web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #132

This is the one-hundred and thirty-second in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and thirty-one. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel once had a trademark on the word Zombie.

STATUS: True

Late last year, Marvel gained a registration for the trademark Marvel Zombies, most likely based on the sales success of the Marvel Zombies comic book.

In the registration for the mark, there is the following note: “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use zombies apart from the mark as shown.”

This is particularly amusing, considering that, for a time, Marvel, as improbable as it may sound, held a registered trademark on the word “Zombie” in comic book titles.

Marvel attempted to register the mark with the debut, in 1973, of their magazine-sized comic, Tale of the Zombie.

2129_4_01.jpg

By the time the registration was approved in 1975, the series was near completion.

2129_4_10.jpg

With the series in existence, I do not know how well Marvel would have been able to defend itself against someone arguing that the word “Zombie” was far too descriptive to be a trademark, but withOUT the series, it was only a matter of time before Marvel lost the trademark, and in 1996, after a request was filed for the cancellation of the trademark, the mark was canceled.

Pretty interesting attempt by Marvel, though, no? I am still surprised they were granted registration.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: The Eternals was called Return of the Gods before changing to the name.

STATUS: True

The Eternals was one of the first comic projects that Kirby did when he returned back to Marvel after his 70s stint at DC Comics ended.

The series was, at one point, called “The Return of the Gods,” and even got so far as to have a cover done with that title.

gods.gif

2346_4_01.jpg

There are two schools of thought as to why the change was made. Mark Evanier suggests that both of them, together, are the reasons why Marvel changed the name.

1. DC took issue with Kirby returning to Marvel, as DC chose that same time to do a relaunch of Kirby’s New Gods characters, only this time, under the banner…Return of the New Gods.

f.kpcmc1stS20013--01.jpg

2. Marvel was afraid of a complaint by Erich von Däniken, whose popular book, Chariots of the Gods?, came out in 1968 and theorized that various ancient civilizations’ technologies and religion were given to them by space travelers who were welcomed on Earth as gods.

Kirby’s Return of the Gods certainly appears to be a twist by Kirby upon von Däniken’s ideas.

Note the similarities even between the fonts on the cover of the book and the fonts on the cover of the Return of the Gods…

388px-Chariots_Of_The_Gods.jpg

gods.gif

In either event, whichever event caused Marvel to change the name, they did so, leaving the Eternals to takes its place in Marvel history.

Thanks to Sersi’s Loft for the unused cover art to Return of the Gods #1, and thanks to Mark Evanier for a correction (I had “it was initially called ‘Return of the Gods,’ but Mark points out that it was initially The Celestials BEFORE it was changed to ‘Return of the Gods.’).

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Rogue was raped in an issue of Uncanny X-Men.

STATUS: False

Reader Kris wrote in to ask me about this one after reading an older installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed that involved the issue of whether Dinah Lance was raped in an old issue of Green Arrow.

Kris writes, “I recall an issue of X-Men in the 80s that also had a case of “was she raped or not?” Can you shed any light on that story?”

Sure can, Kris, and in this instance, the debate is a lot simpler than the Dinah Lance one, as writer Chris Claremont actually went out of his way in the issue in question to dispel the idea that Rogue was raped, which sadly have not kept that idea from promulgating over the years, as I have come across that rumor a few times here and there.

The issue in question was Uncanny X-Men #236, the second part of a three-part story that introduced Genosha into the X-Men Universe, which was an allegory by Claremont for both South Africa and American slavery, as Genosha was a country where the human citizens enjoyed a happy life on the backs of its mutant population, who worked as slaves.

Madelyne Pryor got herself kidnapped when she tried to keep some Genoshan goons from taking a Genoshan mutant emmigrant back to Genosha. After trying to save her, Wolverine and Rogue both were captured by the Genoshans, and stripped of their powers.

2605_4_0236.jpg

Now Rogue certainly had SOMEthing bad happen to her while in custody, but remember, Rogue at the time was still freaked out at the thought of being able to touch ANYone, so when she finally COULD touch people (courtesy of having her powers stripped from her), and that touch came courtesy of some mutant-hating guards – you can imagine why that might cause her some discomfort.

