SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
For a few weeks it appeared as if This Charming Charlie, the popular blog that mashes up Peanuts panels with The Smiths lyrics, was heading nowhere fast, as Universal Music Publishing Group began inundating Tumblr with takedown notices, claiming copyright infringement. However, the blog’s mastermind Lauren LoPrete stood her ground, and with a little legal help filed counter-notifications with Tumblr, insisting the mash-ups fall under the fair-use exception of U.S. copyright law.
Now, not only has Universal apparently backed away from efforts to yank the parodies, but former Smiths frontman and lyricist Morrissey has given This Charming Charlie his endorsement. He also made clear in a statement to the True to You fansite that he had nothing to do with the takedown notices.
As Morrissey once wrote, “I know it’s over/And it never really began”: This Charming Charlie, the delightful blog that mashed up Peanuts panels with The Smiths lyrics, has closed (at least for now), less than two months after its launch. But the culprit might not be who you think.
Techdirt notes that the blog’s mastermind Lauren LoPrete announced last week that The Smiths license holder Universal Music Publishing Group — rather that Peanuts Worldwide — began inundating her with takedown notices, leading her to advise her readers that she’s ending the Tumblr. However, she isn’t giving up without a fight.
LoPrete tells Motherboard that as soon as she posted the farewell, she began getting offers from lawyers to accept her case pro bono. And so now, with a little help, she’s filing counter-notifications with Tumblr, insisting the mash-ups fall under the fair-use exception of U.S. copyright law.
In the grand Internet tradition of combining one thing you like with another thing you like, the blog This Charming Charlie matches panels from Charles Schulz’s legendary comic strip Peanuts with the lyrics of ’80s alternative rock pioneers The Smiths. The results range from funny to poignant — fitting, given both of the source materials.
Comics fans are known to be an intense lot, but there’s not the only ones. And when two fandoms overlap, it gets some interesting results. Last year, we saw not one but two volumes of an anthology taking songs by the 1980s U.K. band The Smiths and turning them into comics. And now, we find something else crossing The Smiths with comics.
Greek artist Con Chrisoulis has been doing a webcomic called Tales of the Smiths, which pulls excerpts from interviews and illustrates them, digging into the inspirations and motivations behind the four men who made up The Smiths. Appearing on the Greek comics site SoComic, Chrisoulis produced both a Greek- and English-language version of each strip. So far he’s created 25 installments, with no sign of stopping anytime soon. Here’s the most recent one to give you a taste:
‘Tis the season for decking those halls, trimming those trees, lighting the menorah and, of course, figuring out what to buy for your friends and family. To help give you some ideas, we reached out to a few comic creators, asking them:
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
We’ve gotten back a bunch of suggestions, which we’ll run between now and the end of the week. So let the merriment commence …
1. Exclusive 2011 Janet Lee Holiday Ornaments
Every year, Janet does about 12 ornaments, three sets of four. This year, she has done Hipster Animals, Scary Toys and Art Nouveau Angels. They are signed and dated, and at the end of the season, that’s it! She stops making them. I’ve been collecting them since 2007, and now our tree is almost completely filled with Janet’s art. You can buy them exclusively through her Etsy shop.
Oh, and if you’re REALLY nice, she MAY have a very limited Dapper Men ornament or two. Just ask!
2. This year, for myself, I’m going with a mix of Blu-Rays (portable Blu-Ray player, please, Santa!) and books. But the thing I’m REALLY excited for is the hardcover edition of the Complete Ripley novels, by Patricia Highsmith. Most people only know of Ms. Highsmith through The Talented Mr. Ripley (and classic film lovers through Strangers On a Train). There were actually five Tom Ripley novels, and the collection looks amazing. Why these books? My spouse recently Tweeted a quote from John Lithgow that struck me as a writer: “Duality, duplicity, truth and deception, good becoming bad and vice-versa are crucial elements of great storytelling.” Highsmith was and remains an unsung hero of mastering that, so I hope I learn something in the process!
Happy Holidays from the Dapper Lariosa-McCann household!
Jim McCann is the writer of Return of the Dapper Men and its upcoming sequel, Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol, Hawkeye:Blindspot and the upcoming Mind The Gap.
It seems like my Google Reader and email box are getting full, so here’s a quick roundup of several new and new-ish announcements and information about upcoming comics and graphic novels.
• Marvel has announced plans to finally release the last few issues of The Twelve, starting in January. “It’s taken a long while, but finally, FINALLY, the balance of The Twelve has been completed and we’re ready to ship it all to our long-suffering fans,” said Tom Brevoort, senior vice president and execuitve editor. “We appreciate everybody’s patience, and both hope and expect that the conclusion will live up to the wait. And for folks who missed out the first time, we’re making it easy to get back on board no matter how much or how little of the previous eight issues you may have already read, though the release of the softcover trade paperback of the first six issues, and a Marvel Must-Have containing #7 and #8. So you’ve got no excuse not to experience one of the best reviewed, best beloved and long-awaited series Marvel has ever produced as it reaches its ultimate climax.”
• Fantagraphics has released their publishing catalog for Spring/Summer 2012, which includes their first two EC Comics collections, Gary Panter’s Dal Tokyo, more manga from Shimura Takako and Moto Hagio, and new volumes of Peanuts, Mickey Mouse, Carl Barks, Captain Easy, among others. The full catalog is available as a PDF.
I love that Shawn Demumbrum discovered The Smiths the same way I did: through the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. But more than that, I love that he’s put together a group of storytellers with a similar affection for the band who want to make an anthology based on its songs. There’s a Kickstarter campaign of course, but it’s already reached more than double its initial goal of $3000.
The plan is to have 13 stories answer this question about 13 songs: “What story plays in your head when you listen to your favorite Smiths song?” According to the Kickstarter page, each creative team will make a 4-8 page story inspired by their favorites. Demumbrum writes that “The song acts as an inspiration, jumping off point, theme or mood for the story” and that “Each story varies in style and genre.”
The set list is:
“Death at One’s Elbow” by Glen Curren and Madame M
“Shoplifters of the World Unite” by Shawn Demumbrum and Matt Goodall
“Rubber Ring” by Dennmann
“Girlfriend in a Coma” by JP Manzanares
“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by Henry Barajas and Christian Vilaire
“Cemetry Gates” by Libbi Rich and Eric Schock
“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” by Emily Rich and Jenn Fuguet
“How Soon is Now?” by Foo! and Sam Lagreen
“Pretty Girls Make Graves” by Thomas Healy and Justin Miller
“Panic” by Matthew Burke and Joshua Green
“What Difference Does It Make?” by Michael Kessler and Jeff Pina
“Handsome Devil” by Shelby Robertson
“Suffer Little Children” by John Chihak
Demumbrum hopes to debut the book at Tucson Comic-Con in November.
Update: Sterling Gates tweets that he’s also contributing a story to the book based on “William, It Was Really Nothing.”