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Legal | The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a June decision by the Seventh Circuit affirming that the 50 Sherlock Holmes stories published before Jan. 1, 1923, have entered the public domain. The estate had long insisted licensing fees be paid for the characters and story elements to be used in movies, television series and books, but author, editor and Holmes expert Leslie Klinger refused to fork over $5,000 for an anthology of new stories. In a series of legal defeats, the Doyle estate not only lost any claim to the stories but had to endure stinging public reprimands by Judge Richard Posner, who labeled the licensing fees as “a form of extortion” and praised Klinger for performing a “public service” by filing his lawsuit.
In its petition to the high court, the Doyle estate continues to cling to its argument (gleefully dismantled by Posner) that Holmes is a “complex” character that he was effectively incomplete until the author’s final story was published in the United States; therefore, the entire body of work remains protected by copyright. Hoping to draw the interest of the justices, the estate points to a circuit split on the matter of extending copyright. The lawyers also repeat the unsuccessful argument that Klinger’s case shouldn’t have been heard until after his book was published. In June, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kegan refused to issue a stay to prevent the Holmes stories from officially entering the public domain. [TechDirt]
Neal Adams will appear Saturday at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles for not only a signing but also for a sneak peek at the upcoming Blood motion comic, animated by Continuity Studios (the plan is for the story, originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents, to be eventually be developed as an animated feature).
However, it doesn’t stop there: Adams also will present a discussion about the Silver Age, followed by a Q&A.
And for fans with a sweet tooth, Sweet! Hollywood will use the event to introduce its set of signature candy bars with packaging featuring Adams characters like Bucky O’Hare, Crazyman and Armor, as well as “Neal’s best illustrated paintings” (they’re $8.99 each). Sweet! Hollywood previously teamed with Meltdown for the special Hellboy chocolates, released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1.
The lecture is scheduled for Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (the $5 tickets can be purchased here), followed by the signing.
Meltdown Comics & Collectibles on Thursday became the first brick-and-mortar comic store to accept Bitcoin, the much-discussed digital currency transferred from person to person over the Internet.
The news arrives courtesy of the cryptocurrency website Spelunk.in, which participated in the Los Angeles store’s first transaction (for the record, it was for The Death-Ray by Daniel Clowes).
“We at Meltdown like technology and like to move with it when possible,” general manager Francisco Dominguez told the site. “The thought of some magical money that’s not being spent and that I can accept to sell product was mindblowing. So it was a no-brainer that i had to jump on this new currency. […] Brick-and-mortar/mom-and-pop shops are closing as digital takes over paper print. Hopefully this new way of bringing revenue in to a business will help keep them/us alive.”
He said he hopes to offer Bitcoin users incentives, including discounts, swag and special events.
Commercial use of Bitcoin is still small — as of late November, only about 1,000 physical locations worldwide accepted it — but there’s a sizable speculator market, leading to a volatile exchange rate.
It’s Wednesday again, right (checks watch)? Jim Mahfood has made a video laying out an excellent case as to why you should get down to your local comic shop and buy the first issue of Everybody Loves Tank Girl, the Titan Comics miniseries by he and Alan Martin. Especially if your local is Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, which is hosting the release party.
In an ideal world, all comic book editor-in-chiefs should experience working at a comic book store. Such is the case with current BOOM! Studios EIC Matt Gagnon, who spent a spell as buyer and purchasing manager for Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics. Gagnon recently took some time to discuss BOOM!’s transition away from the Disney properties and toward KaBOOM! books like Peanuts and Adventure Time, as well as creator-owned works such as Roger Langridge’s Snarked. The bulk of this interview took place well before Newsarama’s report that Mark Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible were both drawing to a close this May, but Gagnon and I spoke of it briefly after the news broke. I will be curious to see what big news BOOM! will have in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this interview. Me? I wish I was a young writer, so that I could get Gagnon to send me a Mark Waid script.
Tim O’Shea: What were your priorities when you took over the EIC role, and how successfully did you achieve what you set out to accomplish with the BOOM! line?
Matt Gagnon: I was—and continue to be—focused on maintaining the level of execution that the fans expect of us and we expect of ourselves. Before I became EIC I had already spent two years as Managing Editor, building a style and a system of how we make comics and fulfill the promises of what we solicit. Not to oversimplify our principals, but at its core we’re all about publishing great comics and shipping them on time. This July will be my 2 year anniversary as EIC and I feel like we’ve only been getting better and better.
Back in 2008 when I came to the company, one of my first goals was to make sure the trains were running on time. We’ve been very consistent since then and I’m extremely proud of the reputation we’ve garnered. It’s a testament to the insanely talented team we have here at BOOM! and the dedicated network of talent we have involved in our comics. We’ve been recognized by Diamond and our retail partners for two years in a row with the Best Publisher Award (under 4%).
Anybody who knows me knows that I have high expectations of myself and my team. I want to maximize every opportunity that we have. I don’t just want to do Planet of the Apes comics; I want to do the best Planet of the Apes comics, you know? The same goes for Hellraiser, 28 Days Later, Adventure Time, or anything else that we publish.
Creatively, I’ve always had a vision for our line and I’m proud of all that we’re accomplishing. We continue to achieve our goals every day, every time we send another issue to print that we’re proud of. But there’s always more to be done and bigger goals that we’re working toward. You can never rest on your laurels.
While some readers had difficulties completing DC Comics’ unprecedented survey about its line-wide relaunch, Patton Oswalt experienced his own problem in the flesh — and he’s not happy about. In fact, his encounter with an employee of Nielsen NRG at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles left the actor-comedian bidding farewell to DC.
“Don’t go to @MeltdownComics today unless you like getting buttonholed into douch-ey, stultifying New 52 surveys,” Oswalt wrote Wednesday on Twitter, saying that he was approached repeatedly by a “pushy” representative of the market research company, even after he said “no” and walked away.
Although the bulk of the reader survey is being conducted online, Nielsen is also going to a handful of direct-market stores nationwide for in-person interviews. Presumably most of those will go a little more … smoothly.
Comics artist, designer and photographer Pinguino Kolb, and voice actress, director, writer and producer Stephanie Sheh have pulled together an art auction, under the name We Heart Japan, to benefit the victims of last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The event will take place at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood on Thursday. Yes, this Thursday: In less than a week, the two have pulled together donations from a number of local artists as well as the anime companies Bandai and Geneon, the anime streaming site Crunchyroll and the anime convention AM2. They are still looking for donations, though; if you are a Los Angeles-area artist and want to contribute framed sketches, paintings or digital art, contact information is on their website (or direct-message them via Twitter). Anime actors and cosplayers will also be there to mingle and sign autographs; check the Facebook page to see who’s coming.
“Japan has always been a huge inspiration for those working in anime and comics, and we’re doing this show as a way to give back to the community there,” Kolb said in an e-mail to Robot 6.
Proceeds will go to the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund, which will work with Japan’s Give One initiative to relay the money directly to local charities that are helping with the relief efforts. And more events are in the offing; follow them on Twitter to get the latest news.