However, in the actual issue, there is a caption that read:

All they did was touch her. Rude hands, ruder glances–taunting promises of worse to come. She couldn’t stop them. For so long, she dreamed of being able to touch another person, without her power absorbing his/her psyche. To hold, to caress, to kiss, just like any other norma teenage girl. In those dreams, it was the most beautiful of moments. She never imagined being handled against her will.

But I bet even Claremont felt that perhaps he needed to be clearer on the subject, so awhile later, he had Rogue’s Carol Danvers personality (Rogue had permanently absorbed Carol Danvers’ powers – but also gained her personality at the same time – it almost drove Rogue insane, which is what drove her to the X-Men for help in the first place, way back when) specifically point out that “Nothing happened. But that wasn’t the point.”

So that about clears THAT up!

Thanks to Kris for the question!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

64 Comments

What’s doubly interesting about the TALES OF THE ZOMBIE legend is that — as I understand it — Marvel could only use the word in its black-and-white magazine line, which was not covered by the Comics Code.

The Code specifically forbade imagery of the walking dead and use of the word “zombie.” When similar creatures appeared in Code-approved Marvel books — as in the occasional BROTHER VOODOO story — Marvel got around the restriction by calling them “zuvembies” and playing coy about their exact nature.

I hope I’ve got the details right: if not, I’m sure some bright spark will be along momentarily to correct me…

Sorry, folks!

The piece was put up last night, but for whatever reason, it went “private” at one point, so I could still see it (and therefore not notice anything was wrong), but you couldn’t.

But as you can tell by Jack Fear’s comment, it WAS up on the site normally!!

Inexcusable.

Uncanny X-Men 236 is one of my all time favorite single issues. Rogue let Carol take over after she was assaulted, and even Carol was furious.

Genosha, in that arc, was really evil and was never handled as well again.

Re: Return of the Gods, I favor explanation #1, not #2. There were lots of competing paperbacks on the stand using the same font as was used on Von Daniken’s book, and using the word “Gods” in the title. But trademarks for paperbacks and for comic magazines fall in different categories, and it seems reasonable for DC to get upset about Kirby starting another series with the word “Gods” prominently in the title when he’d recently done “New Gods” for them. By rushing “Return of the New Gods” into print (as it evidently was; it was another year or so before the ongoing series started up after its FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL debut), DC unquestionably prevented Marvel from trademarking the title.

Random Stranger

December 7, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Regarding Marvel’s ability to get a trademark, I don’t think you understand what a trademark is. Apple Computers, for example, has a trademark on “Apple” (and a fairly complicated one due to Apple Music but it’s a really common word that everyone should be familiar with the trademark). Now I am not an intellectual properties attorney but that phrase you mentioned, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use zombies apart from the mark as shown,” means that it is specifically the use of zombie in that specific logo that was trademarked not the word itself. I can guarantee you that any logo that features common words is going to be trademarked.

Random Stranger is absolutely 100% correct, there has been a serious misunderstanding of the trademark issue in the first story here.

Practicaly every comic logo is trademarked; just look at the unused Kirby ‘Gods’ cover. Are you trying to tell us that Marvel also trademarked the word ‘Gods’? Or that there weren’t other media (books, films and others) using the word ‘zombie’ during this period?

I didn’t think so.

I’m pretty sure Cronin’s a lawyer of some sort, and has put up posts about the difference between trademarks and copyrights before, so I’m guessing he does know what a trademark is.

I’m pretty sure Cronin’s a lawyer of some sort, and has put up posts about the difference between trademarks and copyrights before, so I’m guessing he does know what a trademark is.

Yep.

In any event, as to the discussion, obviously common words CAN be trademarked, but usually not when they are describing what they ARE.

To wit, both Storm and Wolverine are common words, but when applied to a comic book superhero, they are not.

But Zombie, however, describing a character who is simply put, a Zombie, sounds about as descriptive as it comes (and there is no way a minor Marvel character has maintained secondary meaning), and the idea that, say, DC, would be restrained from putting out a comic book featuring a zombie and calling it Zombie is, to me, ludicrous.

