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Comics A.M. | Man demands ‘Magic’ cards in attempted robbery

magic-surveillance-social

Crime | A sheepish would-be robber walked away empty-handed Monday afternoon after attempting to hold up a Little Rock, Arkansas, comic store for Magic: The Gathering Cards. “I hate to do this, but I have a gun, and I want a box of Magic cards for my son’s birthday,” the man allegedly told a clerk at The Comic Book Shop. However, when the employee offered him a pack of the cards, he reportedly declined and left, saying, “Don’t call police.” The suspect remains at large, although police have distributed an image of him taken from a security camera. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

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Supreme Court won’t hear Batmobile copyright dispute

#1 Batmobile, Superheroes, gadgets, Cable Cutter, Bat-Ray Projec

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined to review a ruling that the Batmobile isn’t merely an automobile, but rather distinctive enough to warrant copyright protection.

Mark Towle, who previously created unlicensed replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles, petitioned the high court in January to consider his five-year-old dispute with DC Comics. The company had sued Towle in 2011, claiming his Gotham Garage violated its trademarks and copyrights by manufacturing the replicas, which he sold for about $90,000 each.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Comic Con’ trademark feud nears an end

comic con banner

Legal | It looks as if the end is in sight in the trademark dispute between Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con over the use of the term “comic con.” The organizers of Comic-Con International in San Diego claim legal ownership of the term “Comic Con” and sued the producers of the Salt Lake City even in 2014 for trademark infringement. Although settlement talks have broken down before, attorneys for both sides say they’ve resolved many of their disagreements, and have asked a federal judge to give them until March 1 to work out the finer points of a deal. [The Associated Press]

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Comics A.M. | A look at Stan Lee’s complicated legacy

stan lee

Creators | Writing for New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Abraham Reisman takes a warts-and-all look at the career and legacy of Stan Lee in a lengthy article article alternately titled “It’s Stan Lee’s Universe” and “Why is Stan Lee’s Legacy in Question?” Peppered with quotes from the likes of Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Mark Evanier, Colleen Doran, Paul Levitz and Mark Waid, it’s a deep dive into Lee’s history, touching upon everything from his disputes with one-time collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto to his more recent output to the state of his company POW! Entertainment, which by most indications is struggling. [Vulture]

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Appeals court upholds Warner Bros.’ Superman rights

action1

A federal appeals court has again sided with DC Comics and Warner Bros. in the long-running feud over the rights to the Man of Steel.

As first reported by THR, Esq., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a 2013 ruling that the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel relinquished their claim to the character in a 2001 settlement with DC, and therefore are not able to terminate the copyright.

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Judge shuts down lawsuit over ‘Iron Man’ armor design

ironman-social

A judge has ruled that a lawsuit over the design for the “Iron Man” armor — which prosecutors Ben Lai and Ray Lai say is based on designs from their independent comic, “Radix” — has no place in the Massachusetts courts.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney and Marvel are protected from the lawsuit because state-level judge Denise Casper has decided the matter doesn’t belong in the Massachusetts courts. Casper said, “…the claims lack relatedness to his state with no specific allegations tying transactions, creations or marketing to Massachusetts.”

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Comics A.M. | Amazon may open more than 300 physical stores

amazon books-seattle

Retailing | After opening its first physical store in November in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon is reportedly planning hundreds more. The news came from Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of real-estate investment company General Growth Properties, who revealed Tuesday in an earnings call that, “You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400.” An Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” The retailer’s Seattle store, called simply Amazon Books, stocks between 5,000 and 6,000 titles. [The Wall Street Journal]

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Comics A.M. | Akira Himekawa to release ‘Zelda’ manga ‘Twilight Princess’

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda

Manga | Akira Himekawa, the two-woman team that drew the Legend of Zelda manga, has announced a new project: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, based on the 2006 game of the same name. The manga will be published on Shogakukan’s MangaOne app, which is not the same as the Manga One app available in English. Viz Media published Akira Himekawa’s previous Zelda manga, which ran from 1998 to 2008. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Iranian cartoonist acquitted on ‘illegitimate relations’ charges

