Robot 6

Comics A.M. | DC Comics confirms loss of pulp hero licenses

First Wave #1

Publishing | Pulp heroes The Spirit, Doc Savage and The Avenger disappeared from the DC Comics lineup more than a year ago, with Co-Publisher Dan DiDio now confirming on his Facebook page that the company’s rights to the characters have lapsed. Brian Azzarello paired the vintage characters with Batman, Black Canary, the Blackhawks and other current DC heroes in his First Wave miniseries, which launched in 2010. Heidi MacDonald adds, “we’ve heard that at WB it was pointed out that DC paying good money to license old characters didn’t make much sense when they had their own catalog of little-used characters to exploit.” [Blog@Newsarama]

Digital comics | As noted here Monday, comiXology was No. 3 on the list of top-grossing iPad apps of 2012, and in the press release announcing this, the comiXology folks dropped another number on us: They have served more than 2 billion pages since their launch three years ago. [comiXology]

Digital comics | Darryl Ayo has some succinct advice for creators of comics for smartphones, on what does and doesn’t work. [Comix Cube]

Saga #7

Retailing | Because reorders of Image Comics, and Saga in particular, have been a hot topic of late, retailer Brian Hibbs explains how he figured out how many issues to order, and what the results are so far. [Savage Critics]

Creators | Fables creator Bill Willingham talked about the history and practice of comics recently at the Rochester, Minnesota, public library. When he started making comics, they didn’t command as much respect, he noted: “Librarians would often say, ‘You know, comic books will never be in libraries. It’s kind of trash literature. It’s not very good.’ And the truth is comics for most of its life span have been kind of trash literature and not very good. But they’ve gotten pretty good.” []

Creators | Writer Cullen Bunn talks about developing and pitching his new Marvel series, The Fearless Defenders. [The Beat]

The Furry Trap

Creators | Dean Haspiel interviews Josh Simmons, creator of The Furry Trap, in his latest podcast. [Welcome to Trip City]

Creators | Writer Mark L. Miller discusses the Jungle Book comic he’s writing for Zenescope, which features a female Mowgli character: “Everyone was making a huge deal that I put tits on Mowglii, but I didn’t really even think of that aspect. Watch any animal show on Animal Planet or Discovery Channel and you’ll see that the female of the species is always the toughest.” Miller also talks about going back to Rudyard Kipling’s original stories to write the comic, and about how his day job as a therapist in a residential home for children informs his work. [Broken Frontier]

Comics | Lew Stringer looks at some rather surreal instances of breaking the fourth wall in the U.K. comic The Beano, which is sort of The Dandy‘s hardier younger brother. [Blimey! It’s another blog about comics!]

Conventions | Richmond Clements reports in from the Malta Comic Con, which featured both local talent and an array of British creators, including David Gibbons and Sean Azzopardi. [Down the Tubes]



The Spirit was always a tough fit to shoehorn into the DC Universe. Darwyn Cooke’s try was good but even that felt a little “off”.

In other unrelated news; Dynamite Entertainment have purchased the rights to three as of yet unkown pulp characters. New series expected in 2013 ;)

This also in: Alex Ross doing one cover for the first issue of each and some nobody doing the interiors. Yay.

The whole First Wave thing was such a royal fiasco from the beginning with poor writing, poorer art, and missed shipping schedules all over the place. These characters will find much better homes at Dynamite or whoever picks up the licenses…

Moonstone was doing such good work with the pulps. Too bad they didn’t have the clout or cash to keep the properties they were managing.
For the most part, Dynamite is doing okay work on the characters though, so I’ll take what I can get.
I look forward to seeing new Avenger stories sometime soon!

“we’ve heard that at WB it was pointed out that DC paying good money to license old characters didn’t make much sense when they had their own catalog of little-used characters to exploit.”

And that is why Milestone Comics is so screwed in DC right now

First Wave was an unmitigated disaster. The writing was dreadful, the art looked good but was flat, and there was no clamoring for these characters to begin with. I bailed after 3 issues.

Hopefully these characters well find a new home at Dynamite.

Dear Chris Roberson and Alex Ross,

If Dynamite now has the rights to Doc Savage, the Spirit and the Avenger, please put them in Masks.

PS. Could you get the rights to Tarzan too? That way you could do a full Wold Newton crossover.

Chaim Mattis Keller

December 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

Mark Miller didn’t think about the fact that he put tits on Mowgli? Animal Planet? Who does he think he’s fooling? Zenescope is all about T & A takes on fictional characters.

I’m just picturing someone from Warner Brothers, “Why do you kids need to pay for more characters? You’ve got a million characters you aren’t even playing with! Look, here’s Stephanie Brown just stuffed in the closet. And you whined about getting this Gay Ghost for Christmas now you never use it! He’s a ghost! Who is also gay! Who wouldn’t love that!? And clean up your room!”

@Doug, they do publish Tarzan. It’s called Lord of the Jungle.

defiance defiant.

December 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

no copyrights exist on these characters and they haven’t for awhile.

the federal laws state that if a character is not utilized in a “new work” within a 28 year time frame, it is “public-domain”. meaning anyone can use the character on the interior pages of their novel, graphic-novel, or comic. the trademark never usually lapses, so u cant use the name on the cover of the work. –but u can use the characters original likeness on the cover, or give them an updated costume.

–this is why moonstone comics and dynamite comics are both using the phantom, the green hornet, the lone-ranger, the black-bat, and other pulp heroes…they just have to find creative titles to avoid the trademarks. –my company: Mythology Kingdom Unbound Ink/Inc, is also using these characters.

captain marvel and Mary marvel are also public-domain. so is the original daredevil, who was NOT created by stan lee, nor was he ever published by marvel/timely. he was created by jack binder and jack cole for liv gleason.

I thought the First Wave titles were excellent – as did most of the critics. The First Wave limited series got excellent reviews and the Spirit was by Darwyn Cooke, won several,awrds, (how is that not a great thing – not to mention that the absolutely brilliant Mike Ploog took over for him.) But hey, let’s not actually use FACTS to recollect our experiences with the First Wave line, let’s just write another negative, ignorant rant like we always do. Why did the First Wave line fail? Because most fans want to read a fourth or fifth Wolverine, Batman, Avengers, X Men, Superman, or Green Lantern title instead of something new. At least with a small independent publisher taking them on we’ll get some new comics. Thanks DC for giving me the chance to read some excellent Doc Savage, and Spirit comics – it was great seeing Batman butt heads with Doc as well. And I’ll miss those J. G. Jones Doc Savage covers too.


Darwyn Cooke’s Spirit IS excellent. However, it preceded the First Wave launch by a good 2-3 years and when First Wave launched, they re-started the Spirit with a new #1, a new creative team and a newer darker tone.

But hey, who lets FACTS get in the way of their rants, right?

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