I am still astonished that Marvel actually got a registered trademark on the word “zombie,” and it is not surprising at all that the mark was canceled.

Thats awesome stuff this installment!!! I need to track down those 70s Night Of The Living Dead comics Marvel did; they were influencial in the creation of the comics code and so were the Green Arrow issues where there was smoking involved. So much comics history to catch up on and so little time! Keep up the good work

A correction. You’re wrong that the original name of THE ETERNALS was RETURN OF THE GODS. The original name was THE CELESTIALS. That’s what Kirby named it. That’s what it was originally going to be called.

Then someone at Marvel got the idea to rename it RETURN OF THE GODS to cash in on the book title. For a week or two, they were going to call it that. They changed their minds for both reasons: Fear of a lawsuit from the publisher of the von Däniken book AND because DC was already planning a book with a similar title.

They called Kirby and said, “We have to change the title again but no one here likes THE CELESTIALS. Can you come up with something else? And then Jack came up with THE ETERNALS.

As I read about how Zombie was trademarked, I wonder why Scarecrow was not trademarked. After all, there is a classic hero called Scarecrow, and Disney made a few movies about him in the 60s, and both DC and Marvel have a supervillain named Scarecrow. Is there any reason why Disney did not sue Marvel and DC, or why DC and Marvel did not sue each other?

As an afterthought, I’m guessing Brian is thinking “DUH! If there’s ANY kind of rumor or conjecture even vaguely involving Jack Kirby, I really should have thought to go to Mark Evanier first.” ;)

In any event, many thanks to Mark for his work in memorial to the King. I’ll presume that said scholar has a book on the market. Can someone please tell me it’s title?

Trademark law is a strange beast, and can be confusing even for (non-specialist) lawyers.

From the US Patent and Trademark Office: “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

Note that the rationale for trademarks is quite distinct – it’s to avoid “confusion in the marketplace.” What Marvel hoped to avoid was some other publisher printing a ZOMBIE title – and if they did, Marvel would argue “Hey, people might buy Warren’s ZOMBIE magazine by mistake, thinking they’re buying ours!”

And possibly BECAUSE of the Comics Code, the word wasn’t quite “generic” enough yet?

But in any event, it’s a specific use Marvel trademarked, that would have been restricted to certain types of publishing. They wouldn’t have been able to say anything about ZOMBIE brand dessert topping or floor wax, for instance.

The new Zombie Simon Garth has the exact same cover as Tales of the Zombie.

