"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Exhibits | The media got a first glimpse Wednesday in London of the “Impossible Collection (DC Chapter),” which features more than 1,000 DC classics, including the first appearances of Superman (Action Comics #1) and Batman (Detective Comics #27). It will go on a worldwide tour later this year. The collection is the property of Ayman Hariri, the son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, and it didn’t take him very long to amass it: He stared collecting after his father was assassinated in 2005, inspired by a drawing his father had done of Superman. [Reuters, The Upcoming]
Settlement talks have stalled between the organizers of Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con, which means the dispute over the “Comic Con” trademark may end up being resolved in federal court.
According to the Deseret News, a judge has given the two parties until the end of the month to schedule pretrial hearings. However, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg says a settlement is still possible.
It turns out a planetary invasion by Loki and his Chitauri allies was only the beginning of Nick Fury’s problems.
Now a German manufacturer of luxury travel briefcases is suing Marvel and Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment over the attaché case used by the S.H.I.E.L.D. director in the billion-dollar blockbuster The Avengers.
Hollywood, Esq. reports that Rimowa GmbH, which provided the studio with an aluminum Topas attaché case for Samuel L. Jackson to carry in the film, has filed a lawsuit in federal court in California claiming that Marvel damaged the company’s trademark by then manufacturing replicas for the “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One — Avengers Assembled” limited-edition box set. Arriving Sept. 25, the collection comes “complete with glowing Tesseract” and an “exclusive replica of Nick Fury’s iconic briefcase.”
Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich has appealed a December 2011 court ruling that he gave up all claims to the fiery spirit of vengeance when he endorsed checks from Marvel’s predecessor 40 years ago.
The writer filed a lawsuit in April 2007, shortly after the release of Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider movie, accusing the studio, Marvel, Hasbro and other companies of copyright infringement, false advertising and unfair competition, among other counts, contending he had regained the copyright to the character some six years earlier. Friedrich argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.
Marvel fired back in 2010, accusing Friedrich of violating its trademark by using the phrase “Ghost Rider” and selling unauthorized posters, cards and T-shirts online and at comic conventions. In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its countersuit if Friedrich would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise, a move that drew sharp criticism from creators and fans alike.
Comic-Con | Badges for Comic-Con International go on sale online Saturday at 8 a.m. PT for those who met the Feb. 28 deadline to register for Member IDs. Emails were sent out Thursday directing those with Member IDs to the specific Event Planning International Corp web address. Organizers instituted the registration system this year in an attempt to make the notoriously problematic badge-purchasing process go more smoothly: Everyone — attendee, volunteer, professional or press — who intends to purchase or apply for a convention badge must first have a Member ID. Comic-Con will be held July 12-15 at the San Diego Convention Center. [Comic-Con International]
Community | If you helped Mike Meyer, the mentally disabled man whose entire Superman collection was stolen last year, NPR would like to talk to you. After the theft, comics fans sent hundreds of Superman items to Meyer to replace the ones that were stolen. Eventually the original collection was retrieved, and Meyer shared most of the donated items with a local children’s hospital. NPR interviewed Meyer for its State of the Re:Union show and would like to talk to donors large and small as well. Contact details are at the link. [ComicsAlliance]
The Courier Mail reports the Australian Trade Marks Office has rejected an application by Brisbane clothing-store owner Gary Charles to register the words “Ghost Rider” following opposition by Marvel.
Charles had first applied to register the trademark in 2009 and, following a threat of legal action by the company, decided to pursue his case. “I thought why should I let them push me around,” he told the newspaper. “But if I’d known the trouble it would be I would have dropped the trademark.”
Solicitor Fiona Brittain, who represented Marvel Characters Inc., argued Charles’ application was made in bad faith, and that he’d previously attempted to register such marks as Red Bull and Army of One. An investigation by her firm allegedly uncovered counterfeit clothing in his store, “including Spider-Man and Marvel Superheroes branded garments.”
The hearing officer was persuaded by the evidence, ruling: “The evidence which the Opponent has provided in respect of the Applicant’s other trade mark applications and registrations, in conjunction with the evidence of the clothing brands available for sale in the Applicant’s shop, is sufficient for me to be satisfied that this application is an example of the Applicant’s standard pattern of behaviour, a pattern which leaves much to be desired as far as commercial fair dealing is concerned.”
Now Charles is left with Ghost Rider-branded denim shorts that, according to the newspaper, he was still trying to “offload” last week. If that’s the case, he should probably expect another letter from Marvel …
A toy manufacturer and distributor claims Stan Lee, POW! Entertainment, Archie Comics, A Squared Entertainment and others violated its trademark with the new multimedia series Super Seven — after two of the companies promised they wouldn’t.
Announced in February, Super Seven is a planned comics, animation and online property about seven aliens whose spaceship crashes on Earth, where they’re befriended by Lee and resume their lives as superheroes.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, Super7 says its attorney contacted A Squared Entertainment and Lee’s POW! Entertainment in March to point out its longstanding trademarks and warn them not to violate those rights. In a response received later that month, the toymaker was reportedly assured the companies “have decided to move in a different direction and are in the process of developing another mark for their products.” In another letter, in early June, Super7 was told the companies planned to trademark “Stan Lee and the Super Seven.” The toymaker’s counsel responded the name was still too similar and “would be likely to confuse consumers,” and invited the attorney for the two companies to contact Super7 “to discuss the matter further.”
The plaintiff claims it heard nothing more on the matter until last month when, during Comic-Con International in San Diego, Stan Lee and executives from Archie Comics and A Squared Entertainment announced Super Seven will launch later this year.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, a judgment ordering Lee and his co-defendants to stop using Super7’s trademark, and the destruction of all prints, packaging and advertisements bearing the names “Super Seven” or “Stan Lee and the Super Seven.”