Disney Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Placing what very well could be the final lump of coal in Stan Lee Media’s stocking, another federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the failed dot-com can’t claim ownership of the Marvel characters co-created by its namesake.
As ROBOT 6 readers are well aware, the litigious shareholders of Stan Lee Media have long insisted that between August 1998, when Marvel terminated Stan Lee’s $1 million-a-year lifetime contract, and November 1998, when he entered into a new agreement, the legendary writer signed over to Stan Lee Entertainment (later Stan Lee Media) his likeness and the rights to all of the characters he co-created.
New concept art has debuted for the Shanghai Disney Resort, revealing plans for a Toy Story-themed hotel.
Released on Disney Insider, the images provide an overview of the resort, which will include a Magic Kingdom-style theme park, two hotels and a shopping, dining and entertainment district called Disneytown (complete with Walt Disney Grand Theatre).
Eighty-six years ago today, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse made their official debut in “Steamboat Willie,” the 1928 animated short that helped to launch an entertainment empire (their actual first appearance was in a May 1928 test screening of “Plane Crazy”).
To celebrate the occasion, Biography has released a history of Mickey Mouse (sorry, Minnie), highlighting the iconic character’s origins, his 1935 makeover, and his promotional role during World War II.
Disney, meanwhile, sent a rickshaw-driving Mickey on a trip across India for his birthday in a new animated short called “Mickey Mumbai Madness,” which debuted today on Disney Channel India (you can watch it below, along with “Steamboat Willie”).
Black Widow and Hawkeye made their Disney Parks debut over the weekend, appearing at Disneyland for the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the were joined at the event by Thor, Captain America and a contingent of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
If you missed them, you may be out of luck, as Disney’s Shawn Slater there are no plans for Black Widow and Hawkeye to visit Disneyland on a regular basis. However, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man maintain a presence at Innovations in Tomorrowland (interestingly, ROBOT 6’s J.K. Parkin noted that Iron Man was nowhere to be seen at the Half Marathon).
If James Spader’s unsettling recitation of “I’ve Got No Strings” in the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser left you reexamining your feelings about Disney’s Pinocchio, you’re definitely not alone.
However, the homicidal robot’s path of destruction doesn’t stop there: In the new animated parody from How It Should Have Ended, Ultron proceeds to stomp out any warm memories you may have of Cinderella, Aladdin, The Lion King and even Frozen. Clearly, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are powerless in the face of this threat.
Still reeling from its loss Wednesday in the Ninth Circuit, Stan Lee Media today suffered another defeat in Pennsylvania, where a federal judge ruled the failed dot-com can’t insert itself into Disney’s dispute with a theater company by asserting ownership of Spider-Man.
As you may recall, Disney in September 2013 sued Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre, claiming its musical revue Broadway: Now and Forever used unlicensed elements Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King. However, as Disney’s attorneys later noted, that “simple case” was “transmogrified” when the theater announced it had retroactively licensed Spider-Man … from Stan Lee Media.
That conveniently opened the door for the company to sue Disney, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, an issue Stan Lee Media argued had never been directly addressed by any court. It was certainly a creative maneuver using one of the few potential paths left to pursue its fight with Marvel and Disney (a clearly annoyed judge had warned in September 2013 that any attempt to amend its previous lawsuit against the House of Mouse would be “futile”).
Legal | Disney on Tuesday asked a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a two-year-old lawsuit by Stan Lee Media claiming the copyright to such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men. A lawyer for Stan Lee Media, which no longer connected to its namesake, argued a federal judge in Colorado erred last year in dismissing the 2012 complaint, but Disney countered that the copyright claims have been addressed time and again by the courts. “This is their seventh bite of a rotten apple,” Disney attorney Jim Quinn said after the hearing. The three-judge panel hasn’t issued its decision. [The Associated Press]
Manga | The finale of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, which will run in an upcoming issue of Shonen Jump (both the Japanese and the North American editions), will be two chapters long, with the second appearing in full color, the manga magazine announced. Naruto was at one time the bestselling graphic novel in the United States and is still one of the top selling manga in the country. [Anime News Network]
Marvel will launch a five-part miniseries next spring based on the Disney Parks roller coaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Teased Saturday with posters at the Disneyland and a Magic Kingdom attractions before an official announcement, the comic is the third series in the Disney Kingdoms line, following Seekers of the Weird and Figment.