To CitizenX: Sorry, but I think you mistyped–it’s either that or you’re seriously misinformed about the Comics Code.
The Comics Code Authority was a response in the 1950s by the major comics publishers to the threat of Congressional action and oversight on the industry. Congress began an investigation of how comics may have played a part in the (perceived) rise of juvenile delinquency, thanks to Fredric Wertham’s shoddy “scholarship”. At the time, there were a lot of crime and horror comics titles from almost every publisher but EC Comics was a major target, and Wertham had linked these comics (especially the EC line) with the rise of juvenile delinquency and juvenile-committed crimes. After EC owner/publisher Bill Gaines’ rather poor performance in testifying before Congress, Gaines and other publishers (whose titles, across the board, were suffering from the investigations) developed the Comics Code Authority as an independent “oversight” committee. (Notably, the only major publisher to not join the CCA was Dell Publishing, the home of the “funny animal books”, including the Disney and Warners characters; Dell had their own “pledge to parents”, certifying that Dell Comics were “wholesome”. Even the Archie Comics titles were subject to the CCA–something which proved a bit troublesome when Archie tried to develop a “home title” for Sabrina in the 1970s.)
During the Code’s development, there were two major factors that were of significant relevance. First, certain words were prohibited from appearing in a title on the covers. Second, certain types of characters were banned from being used in a comic; a generic vampire, for instance, could not be used but a publisher could adapt the story of Dracula (also permissible were the Frankenstein creature and Universal’s Wolfman)–the exceptions were deemed of “historical value”.
What Marvel (and DC) did to affect the Code was to challenge the Code over the use of certain subjects which the Code suggested had NO merit in a “comic book”, primarily the topic of drug use. The Code didn’t allow for ANY reference to drug use, not even to show it in a negative light much less to show a character’s struggle over their illegal drug use (as shown in both Amazing Spider-Man and Green Lantern/Green Arrow). When Marvel submitted the Spider-Man story to the CCA, the story was rejected but Marvel chose to publish the story without the Code seal–note, there wasn’t any legal prohibition from any Code-signatory publisher’s releasing a non-approved book, but many newsagents and the comics distributors wouldn’t handle non-code-approved books, effectively keeping such releases from being sold and the publisher wouldn’t make any money from printing these books. I’m not sure how the distributors and newsagents were mollified by Marvel to make sure the books were actually sold but the books did get out and proved that the CCA seal wasn’t all that important. (Notably, very few mainstream comics were released without that seal until the advent of the direct market in the early 1980s; both Marvel and DC began publishing their direct-only titles without code approval, and after DC began its “hardcover/softcover” approach with the “New Teen Titans”, “Legion of Super-Heroes” and “Outsiders” books, the Baxter title would be published without the Code while the reprint title would be published with the Code, with no significant changes to the story content.)
What influence Marvel and DC had with the Comics Code was in lessening the Code’s importance, NOT in the Code’s creation. Also, just to clarify, Marvel’s “four-color” horror line didn’t really make as much of an impact. These books operated under the strictures of the Code, though somewhat loosened. Most killing had to be done “off-panel” or it had to be drawn in such a manner that while the killing was obvious, the victim wasn’t actually seen being killed–a silhouette image could be done or, in the case of Dracula, he might be drawn so that he was between the reader and his victim, so that while you knew he was killing someone, you didn’t actually see the act itself. Marvel’s B&W horror line, which was released without Code approval (they were treated as magazines, not “comics”), treated its readers to much more graphic details, but didn’t really do much to affect or impact the Code. (Essentially, all the magazines did was to show that the Code-approved comics could be equally horrifying without relying on all the blood and gore “shock effect”. If memory serves, the magazines had lower sales figures than even the least successful of the full-color comics and the higher-cover prices of the magazines didn’t offset the lower sales. The magazines cost, on average, twice as much as the full-color comics, often with no more actual “creative content”; the mags did have more pages, but the extra pages were generally text-only features.)

Couldn’t agree more with Scott… well said, man.

That was the Silvestri/Claremont arc on Uncanny that taught me how to read and even as a child there was something uniquely chilling about the Genosha concept that was never, ever done with such verve and nuance again.

they were influencial in the creation of the comics code and so were the Green Arrow issues where there was smoking involved.

Gasp! Smoking!

As an afterthought, I’m guessing Brian is thinking “DUH! If there’s ANY kind of rumor or conjecture even vaguely involving Jack Kirby, I really should have thought to go to Mark Evanier first.” ;)

True, but I’ve bothered Mark more than enough times in the past, so I figured I wouldn’t bug him here – but I thank him for taking the time to stop by!!!

Note that the rationale for trademarks is quite distinct – it’s to avoid “confusion in the marketplace.” What Marvel hoped to avoid was some other publisher printing a ZOMBIE title – and if they did, Marvel would argue “Hey, people might buy Warren’s ZOMBIE magazine by mistake, thinking they’re buying ours!”

And possibly BECAUSE of the Comics Code, the word wasn’t quite “generic” enough yet?

But in any event, it’s a specific use Marvel trademarked, that would have been restricted to certain types of publishing. They wouldn’t have been able to say anything about ZOMBIE brand dessert topping or floor wax, for instance.

Spot on, sue.

I realize that I probably just assume people are used to the terms I’m using, since I do trademark stuff here a lot, but you’re right, I should explain it fully each time.

So yeah, Marvel was ONLY going for published comics, but even then, I would differ on the generic part. I think this is extremely generic – it’s a plain ol’ Zombie and it is called “Zombie.”