Atena Farghadani

Atena Farghadani

Legal | Iranian political cartoonist Atena Farghadani and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi have been acquitted on charges of “non-adultery illegitimate relations.” The charges were brought after the two shook hands during one of Moghimi’s visits to Farghadani in prison, where she’s serving a 13-year sentence for drawing a cartoon critical of the Iranian parliament. The “illegitimate relations” charges carried a maximum penalty of 99 lashes, and in the course of the investigation, Farghadani was subjected to involuntary pregnancy and virginity tests. She’s not out of the woods yet, however: The prosecutor could appeal the acquittal. [CBLDF]

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Supreme Court asked to consider Batmobile copyright case

#1 Batmobile, Superheroes, gadgets, Cable Cutter, Bat-Ray Projec

A manufacturer of unlicensed Batmobile replicas has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether Batman’s signature vehicle is indeed protected by copyright.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Towle of Gotham Garage filed a writ of certiorari today asking the justices to review his nearly five-year-old dispute with DC Comics.

Towle, who produced replicas of  the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles that sold for as much as $90,000 each, was sued in 2011 by DC, which claimed copyright and trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting and unfair competition. Towle had argued that the U.S. Copyright Act doesn’t protect “useful articles,” defined as objects that have “an intrinsic utilitarian function” (for example, clothing, household appliances or, in this case, automobile functions); in short, that the Batmobile’s design is merely functional.

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Artist charged in alleged ‘Kung Fu Panda’ shakedown

kung fu panda

A Massachusetts cartoonist has been charged with fraud and perjury stemming from his failed 2011 copyright-infringement lawsuit against DreamWorks Animation involving the 2008 blockbuster Kung Fu Panda.

According to an indictment unsealed just before Christmas by the U.S. District Attorney in Boston, artist Jayme Gordon claimed the studio had stolen the characters and story for the 2008 blockbuster, and filed a lawsuit “as part of a fraud scheme designed to obtain a multi-million-dollar settlement” from the company.

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Comics A.M. | Driver sentenced in 2014 ZombieWalk crash

From the 2014 ZombieWalk crash

From the 2014 ZombieWalk crash

Legal | Matthew Pocci Jr., the driver who injured a woman last year during the annual San Diego ZombieWalk held in conjunction with Comic-Con International, has been sentenced to 60 days of house arrest, with electronic monitoring, and three years’ probation. His license has also been suspended for a year. Pocci had stopped to let the ZombieWalk procession go by, but then drove through onlookers, hitting several people and injuring one. He was convicted last month of felony reckless driving resulting in great bodily injury. At the sentencing hearing Pocci, who is deaf, apologized to the victim in sign language. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | Amarillo, Texas, comic store robbed at gunpoint

Big Apple Comics

Big Apple Comics

Crime | Police in Amarillo, Texas, are searching for a man who robbed the Big Apple Comics at gunpoint on Tuesday. An employee was locking up the store at about 7:10 p.m. when a man approached him and told him to unlock the doors. The employee resisted, and the robber reportedly drew a semi-automatic pistol and demanded money. The employee handed over an undisclosed amount of cash. [Amarillo Globe-News]

Passings | Zack Davisson, who translated Shigeru Mizuki’s works into English for Drawn and Quarterly, pens the definitive obituary of the late manga master, writing not only about his impact on Japanese culture but also his criticism of Japan’s actions in World War II and its treatment of disabled veterans, which led writer Jake Adelstein to call him “the Voice of Japan’s Conscience.” [The Comics Journal]

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Is Gollum good or evil? A Turkish court may have to decide

gollum

With a doctor’s freedom at stake, a Turkish court as asked a committee of experts to take up the question of whether Gollum from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is good or evil.

Bilgin Ciftci faces up to two years in prison on charges that he insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by comparing the politician to Gollum in a series of photos posted on Twitter.

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Comics A.M. | Trial date set in alleged Pokemon gun plot

Pokemon World Championships

Pokemon World Championships

Legal | Two Iowa men suspected of plotting an armed attack in August against the Pokemon World Championships will stand trial on May 9 in Boston. A pretrial hearing is set for Dec. 30. Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, have been held since their Aug. 22 arrest on charges of possession of a large-capacity weapon and other crimes. Prosecutors say the two, who allegedly made multiple online threats against the event, drove to Boston with guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in their car. [Ames Tribune]

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