Robot 6

Larry Marder isn’t playing games with Beanworld RPG sourcebook

Beanworld is the nearly three-decades-old fantasy comic by Larry Marder that follows the adventures of minimalistic characters known as Beans. Bean!, meanwhile, is a fantasy role-playing game published by Fabled Worlds in which participants go on adventures as beans (and, from what I can tell, may involve actual beans).

The game itself apparently had slipped below Marder’s radar, but a newly posted review of a sourcebook — called, of all things, Beanworld – has not.

“You’d think in this day & age you might try Googling a name before doing something as stupid as these people have done,” the cartoonist wrote on Twitter. “My lawyer notified. Start the process of dealing with this thief tomorrow.”

Asked later whether it is “just the name, or does the setting in the book have a resemblance to Beanworld cosmology?,” Marder replied, “Source book title is same as my registered trademark Beanworld. Characters look like a smoosh of Mr PotatoHead and CA Raisin.”



What a shame Mr Marder chooses to bully a blind game designer/artist of his one-man shop! You’d think in this day and age, Mr Marder might try contacting the impovershed blind man who not only CAN’T google anything, but may not survive the year without a new kidney – instead of immediately sic’ing his attack lawyer on Jeff.

Had he done this simple thing, he’d quickly learn that Jeff had never heard of the comic – he doesn’t follow comics, for the obvious reason. He’d have learned Jeff came up with the Bean RPG a lonnnng time ago, and only modern e-publishing enabled Bean to be printed. He could have asked Jeff to work with him, told him about his comic, and Jeff would have, as the gentleman he is, changed his RPG’s title and/or the title of the supplement.

Instead, Mr Marder chose to bully Jeff, call him a thief, and attempt to – with his lawyer- grab what has been saved for Jeff’s kidney fund.

Grandpa Chet, the MormonYoYoMan

October 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Since my Nook posted the previous post before I finished, I’ll just add a couple of things.

Jeff had nothing to do with my post. He doesn’t even know I’ve sent it. For the, again, obvious reasons, he doesn’t follow most comics, if any, nor comics websites.

And why I noticed this before anyone from the RPG side of fandome did? Because, reading this article, something didn’t seem right. First, I thought the Tales from the Beanworld comic was cancelled during the black & white boom/bust. Second, I remembered how long ago it was that Jeff had come up with the Bean RPG, as a silly spoof of Tunnels & Trolls. (T&T was and is the 2nd rolegame invented.) The beans became part of the game when a T&T friend, who worked in a restaurant, made a joke about using beans instead of dice so he could play games at work without the supervisor noticing. (i.e. – He handled food and – beans.)

Since I didn’t see Tales from the Beanworld when it first came out (Was stationed in Korea during most of the b&w explosion/implosion.) I never picked it up when I saw it – with almost all the other b&w comics that had gone bust – in the 10-cent boxes. Until I saw this defamation of Jeff, I’d forgotten it ever existed, and was surprised to find it was being revived.

You could be the greatest person in the world, but if you’re going to release a product you had better get your marks checked. Period.

Copyright matters.

Actually, the law says he *has* to pursue it. If he doesn’t, he loses all rights to the trademark.

And I refuse to believe, in this day and age, that any blind person can’t use Google. Screen-reading software has existed for decades at least.

You may refuse to disbelieve any fact you wish.

David Akers, that’s not true at all. He would not automatically lose any rights, it merely can be used to show that Marder has a history of not protecting his trademarks.

At the very least, Larry Marder should feel like an ass for insulting a blind and gravely ill man, who had never heard of his comic. Beanworld is obscure even in the world of comics.

The classy, human move would have been to contact them directly to see what the deal was, not making like a great jackass and start throwing around “thief” and making threats.

Everything has been worked out in a friendly manner with nary a lawyer involved.
Truth is, I never heard of Jeff Freels and his Bean! RPG any more than he had apparently heard of me and my comic book BEANWORLD series.
But, folks, I DO own the trademark BEANWORLD as one word.
I’ve peacefully coexisted with the “Bean World” bean-bag doll folks in the UK for many years.
As a matter of courtesy we often remind our retail partners when they use our names interchangeably.
Even my own publisher Dark Horse has been known to make the “Bean World “error from time to time.
The matter is resolved.

Grandpa Chet, the MormonYoYoMan

October 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Thank God! My sincere gratitude to you, Mr Marder!

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives