Friday, April 18, 2008
tales of the back catalogue (sort of)
(image courtesy the New York Times and Marvel Comics)
Today the New York Times has a story on one of my favorite comic characters, Captain America. What can I say, I like mighty shields.
The article contains this interesting passage:
On the frontier of a new industry, writers and artists creat[ed] scores of characters, but publishers profit[ed] from them.
These days creators have learned from the past by self-publishing or otherwise securing the rights to their progeny. But some of the founding fathers of American superheroes are still seeking justice. Just last month a federal judge ruled that the heirs of Jerry Siegel, a creator of Superman, were entitled to claim a share of the United States copyright of the character. Time Warner, which owns DC Comics, would retain the international rights.
“That’s great,” the bespectacled Mr. Simon said. “Jerry Siegel started it,” he added, referring to the effort by Mr. Siegel’s wife and daughter in 1997 to secure the copyright to Superman. (Under a 1976 law, heirs can recover the rights to their relatives’ creations under certain circumstances. Mr. Siegel died in 1996 without major compensation for his character.) That family’s stand inspired Mr. Simon’s own claim to Captain America in 1999.
Captain Copyright may have been forced into an underground hideout by mobs of pot-crazed anarchists (or something like that), but he still manages to save the odd widow and orphan.
And congratulations to Wikipedia on that fair and balanced article about Captain Copyright. Good to see new media isn't falling into the same patterns as old media.