering what to read next, here’s run down on the Holmes adaptations which have come out or had new installments in the past year. Varying from inspiredly odd to unreadably awful, don’t go to the comic store without reading this first!

December 2011 Diamond Sales Estimates: Notable and Surprises

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ICV2 has their December 2011 Diamond sales estimates up and the downward correction would appear to be continuing.

The big debating point here would be DC returnability. IIRC, Diamond’s been adjusting the numbers to allow for returns (10%?), but relatively few people believe that retailers are returning that much, when taken across the industry. So anything returnable is probably a little under-reported.

A Few Things To Look For In 2012

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Right. My turn for the annual forward looking column. 2011 saw DC bet the house (and possibly the entire Direct Market) on a massive relaunch — and win. It also saw the emergence of digital downloads as a multi-platform trend that seems to be gaining momentum.

What should we be looking at in 2012?

The Year in Review: 2011

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I look back and recall the interesting events of 2011. What’s my choice for the biggest event of 2011? Read and find out!

"Delighting Customers" Vs. "Maximizing Shareholder Value" – Applying a Forbes Article to Comics

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The increasingly corporate nature of comics has been a continuing topic for the last couple years. Marvel sold to Disney. Warner pulling DC in a bit closer. Trying to maintain quarterly sales figures in a hit-based medium (also known as Events and/or line extension). Forbes has a piece called “The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value.” It’s partially a review and partially a response to the book “Fixing the Game:Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL.” This piece (and the book) contrasts the old Peter Drucker maxim “the only valid purpose of a firm is to create a customer” the current credo of “the singular goal of a company should be to maximize the return to shareholders.”

Matthias Wivel on Habibi and cultural criticism

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Matthias Wivel is one of a trio of reviewers — Domingos Isabelinho and Ng Suat Tong are the other two — known for applying the most stringent possible personal standards to comics in their criticism. Thus, seeing Wivel come to the defense of HABIBI at The Hooded Utilitarian is a bit of a surprise — but he makes a plausible point. Running down a host of critical beatdowns administered on that site over stereotypes and gender issues, he says that “parts of the comics intelligentsia seem to be developing an unhealthy obsession with ideological readings of comics.”

The Legal View: The Missing Siegel Check

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The most revealing development in the Siegel case since I last wrote for The Beat involves a check. Not the check issued to Siegel and Shuster in exchange for the Superman copyright, but one that DC has apparently* not written–payment to the Siegel family for Grant Morrison’s relaunch of Action #1.

Happy Birthday, Joe Simon

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In a better world, I would not have learned of Joe Simon’s 98th birthday today via Facebook at 8 PM.