Robot 6

Dynamite, ERB Inc. partner for ‘John Carter: Warlord of Mars’

Dynamite's previously released "Warlord of Mars" #1

Dynamite’s previously released “Warlord of Mars” #1

In a surprising conclusion to their rights dispute, Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. and Dynamite Entertainment this morning announced an agreement for the worldwide release of John Carter comics, archival material and the publisher’s Lord of the Jungle line.

ERB Inc., the family-owned company that controls the existing rights to the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars novels, sued Dynamite in February 2012, accusing the publisher of trademark and copyright infringement and unfair competition through the release of its Lord of the Jungle and Warlord of Mars comics. Dynamite responded, insisting that its series were based on material that’s lapsed into the public domain, and noting that other publishers have released Burroughs-inspired comics, using similar titles, without a license from ERB Inc.

Now that the two parties have settled their differences, and ERB Inc. has reacquired the John Carter comics rights from Disney and Marvel, Dynamite will be able to relaunch Warrior of Mars later this year as John Carter: Warlord of Mars, and introduce characters and plot elements “that were, until now, absent from recent comic book interpretations” (presumably because they remain protected by copyright). Dynamite will also republish John Carter archival material, dating back to the early 1940s comic strips written by Burroughs’ son Coleman Burroughs.

“It was important to us that we reacquire the comic book and comic strip rights from Marvel Entertainment so we could reintroduce them in the market place,” James Sullos, president of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., said in a statement. “We’re excited to see the exploits of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first science fiction adventure hero brought to life in their fullness by the passionate creative talents assembled by the folks at Dynamite. They’re true fans — and it shows on every page and in every idea they’ve shared with us. Now fans everywhere will be able to appreciate the original adventure stories that later spawned Flash Gordon, Superman, Star Wars and Avatar.”

Although the publisher’s Lord of the Jungle line is expected to be relaunched as a result of the agreement, there’s no indication in the press release of a title change (to, say, Tarzan) or access to additional character or story elements. More details, including creative teams, presumably will be announced closer to Comic-Con International.

“Working together with Jim and the team at ERB, we will be taking the worlds of John Carter and The Lord of the Jungle publishing initiatives to a new level,” said Nick Barrucci, CEO and publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “There’s a rich history, and an incredible amount of archival material in the ERB library, and we’re looking forward to bringing it to the fans around the world.”

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Considering the way Disney and Marvel totally screwed up their recent versions of Barsoom, this seemed like the logical way for ERB, Inc to actually make money on the characters…

Hallelujah…. now they can fully mine the canon of characters, plots and settings, and hopefully right the ship a bit more.

“Considering the way Disney and Marvel totally screwed up their recent versions of Barsoom, this seemed like the logical way for ERB, Inc to actually make money on the characters…”

Whoa, right there buddy. That’s a loaded and inaccurate statement! First off, Disney muffed up the marketing–the movie itself was really quite good! The fact that the film did poorly, was resoundingly the fault of the terrible and miscalculated ad campaign, which didn’t seem to know how to sell the first, real science fantasy story. It wasn’t a PERFECT film, but it certainly was better than just the sum of its parts.

And what did Marvel have anything to do with it? It’s a subsidiary of Disney. Disney produced the film before the acquisition of Marvel was even complete.

Good news looking forward to new Tarzan and Carter comics.

Jay is right here but that being said I still say that some of the ERB stuff no longer has enough of a readership left for any of this to matter.Would like to see real numbers on the Dynamite project so far. I’m sure Barruchi chattered a bluestreak to convince ERB to go this route. All in all a decent and sensible solution to the dispute. Would be nice to see Marvel and DC act as decently over certain creator owned disputes.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, not perfect, but I’d have no reservations about repeat viewings. I also enjoyed Lone Ranger. I blame their box office issues more on the films not finding their audiences during their theater run and not a reflection of the movies themselves.

This is great news though, Dynamite gets to continue publishing the books, ERB reaffirms the rights that they own and readers get to keep reading the books. WIN-WIN-WIN

You’re not seeing Tarzan mentioned because Dark Horse still has the rights to make licensed comics sanctioned by the ERB estate. However, since they’re mentioning “Lord of the Jungle” as continuing, looks like ERB themselves don’t want to have to go through Dark Horse anymore and are allowing Dynamite to continue to make books starring Tarzan that way.

THAT’S more like it–COLLABORATION, NOT COMPETITION. Take THAT, Big Two and your petty squabbles with former creators (or their families)!

This is how ridiculous copyright and trademark has gotten these days. Thanks to the Congress continually making copyright longer and longer, companies like ERB, inc. just assume copyright it is now permanent and infinite. I do believe both John Carter and Tarzan were both created over 100 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE PUBLIC DOMAIN!!! But ERB just pretends that’s not the case and sues, after all its only a few short years away until the Congress extends copyright another 50 or 100 or 1000 or 1,000,000 years!!!!

johnq, ERB is very aware that the earliest Tarzan and John Carter stuff is in the public domain, but in the case of JC, it only pertains to the first 3 novels, and I’m not sure how much of the beginnings of Tarzan is as well. But everything after that certain point of time licensed by them is not public domain and remains the copyright of the estate.

But that’s how Dynamite loopholed their way through this whole thing. Adapted only the public domain material and then would make new material, as well as staying away from titling anything already copyrighted by ERB. Lord of the Jungle never was. Niether was Warlord of Mars, or surprisingly Dejah Thoris.

But still, yes copyright laws being extended the way they are is incredibly stupid at times and Dynamite showed just how much people really weren’t paying attention.

“Whoa, right there buddy. That’s a loaded and inaccurate statement! First off, Disney muffed up the marketing–the movie itself was really quite good!”

Agreed.
As I point out in my linked blog post…
“Personally, I think it’ll end up doing very well on DVD/Blu-Ray, PPV, and ‘net streaming, picking up the audience it didn’t get in theatres.
I blame the marketing; terrible posters, trailers and commercials that didn’t play up the “Carter was the FIRST!” concept and the whole “this is kool” idea, and, stupidiest of all, naming the flick the almost-useless “John Carter” instead of “John Carter and the Princess of Mars”.
(Hey, “Hero and Plot Element” titles worked for Harry Potter and Indiana Jones!
Why not here?)”

BTW, I liked the movie, though Kitsch was miscast…

“And what did Marvel have anything to do with it? It’s a subsidiary of Disney. Disney produced the film before the acquisition of Marvel was even complete.”

Mavel produced the comic adaptations, which were (to be polite) pitiful…

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