Scott Mitchell Rosenberg Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Platinum, Universal seek dismissal of Cowboys & Aliens lawsuit

Universal Pictures, DreamWorks and Platinum Studios have asked a federal judge in Texas to dismiss a lawsuit filed in December by a cartoonist claiming the sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens infringes on his 1995 comic of the same name.

In his complaint, Steven Busti contends the 2006 graphic novel on which the movie is based “contains striking similarities” to his own story, published more than a decade earlier in Bizarre Fantasy #1. Among those are “an alien spaceship zooming overhead the main cowboy character, the spacecraft being discovered by Native American warriors (specifically Apache) who are then attacked” and an alien commander “incredibly similar” to the conqueror “Morguu” in Busti’s work.

But Law 360 reports that in a motion filed Tuesday, the studios and Cowboys & Aliens creator Scott Mitchell Rosenberg assert Busti doesn’t provide sufficient evidence that Rosenberg had access to the self-published Bizarre Fantasy, “but instead simply alleges his comic was ‘published internationally and widely available’ and that a preview of his Cowboys and Aliens story appeared on an eight-page, obscure free weekly publication.”

Indeed, Busti, who didn’t register his comic with the U.S. Copyright Office until September 2011, two months after the premiere of the Universal film, seems to rely heavily on timing for his complaint: He notes that a preview of his “Cowboys and Aliens” story appeared on the back of Bizarre Fantasy #0 in November 1995, and was spotlighted in Comic Shop News, on the same page as a profile of Rosenberg. Less than two years later, Platinum released a one-sheet featuring a cowboy chased by an alien spaceship, part of a promotional effort that led to the sale of the film rights and the eventual release in 2006 of the graphic novel.

The defendants also brushed off accusations that the Platinum graphic novel and subsequent film adaptation bear “striking similarities” to Busti’s comic, saying that such aspects as the alien ship flying over a cowboy and the attack on the Native Americans “are generic plot elements that do not demonstrate striking similarity.”

Cartoonist sues over Cowboys & Aliens movie

A cartoonist has sued Universal Pictures, DreamWorks and Platinum Studios, claiming that the sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens infringes on his 1995 comic of the same name.

In his complaint, first reported by TMZ, Steven Bunti contends the 2006 Platinum graphic novel on which the film is based “contains striking similarities” to his own story, published more than a decade earlier in Bizarre Fantasy #1. Among those are “an alien spaceship zooming overhead the main cowboy character, the spacecraft being discovered by Native American warriors (specifically Apache) who are then attacked” and an alien commander “incredibly similar” to the conqueror “Morguu” in Bunti’s work.

Although Bunti didn’t register his comic with the U.S. Copyright Office until September, two months after the premiere of the Universal film, he notes that a preview of the story appeared on the back of Bizarre Fantasy #0 in November 1995, and was spotlighted in Comic Shop News — on the same page as a story about Malibu Studios and Platinum chairman, and Cowboys & Aliens creator, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg (he’s also named in Bunti’s lawsuit).

In May 1997, Platinum released a one-sheet featuring a cowboy chased by an alien spaceship, part of a promotional effort that led Universal and DreamWorks to buy the film rights to Cowboys & Aliens, and Platinum to publish the 2006 graphic novel, overseen by Rosenberg.

Continue Reading »

Graphicly publishes digital version of Cowboys & Aliens


The Cowboys & Aliens movie premiered last week at Comic-Con International, and it opens nationwide on Friday, so it’s a good time to revisit the graphic novel on which it’s based. Remember the graphic novel? Despite the controversy around the initial marketing — the claim is that publisher Platinum Studios boosted the book onto the bestseller list by giving it away for free — I thought it was a pretty good read. Which is not surprising, considering it has a pretty solid team of writers and artists behind it: Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley are the writers, and Dennis Calero and Luciano Lima handled the art.

Graphicly announced Wednesday that it’s releasing an enhanced digital edition priced at $9.99, and publishing a special Nook edition at the same price. Or you could get it for free: Years ago, Cowboys & Aliens was published digitally at Wowio, which was owned by Platinum at one time but is now a separate company. It is still up at Wowio with a list price of $1.99, but at the moment it’s free as a sponsored download— without the enhancements, of course.

So what makes Graphicly’s version worth $10? I put the question directly to Ron Richards, the company’s vice president of external relations, and here is his response: “The C&A book on Graphicly is the latest release (the Wowio one is dated 2006), and the extras contain all the movie trailers, character sketches and bios. The characters are hot-spotted throughout the book, so you can click on someone and load up their bio and see development sketches. And when it’s purchased at B&N, you can unlock even more extras including video and audio.”

The extras are pretty impressive, but so is the price differential. So I leave it to you, readers: Which would you buy?


Browse the Robot 6 Archives