Do comic company lawyers kill creative freedom?

Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel

Among the many thoughtful questions raised in my discussion with the Superman Homepage earlier this week was whether the Siegel lawsuit prompted changes to Superman’s uniform. This might seem like a small issue, but it reflects serious concerns about freedom and integrity in a corporate context.

The utterly insane world of Platinum Studios

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As we reported last night, the story of Platinum Studios, the bizarre IP company founded by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg on his peripheral involvement in having published the MEN IN BLACK comic book, has gotten seriously bizarre, with shareholders and acting president Chris Beall banding together to attempt to oust Rosenberg from the company after a series of what they claim are flagrantly fraudulent money shifting and credit card embezzlement—all from the coffers of the publicly traded company. While we don’t know the whole story, we can piece together some of it.

Warner Bros. wins huge legal decision in Superman case—UPDATED

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a 2001 agreement between Joanne Siegel and WB supersedes the Siegel estate’s 2008 victory in a copyright reversion decision. Meaning: it’s just about over, writes The Hollywood Reporter. The decision follows a ruling by a federal judge in October to deny the estate of Superman’s other […]

40 years of pain: The History of Siegel and Shuster by Steve Gerber

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Let’s start the year out with a return to comics’ original sin: Daniel Best reprints Truth, Justice, & The Corporate Conscience by Steve Gerber, an article from WAP, a creator’s rights newsletter published in the 80s by Gerber, Steven Grant and Frank Miller.
Gerber, for those who don’t know, was a very influential writer for Marvel in the 70s who eventually sued for ownership of a character he co-created, Howard the Duck. He lost the suit, but never the anger. He died in 2008.

Today’s (Partial) Smallville Settlement and the Kardashians

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Given the lively discussion of what folks don’t want to see on The Beat, I couldn’t resist noting that an attorney representing Smallville co-creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough in their dispute with Time Warner also represented the Kardashian sisters in the epic, never to be forgotten Kardashian Kard case. However, the Smallville dispute is also […]

Has Toberoff already won the Siegel case?

Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel

Over the past year creators’ copyright crusader Marc Toberoff took some serious hits in the various Superman and Kirby lawsuits. Yet there was also a deceptively routine procedural matter that could have already assured him a victory in the Siegel estate’s Superman appeal.

The Legal View: Did Marc Toberoff actually win in today’s Superman case ruling?

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You might hear today that the district court judge has handed Toberoff another stunning defeat this week, “a doozy and an outright win for DC.” 

It’s actually a win for Toberoff, at least procedurally.

Here’s what happened. 

News notes from around: Archie, Takei, Schulz, Moonstone, etc

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Some quickies from the mailbag and around:

Artist Justiniano sentenced in child pornography case

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One of the ugliest comics related stories of recent years reached a resolution with artist Josue “Justiniano” Rivera’s sentencing to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to a second degree charge of child pornography. Rivera was apprehended after giving a thumb drive containing pornographic images to a funeral home—Rivera meant to turn in images […]

When Carl Burgos tried to sue for the Human Torch

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If the juicy, fact filled excerpts aren’t getting you to run down to the bookstore to pick up a copy of Sean Howe’s MARVEL: THE UNTOLD STORY, you must be dead to comics. io9 has a lengthy excerpt that goes right to the heart of the glory days of Lee and Kirby. I cut and pasted five different revelatory paragraphs before to settled on this one, regarding Carl Burgos, the original artist on the Human Torch, and his thoughts back in the 60s of trying to get the rights back.

Superman legal victory frees the JLA movie for 2015

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Yesterday’s victory in the Joe Shuster case has definitely left WB looking to jump on a lot of movie-related stuff, including, a Justice League movie. The studio is expected to accelerate development of a planned “Justice League” movie that would join Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and other characters, according to a knowledgeable person not authorized […]

The Legal View: What the Shuster ruling means

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By Jeff Trexler In the book of Genesis, Esau sells his birthright to his younger brother Jacob for some lentil soup. Yesterday, a judge ruled that Joe Shuster’s sister sold the family’s claim on the Superman copyright for a meager pension. Superman may be a modern myth, but that’s not always a good thing.

Warner Bros Win Superman Court Case Against Shuster Estate

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It’s being reported that Warner Bros have won a court case which will determine who owns the copyright to Superman, meaning they will retain rights over the character. On Wednesday a court ruling was issued which stated that: the studio’s motion has been granted for summary judgement on the question of whether a 1992 agreement […]

Laura Siegel Larson: “I refuse to be bullied or deterred from enforcing my family’s rights.”

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This week the long, long battle for the rights to Superman took another turn, as Warners sued attorney Marc Toberoff , who has been representing the family of Jerry Siegel, Superman’s co-creator, for many years. The Siegel’s have won several legal rounds, leading Warners to adopt very aggressive tactics to delay enforcing a decision to award the Siegel family half of Superman’s copyright — a decision which a court reached 13 years ago, in 1999.

Former employee sues Frank Miller and his girlfriend

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A former assistant is suing Frank Miller and his girlfriend, Kimberly Cox, for discrimination and mental anguish, the NY Post reports, although most of the complaint seems to be aimed at Cox. Joanna Gallardo-Mills was hired as an executive coordinator in 2008, and claims Cox berated her for not speaking English and damaged her workplace […]

Stan Lee Media sues Disney for Marvel characters

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The shell company of brigands and con men that is left at Stan Lee Media is suing Disney for the rights to the Marvel characters Lee co-created. Deadline has the complaint here. Their basis for the claim? A 1998 contract Stan signed saying he was giving the rights to his character to SLM. In typical […]