Robot 6

Comics A.M. | More details on Wizard closing; did Comics Code end in 2009?

Wizard

Publishing | More details have begun to emerge about the abrupt closings of Wizard and ToyFare magazines, and the announcement of a new public company headed by Gareb Shamus. ICv2.com reports that Wizard World Inc. was taken public through a reverse merger with a shell company, a failed oil and gas venture known as GoEnergy Inc., which acquired the assets of Kick the Can, a corporate repository for the assets of Shamus’  Wizard World Comic Con Tour. Following the acquisition, GoEnergy’s chairman and chief financial officer resigned and was replaced by Shamus. In the process, the new company raised capital through the issuance of $1.5 million in preferred stock. Meanwhile, an anonymous Wizard staff member reveals to iFanboy he was informed that the magazine had folded during a phone call Sunday evening, and was not permitted to collect personal belongings. A freelance contributors writes at Bleeding Cool that he learned about the closing through a Facebook message on Monday morning.

The comics Internet is swarming with reaction pieces: Andy Khouri points out the huge number of comics editors, bloggers and journalists who got their starts at Wizard; Heidi MacDonald does the same, noting that it was “a total boys club”; Albert Ching surveys numerous creators and editors; and Robot 6 contributor, and former Wizard staffer, Sean T. Collins comments on the magazine’s demise and rounds up links.

In related news, GeekChicDaily, the email newsletter and website co-founded by Shamus in 2009, has secured new Hollywood investors. [Wizard World]

Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval

Publishing | Through some solid digging, Vaneta Rogers discovers that the Comics Code Authority and the the Comics Magazine Association of America, which oversaw it, appear to have stopped functioning in 2009, well before DC Comics and Archie announced they were abandoning the 56-year-old Seal of Approval. [Newsarama]

Digital comics | Digital-comics distributor Graphic.ly announced it has raised $3 million in its first round of institutional funding. [Tech Crunch, press release]

Business | Disney Interactive Studios, the video-game division of The Walt Disney Co., reportedly laid off nearly half of its 700 employees on Monday. That follows the closing earlier this month of Disney’s Propaganda Games unit, leading to the loss of 70 jobs. [CNBC.com]

Digital comics | Todd Allen crunches some numbers to come up with a rough idea of how much publishers make for each digital download, and how that compares to print. [Publishers Weekly]

Superman

Legal | The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property has ruled against DC Comics, which had objected to a Swiss company’s trademark for a logo that resembles Superman’s familiar “S” shield. Although DC had never filed a trademark for the Superman logo in Switzerland, it cited the Paris Convention for the Protection of International Property. However, Swiss authorities held that the Superman logo isn’t sufficiently known in Switzerland. [Marques]

Organizations | Executive Director Charles Brownstein provides an overview of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. [io9.com]

Creators | James Kochalka will be appointed as Vermont’s first cartoonist laureate on March 10, an occasion marked by events across the state. Vermont is the first state to bestow the honor. “A cartoonist laureate is the kind of thinking outside-the-box that Vermont supports,” says Gov. Peter Shumlin. “Cartooning promotes literacy and literature, two things we can’t have enough of.” [The Beat, The Center for Cartoon Studies]

Creators | Johanna Draper Carlson talks with Sinfest creator Tatsuya Ishida about the Dark Horse collected edition Viva la Resistance. [Publishers Weekly]

Comics | Three comics recommendations for Valentine’s Day reading. [Technician]

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Comments

6 Comments

‘The Superman logo isn’t sufficiently known in Switzerland’? Who’re they trying to kid? Little convininent that no neutral authority has stepped in and said something, and it’s just the Swiss saying ‘no’.

@Statham
The Swiss are insufficiently neutral for you?

But all joking aside, the entire point of the legal process is to provide a disinterested arbiter of the law. In this case, that arbiter found that the Superman mark was insufficiently known within Switzerland to merit the protections sought. I’m not Swiss; I’ve never been to Switzerland; I have no special knowledge of Swiss popular or consumer culture. Absent any of that special knowledge, I’m inclined to assume that the decision was reached in good faith, and not out of some nationalist interest. Indeed, I’m not sure that the claimant made all possible efforts to defend their interests. From the article:

“Absent consumer surveys, it needed to be shown that the mark was intensely used in Switzerland, or at least heavily advertised.”

Note the first part, suggesting that DC could have commissioned a (presumably national) consumer survey to demonstrate their case to the court. Instead, they relied on “evidence for foreign registrations of the ‘S’, press clippings concerning the ‘Superman’ brand in Switzerland, and some revenue figures”. Evidence of foreign registration seems inapplicable, since the entire basis of the case is that foreign registration does not protect a mark in Switzerland. We have no access to the revenue figures, but apparently they were no in themselves wholly persuasive of DC’s claims. The press clippings could have been anything, including copies of press releases picked up by Swiss trade publications, or other such fluff–they might also have been legitimate coverage, of course, but obviously not coverage sufficient for the law. Unless you have particular expertise with Swiss culture, I’m not sure why you think there’s anything underhanded at work.

+1 Statham

This is Swiss Neutrality on intellectual property, and not a matter of the Swiss people not knowing the symbol.

swiss neautrality applying to them being able to use illectal property with out asking the real rights holders for the okay for how can they not recogniz the s shield of superman. plus classy of wizard to close down its magizine and let their staff find out by face book and not being able to take their stuff from their former office

America is notorious for stealing the IP of other countries and Warner comics is the poster child for the practice.

I say good for the Swiss, honestly. The more these situations go on, the more obvious it seems to me that characters like Superman should just be public domain, and I say that as a comics creator and someone who believes very much in intellectual property rights. If decades from now some corporation was spending millions of dollars to sue to retain the use of characters or logos that I had created so they can keep all the licensing revenue possible, what does that really have to do with what the intention of intellectual property and copyright should really be about, which is protecting the rights of artists and fostering environments in which creativity is encouraged in our culture? Work for hire has its place, but not like that.

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