DickAyersFan112

December 8, 2007 at 8:20 pm

JosephW, if you could go into more detail about the History of the Comics Code, it would be greatly appreciated. I’ve always found it to be an interesting point in Comics History. I know the creation of the comics code led to alot of the Super Hero comics of the 1960′s, due to Genie and Pirate comics being to gruesome. The creators then went back to the Super Hero comics they produced during the 30s and early 40′s. But I’ve never truly understood what caused the whole uproar against the different genres of comics in the first place. I do recall watching a short documentary about it… but all I can remember is a young man talking about young boys reading comic books instead of roasting potatoes. So anymore information would be greatly appreciated =]

That thing you said actually DID happen in a Documentary called “Comic Book Confidental”, AyersFan. You are misremembering alot, but you remember that?

Funny to see Mark Evanier in these parts. I recently picked up the recent Joe Sinnott memoir, “Brush Strokes With Genius” and it was very good- except for Mr. Evanier’s useless attempts to subtly diss Stan Lee in an afterword. Aren’t there more convention panels for this guy to sit on, so he can pretend he’s contributed something to comics, and stop exploiting the few years he worked as Jack Kirby’s assistant, in Jack’s golden years? Sorry, had to get that off my chest. It ruined an otherwise really positive, happy reading experience.

Really, the Genie and Pirate comic boom, which included Efreets Ahoy!, Dead Men Tell no Tales of Aladdin’s Lamp and, most famously, Buccaneer Genie Nurse Tales of Western Horror was short lived, and on it’s way out by the mid-fifties.

The REAL cause of the comics code? Poison Monkeys.

The Goddamn Skateman

December 8, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Hey Bill Angus, Evanier co-created Groo with Sergio Aragones, and that one creation is better than anything 95% of comics creators have ever done, so shut yer yap.

Let’s all be nice, please.

And I believe that Lee and Evanier are on good terms as of now. Whatever water’s under the bridge can probably stay there.

Man, I wish I had a rumor you could either confirm or bust, because I certainly do enjoy reading your column every week.

I do have to say though, I’ve never quite believed one myth you dispelled. I am certain that I read – two or three months before “Alias” (which is still the best series Brian Michael Bendis ever wrote) debuted – that Bendis wanted to use the original Spider-Woman, but when Marvel said they had plans for her, he was forced to create a new character. I distinctly remember thinking at the time that it was just like when Alan Moore wrote a miniseries about the line of characters DC had bought the rights to. Of course, DC didn’t buy the rights so the heroes could be destroyed, so Alan Moore had to create a new group of heroes and call his series “The Watchmen” (which is still the best series anyone ever wrote).

Is there any way you could find an interview somewhere (that was published prior to “Alias” being released) in which Spider-Woman is mentioned in conjunction with the series? It’s very possible that I misread something at the time and have harbored this mistaken version of events since then, but I would REALLY love to see the original thing so I could let go of this idea once and for all.

(In case you’re wondering, I bought every issue of “Alias,” along with the hardcover, the four trade paperbacks, and the Omnibus collection. I guess you could say I’m a fan of the series, LOL.)

Love your column!!!

Gosh, I think Stan Lee and I get along just great. Three weeks ago, I was the Master of Ceremonies at a dinner in his honor and I have a great photo of him hugging me afterwards, plus he recently asked me to appear in a new documentary that’s being filmed about his life.

So I would suggest that the person who thought I was trying to “diss” him is imagining something that isn’t there.

And Brian, you can call on me any time with a Kirby question.

Thanks, Mark!

Zombie dessert topping, mmmm.

Silliest trademark I’ve seen was one I spotted in the small print of the Teen Titans/X-Men crossover, which TMed everything in sight, including “The Wall”.

Haha…yeah, the little “TM” on stuff is hilarious, as it really means nothing, but it LOOKS good! :)

Sort of like “patent pending”…

Since the “TM” situation was mentioned, remember “American Flagg”? It was and always will be one of my favorite series (at least up until Howard Chaykin stopped writing/drawing it), but there were copyright marks EVERYWHERE in that freakin’ series! I’m not sure, but I think it was part of the joke.

Sounds likely, Bryan.

By the by, looking back at the piece, I did, in fact, say in my piece “Marvel, as improbable as it may sound, held a registered trademark on the word ‘Zombie’ in comic book titles.”

So I actually did address the fact that the mark was just for comics in the original piece.

So what was the confusion over, then?

Did Marvel have a trademark on “Tales of the Zombie” or just the word Zombie.