If you’ve ever wondered how Ex Machina co-creator Tony Harris would take on some of the iconic rides at Disney parks, look no further — Harris has posted four deluxe prints done for the House of Mouse on Facebook, including his take on Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and one of Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent fame.
When we last left Deadmau5, the world-famous DJ/producer was publicly accusing Disney of copyright infringement in retaliation for the entertainment giant’s effort to block the trademark for his signature “mau5head” logo. At 171 pages, the company’s notice of opposition was certainly thorough, but that’s nothing compared to the DJ’s formal response.
Hollywood Esq. reports that on Monday, Deadmau5 filed more than 1,000 pages — when you take exhibits into account — with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, addressing not only the drier issues of whether his logo might be confused with Disney’s famed mouse ears, but also some considerably more interesting matters.
Marvel will expand its forthcoming Star Wars line in April with Star Wars — Kanan: The Last Padawan, an ongoing comic that ties in to Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels animated series.
Announced today during the “Cup o’ Joe” panel at New York Comic Con, the series will be written by animation veteran Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, Young Justice), an executive producer for Rebels‘ first season, and illustrated by Pepe Larraz (The Mighty Thor).
Law 360 reports the failed dot com argued before a panel of the Ninth Circuit that the case shouldn’t have been dismissed in 2012 by a California federal judge simply because an identical action in New York was determined two years earlier to be time-barred. However, Lee’s attorney countered that the lead plaintiff in both shareholder actions was Jose Abadin, president of Stan Lee Media.
The backstory is familiar by now to ROBOT 6 readers, but here’s the CliffsNotes version: In 1998, during Marvel’s bankruptcy, CEO Isaac Perlmutter briefly ended its $1-million-a-year lifetime contract with Lee, freeing the legendary creator to form Stan Lee Entertainment, which later merged with Stan Lee Media. That company in turned filed for bankruptcy in February 2001; just four months after SLM emerged from protection in November 2006, shareholders filed a $5 billion lawsuit against Marvel.
The publisher’s IDW Limited program, which produces small print runs of deluxe editions, will also offer select collections geared to Disney devotees, while the fledgling Micro Comic Fun Packs line will market multiple properties to a mass audience, complete with minicomics, stickers and posters.
In addition, IDW’s celebrated Library of American Comics will collect the newspaper strips that have featured Disney characters (there’s a long line of them, dating to the early 1930s with Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphony and, toward the end of the decade, Donald Duck).
“There’s nothing quite like Disney,” IDW Publishing CEO Ted Adams said in a statement. “Despite the fact that nearly all of the titles in its library were originally intended for kids, adult collectors have long sought high quality and regularly published collections of classic Disney material. IDW is thrilled to present these beloved stories in quality packages for both entry level comics readers and serious collectors alike.”
The publisher also announced it has expanded its partnership with Marvel for its Artist’s Edition line, which already includes such collections as Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor, John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1 & 2), Steranko: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel Covers Artist’s Edition.
Law.com has an interesting follow-up to the surprise settlement last week in the five-year-old legal battle between Marvel and Jack Kirby’s heirs, noting that the larger copyright issue at its center remain unresolved.
The children of the legendary artist filed 45 copyright-termination notices in September 2009, seeking to reclaim what they saw as their father’s stake in such Marvel characters as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk. Marvel, joined by its then-new parent company Disney, responded with a lawsuit, setting the dispute down a path that ultimately saw the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirm Kirby’s contributions to the publisher between 1959 and 1963 were “work for hire,” and therefore not subject to copyright termination.
Under a clause in the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act, which extended the duration of copyright, authors or their heirs can reclaim rights transferred before 1978 after a period of 56 years. However, if a work is determined to be “for hire,” meaning it was created by an employee as part of his employment or specially commissioned as part of a larger work, then the publisher (or movie studio, record label, etc.) owns the copyright, and it is not subject to termination.
With its ambitious sandbox video game Disney Infinity, Disney has hit upon a way to generate sales — to the tune of $500 million worldwide — and to further promote a range of movie properties, ranging from The Pirates of the Caribbean to Frozen to The Incredibles (version 2.0 arrives next week, bringing the Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy into play). But could it also be quietly marketing comic books? Well, at least Marvel comic books?
Introduced in August 2013, Disney Infinity allows players to bring an assortment of characters into the game by purchasing $13 figurines and placing them on a special scanner, and to create their own world within the Disney universe using “Toy Box Mode.”