It would seem that the whole title is sufficiently distinct, since there are also trademarks allowed for ‘Vault of Horror’ but not say, Horror ™.

DickAyersFan112

December 9, 2007 at 6:09 pm

I believe Marvel had a trademark on the word Zombie in general. I read in a issue of Alter Ego about there being big plans for a Zombie blowout in May of 73, where Zombies would appear in every popular title. There was even going to be a Two-In-One where Green Lantern and the Ant Man fought Zombie’s who had time travled from World War Two. Other plot ideas thrown around were JJJ and the gang getting trapped at the Daily Planet by Zombies and Spider Man having to save them, and The Avengers fighting their most popular team of villans, the Skrulls, teamed up with Zombies.

Did Marvel have a trademark on “Tales of the Zombie” or just the word Zombie.

It would seem that the whole title is sufficiently distinct, since there are also trademarks allowed for ‘Vault of Horror’ but not say, Horror ™.

Just “Zombie.”

I agree, “Tales of the Zombie” would likely be distinct enough.

I don’t really get the problem anyone would have with Marvel trademarking a generic word as the title of their magazine. I can see how the office might not authorize a company to use the trademark “Soap” to market soap, or grant protection for “Lighter” Brand lighters, but this is different: Marvel wasn’t selling actual zombies under the trademark “Zombie”; they were selling a magazine under the trademark “Zombie”. And as far as magazine titles go, “Zombie” was distinctive and unique.

And as far as magazine titles go, “Zombie” was distinctive and unique.

I disagree that a comic starring a zombie called “Zombie” is a distinctive mark.

The logic behind that would follow that if DC came out with a comic called “Zombie Tales,” that a typical consumer would think it was about Marvel’s zombie character.

Do you think that is the slightest bit likely?

Now, if you pick up a comic called “Batman” or “Spider-Man” or “Wolverine” or “Storm,” you would think it was a comic by a certain comic company.

DickAyersFan112, I appreciate that you are only joking around, but by now, it is bordering on trolling, so please cut it out, or I am just going to have to start deleting your comments.

Thanks.

On a completely unrelated note:

I used to love the Ron Lim cover to “What If Captain Marvel had not died?” (vol. 2 issue 14, I think) Now I see it was swiped from Return of the New Gods. Dang.

Jeff Kraschinski

December 10, 2007 at 7:47 am

Regarding the situation with Rogue in Genosha, yeah that one was argued for years.

A few years back, I was involved in a pretty active discussion about this one on a USENET group (pre WWW explosion era) and actually ended up emailing Mr. Claremont, who actually responded clarifying “Rogue was not raped” (That was, in fact, the entire response…lol)

Concerning CitizenX’s comments about the Comics Code, Green Arrow, and Marvel’s “Night of the Living Dead” comics:

I think he posted a fun–house mirror version of his actual thoughts. The Arrow mention just about requires that he intended to talk about the 70s REVISIONS of the Code rather than its creation, although my memory is that Speedy was depicted as shooting up, instead of smoking, drugs in the GL/GA comic. And the Marvel reference is probably to their “Zuvembie” version of voodoo; certainly they published no comic of George Romero’s famous movie, although its public–domain status raises the question of why SOMEBODY with a non-Code horror line didn’t.

Brian, Post 32:
By the by, looking back at the piece, I did, in fact, say in my piece “Marvel, as improbable as it may sound, held a registered trademark on the word ‘Zombie’ in comic book titles.”

So I actually did address the fact that the mark was just for comics in the original piece.

So what was the confusion over, then?

Simple, Brian. It was your actual claim:

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel once had a trademark on the word Zombie.

STATUS: True

Not anything but the word itself, you said, and that’s prepostrerous. Undoubtedly the trademark applied to the entire title/logo design, but “Zombie” was the last word therein, and consequently the “TM” symbol was up against it, confusing you. Or did you see the actual legal papers (or “true copies” thereof) filed with the appropriate government office?

Undoubtedly the trademark applied to the entire title/logo design, but “Zombie” was the last word therein, and consequently the “TM” symbol was up against it, confusing you.

That’s an assumption on your part, not some kind of fact. Nothing makes it undoubtable.

Observe, as I doubt.

Not anything but the word itself, you said, and that’s prepostrerous.

Preposterous?

Perhaps.

True?

Definitely. ;)

The trademark was solely for the word “zombie.”

That said, your reaction is the exact reason why this urban legend is so interesting – you think it is “preposterous,” but it is, in fact, the truth.

See what fun we have here at Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed? :)

What I’m thinking is that either:

1. “Zombie” wasn’t a well-known or generic term in 1973.
2. Even if it *was* a well-known generic term in general usage… in *comics*, it wasn’t!

I could imagine the Patent and Trademark Office doing a search, finding that “Hey, Tales of the Zombie is actually the first use of that word as a title in comic book history!

Which, if true, would have been solely due to the Comics Code restrictions, which the office might have been ignorant of.

I expect that what happened (and this is conjecture) is that Marvel expected to publish multiple horror titles in the 70s, and also expected competitors to likewise publish horror titles. And, so they trademarked “Zombie” as a comic book character.

This would mean that they could print “Tales of the Zombie,” “Zombie Tales,” “Night of the Zombie,” etc. and (more importantly) other publisher’s couldn’t or else they would be in danger of creating confusion. It would be reasonable to expect that the casual reader picking up “Zombie Tales” from EC or even Dark Horse might think he was getting a comic featuring Marvel’s Zombie character (as Brian said.)

Now, I further believe that in the 70s there may have been confusion about the uniqueness of the character. Marvel doesn’t have to submit pages of explanation for their trademark, they just have to submit the trademark and prove they are using it. So, probably no one in the trademark office noticed that Zombie was, in fact a zombie. I mean, he *could* have been a comic book character with the power to create zombies, lead them, control them, shoot them out of his fingertips. Who knows?

But, by 1996, the people who were reading comic books in the 70s and 80s (and saw Zombie in TOHOTMU and realized, hey he’s nothing special just a normal zombie) have grown up and are working in the trademark office.

So, someone requests that the trademark be cancelled, and it is. Probably by people who wondered how it got approved in the first place.

Theno

Oh, and would this be an appropriate place to say that I’d love to see Mark Evanier cameo in Stan Lee’s reality show “Who Wants To Be A Superhero?”

Especially if it were a scene / challenge involving mulch in some way.

Theno

Interesting stuff going on. Nice to see pandering to any semi-comics professional who posts on a board will instantly occur. I wonder how many “fans” bought this author’s books? Well, I am only being honest about something I saw to be disrespectful.

It’s also interesting seeing so much bad comics history! Brian pointed out AyersFan is probably joking, and making fun of CitizenX- who I honestly believe from his writing is NOT joking, but is REALLY that screwed up with his comic book history. We need more people to read Les Daniels and Gerard Jones- or at least try Wikipedia!

Apodaca: O.K., poor phrasing on my part. My intent was to state that *I* have absolutely no doubt, and, sorry Brian, but until and unless you categorically claim to have seen the paperwork yourself, I still can’t believe that a request to trademark the simple word “zombie” by itself and nothing else would have been accepted by the government office, even back then. One on that title/logo design is perfectly plausible, and Marvel dropping it when they felt they would never use that title again—realizing that, if they should someday want to reverse themselves, they could come up with a new logo design and trademark THAT—is also quite sensible, which is more than can be said about YOUR scenario, Brian, for which I have only your assurances that you’ve got right. Check your past record. Occam’s Razor.

Ah, Ted, your typical pleasant self, as always.

I probably should not even respond to someone being as rude as you are here, but just to show you how you manage to combine being a jerk with being absolutely wrong (then again, if we check your past record, we’ll see that that is quite often the case….boy, wasn’t that just amazingly jerkish?)…

Word Mark – ZOMBIE
Registration Number – 1025473
Filing Date - May 29, 1973
Registration Date – November 18, 1975

So there ya go.

Anyhow, tell ya what – if you don’t apologize for being a total jerk in this interaction, I just don’t want you commenting here anymore.

And please note – I don’t want a “sorry, I was totally wrong” apology, as I really don’t care about that stuff. I want an apology for you being a jerk about the interaction, as you so often are.

I’d prefer you to just stop being a jerk period, but I’ll settle for an apology in this instance.

And Bill, you went from “I think he put down Stan Lee” to “Aren’t there more convention panels for this guy to sit on, so he can pretend he’s contributed something to comics, and stop exploiting the few years he worked as Jack Kirby’s assistant, in Jack’s golden years?”

See the problem there?

If you had stuck to just expressing your displeasure at what you felt to be negative treatment of Lee by Evanier, then I doubt anyone would even have really cared.

But then you went to roundly insulting the guy, and that is what brought the negative reaction to your comment.

Alright Brian, I apoligize.

Good man, Bill.

Nicely done there, Brian. Incidentally, Bill, if you’re still around and you still think Evanier hasn’t contributed anything to comics- which is kinda understandable, if you’re basing that assumption off, say, his New Gods run- just go read a few issues of Groo. Seriously, you’ll enjoy it, regardless of the discussion here.

the problem is, i’ve read Groo- i’ve read DNAgents- i’ve read stuff i liked. there are just some personal things i don’t like, stuff that is documented, going back to the 80s’ and 90s’ and a basic additude- but it’s right, this isn’t the forum for my personal opinions on someone. it’s just kinda easy to diss Stan Lee, i don’t get it.

but i meant my apology- to Brian and everyone else here. Brian puts alot of effort into this column and i’m one of the ones who enjoys it. so, i’m sorry.

and i do get a little riled up at innane posts by people like CitizenX- because it’s a shame, that he is sincere in the crap he thinks! it annoys me to no end that noone is more serious about comic book history. where AyersFan is/was concerned, it was obvious he was taking the piss out of CitizenX’s posts- a guy who, no doubt, got into comics during the spectactor era.

Brian, before I can consider posting an apology for being a jerk here, you’ll have to explain how I was one. Telling somebody I THINK they are wrong and giving good reason as to why I do, even if it turns out they are right, is not being a jerk. It’s having a debate. My record is not bad just because most times nobody admits to the reality of the situation, and the same thing doesn’t make yours good. Example: the “JONAH HEX becoming HEX” item in CBUL #122; you had that one dead wrong, I proved it, nobody disputed me, but nobody said I was right, either. That situation had, in fact, been previously dealt with elsewhere (and resolved the same way with express statements of acceptance from some posters there) on this site; I tried during the discussion on #122 to find that and couldn’t, so it must not have been an entry in a regular feature but a stand-alone piece. I am not going to admit to and apologize for something I do not have any reason to believe I am guilty of just because you are threatening my posting privileges. That’s blackmail, and if you don’t either make an effort to back up the charge or expressly withdraw it, that would make YOU a jerk. I DO apologize for being wrong about , whether its what you want to hear from me or not. Note also, that in my first posting to this thread (#41) I asked you, “Did you see the actual legal papers…?” If the info you have posted in #49, a direct answer to that question, had been included in your first response to me, #43, the part of my #48 addressing you would not, could not, have happened. As I see it, YOU owe me an apology for #49.

Okay, then, I’m sorry, but you can’t comment here anymore.

Boy, THAT’S a surprise.

Tramadol cheap cod.

Buy tramadol online cod. Tramadol cod. Cod overnight tramadol.

Nexium pregnancy category

Nexium vs prilosec. Nexium pregnancy category. Long term effects of nexium. Nexium overdose symptoms

[...] up this time of year. The ever-interesting Brian Cronin did a thing on that a few years back, so check that out if you’ve never heard that [...]

This reminded me of something I’ve wondered about for a while:

Back in the ’80′s (and maybe before, I just remember from when I was a kid), Marvel would often refer to their fans in letters columns and such as “Marvel Zombies”. Did that (even as an off-hand joke that planted the seed) have anything to do with the eventual creation of the “Marvel Zombies” comics?

I also wonder if it had anything to do with that copyright claim mentioned in the article.

Did that (even as an off-hand joke that planted the seed) have anything to do with the eventual creation of the “Marvel Zombies” comics?

Yeah, that is why the comic is named that.

well, I still believe that Rogue was raped. Why? Because that is what would happen in real life

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives