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Comic Book Legends Revealed #223

Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and twenty-two.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend last week’s Movie Legends Revealed to learn the answer to the question “Could Béla Lugosi speak English when he starred in Dracula?”

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: DC once sued a porn film for, among other things (including trademark infringement), the usage of flying sequences!

STATUS: True

When you’re a major company and you get hit by a lawsuit over trademark, you revise your product.

But what do you do when you’re a small company making a pornographic film?

Well, that’s what the producers of 1977’s Super-Woman found out when DC Comics served them with a complaint over their porn film’s use of the character Super-Woman and the “S” on the chest of her costume.

The film starred Desiree Cousteau as Super-Woman, a super strong heroine who could also fly. Along with co-workers, reporters Lois and Clark, Cousteau investigated the evil deeds of Kreetia Borgia, played by Jessie St. James. Here’s Borgia…

In a move cleared designed to secure trademark protection, DC had a character named “Superwoman” show up a few times in the 1940s.

Here’s one such appearance, where Lois Lane dreams she’s Superwoman in Action Comics #60…

So DC registered for (and received) a trademark on the name “Superwoman” for usage in commerce.

In 1977, Superman: The Movie was soon to be released, and obviously Fantasy Films Productions knew this when they did their film.

So DC Comics sued them, and the courts agreed on pretty much all of the counts, except DC wanted them to remove all flying sequences, as that was going to be a big part of Superman: The Movie, and they felt that it was too similar to their Superman TV series. The court disagreed, but allowed all the other changes.

So the movie went from Super-Woman to Ms. Magnificent!

She does two things extremely well…one of them is flying!

However, this being a small production, do you know how they complied with the court order? They just went through the soundtrack and simply cut out any mention of the name “Super-Woman.” Characters aren’t dubbed in saying “Ms. Magnificent,” people are just silent when her name comes up!

And the “S” on her costume?

Someone just went by frame by frame and scratched out the logo on her costume, resulting in what looks like an almost intentional special effect!

Of course, it is clearly NOT intentional when you see the scratch accidentally go too far in a scene…

Oh, just because I figured you folks would be interested, Kreetia Borgia does, indeed, have a dildo made out of a green alien substance that is “Ms. Magnificent’s” weakness.

I just figured you should know that.

Let’s move on!

COMIC LEGEND: The term gerrymander comes from a political cartoon.

STATUS: True

Really, when you look back at the life of Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), it’s a shame that he is now known almost entirely for a negative aspect of his life, and not for all the impressive accomplishments he had.

I mean, the guy signed the Declaration of Independence, for crying out loud!

He was James Madison’s second Vice-President (fellow Declaration signer George Clinton was Madison’s first veep, before Clinton died in office). Gerry, too, died in office.

Gerry, though, is not remembered for these deeds, nor will he really be known for being the ninth Governor of Massachusetts, but for his support of the notion of redistricting for political gain.

Redistricting for political purposes is something that goes on today, where whichever party is in power tries to draw up the voting districts to help keep their party in power. So long as you aren’t doing it to negatively affect ethic or racial groups, it is allowed.

In any event, in 1812, then Governor Gerry decided to have Massachusetts redistricted so that the Federalists would get their own district, but the rest of the districts would fall to Gerry’s party, the Democratic-Republicans.

In the Boston Gazette, editorial cartoonist/painter Gilbert Stuart decided to compare Gerry’s plan to a salamander. However, Stuart’s editor, Benjamin Russel, suggested that he instead call it a “Gerry-Mander,” after Gerry (by the by, the term “Gerrymander” is pronounced “jerrymander,” but Gerry’s name was actually pronounced with a hard G, not a J).

The cartoon appeared in the March 26th, 1812 edition of the Boston Gazette…

And the rest is, as they say, history.

Now almost two hundred years later, that’s really Elbridge Gerry’s legacy, a sneaky political move (that he did not create, by the way – it was already being used decades earlier). That’s a bit of a shame, I think.

COMIC LEGEND: Warner Bros. bought DC Comics.

STATUS: False

With the news this week about Walt Disney purchasing Marvel Comics, an interesting misconception was often repeated, and reader Paul Blanshard wrote in to suggest that I address said misconception, and I think he’s got a good point, so here goes.

It is often said that DC Comics was purchased by Warner Brothers. After all, DC is currently a subsidiary of Warner Communications, Inc. which is, itself, a subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc., a massive media conglomerate.

However, that’s not how it actually happened.

It really all began with, of all things, a funeral home.

In 1953, when he was 26 years old, Steve Ross married Carol Rosenthal, whose father, Edward Rosenthal, owned a funeral home. Ross went to work with Rosenthal, and soon the pair got involved in small business entrepreneurship.

In the late 50s, Ross took out a loan from the bank to start a rental car business, Abbey Rent a Car.

Ross eventually partnered with a garage Business called Kinney. The new company was called Kinney Parking Company.

During the 1960s, Kinney Parking Company merged with an office cleaning company owned by a relative of Ross’ father-in-law, the National Cleaning Company.

The new company was called Kinney National Company.

When it went public in the early 1960s, it was worth about $12 million.

In 1967, the company purchased National Periodical Publications (better known as DC Comics).

That same year, it bought Ashley-Famous, a talent agency.

So in 1967, DC was part of the Kinney National Company, not Warner Brothers.

And in fact, National was basically kept its own company, just part of the larger Kinney National Company (as seen on this indica…

)

Then, in 1969, Kinney purchased Warner Bros.-Seven Arts., which was extremely cash-poor at the time.

Still, though, the company was called Kinney National Company, not Warner.

Warner was just a “Kinney Leisure Service,” as seen in this movie poster from this period…

That changed in 1972.

A parking scandal (the parking industry has not always been the most honest of industries) forced Kinney to separate its other industries from its burgeoning entertainment empire, so it split off all of its non-entertainment businesses and and continued under a NEW name, Warner Communications, Inc.

And it was only THEN that DC Comic was officially part of Warner (and even then, it took DC a long time before acknowledging Warner Communications, Inc. in the indicas).

So, this is basically a long way of saying that no, DC Comics was not purchased by Warner Brothers.

Still, it’s fun to know the history, right?

Thanks to Paul for the suggestion!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

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

As you likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you next week!

74 Comments

Dusty and Sweets McGee… I gotta track down that movie…

First off:

“A parking scandal (the parking industry has not always been the most honest of industries)”

HUH?

Second:

Amazing story, I had no idea about this at all. I was under the impression that WB bought DC in the 80s. This story is so complicated though, no wonder no one knows it.
Also, when you factor in all of the subsequent stuff with WB like Time, Turner, and AOL, it all gets really complicated doesn’t it?

Wow, fascinating recap of the DC/Warner relationship. Awesome entry, Brian.

“A parking scandal (the parking industry has not always been the most honest of industries)”

HUH?

Check out Gerard Jones’ Men of Tomorrow for more details on the Kinney connection. If I remember right, organized crime is involved a lot closer to the surface than you’d think. Fitting, considering that Jones’ book was the place where I learned of the pulp fiction (and comic book) industry was essentially created because of Prohibition.

Yeah, the parking garage aspect of Kinney National Company was almost directly connected to organized crime.

Wow, “Dusty and Sweets McGee” looks outtasight!

The green dildo is awesomely creative.

Poor Ms Magnificent. I bet that’s no fun at all.

Nice one Cronin… I see you’re not only an authority on comic trivia but an aficionado of the obscure… shall I say, “cult” films of the past (btw, I’ve heard Desiree was a top star in her day ;) ). :)

It always cracks me up when I hear that story of how DC and later Warner Bros. (both thought of as titans of their respective niches in the entertainment industry), were both bought by a company that made money in such an unrelated business (car rentals and parking lots). I guess by today’s standards Kinney was basically a REIT… and a very successful one at that, using its cash to diversify (as many companies did, it was the age of the “conglomerate” after all) and buy up these once mighty, but strapped icons.

Then, in 1969, Kinney purchased Warner Bros.-Seven Arts., which was extremely cash-poor at the time.

Is that why Warner Bros’ logo was so damn ghetto and minimalist during that period? Because they couldn’t afford a real one anymore? Because man do I hate Warner’s logo from that period.

Correction… I should say, car rentals, parking lots, office cleaning services and bone crushing. :)

Not to mention that their animated shorts left a lot to be desired. Bunny & Claude anyone?

I think it’s time for Dan Didio to add Ms. Magnificent to DCU. It’s all very logical after Red Circle and Milestone. And I just finished Mr. Cronin’s book. Fascinating and great fun read late at night!

I remember seeing that porno at my ex-brother-in-law’s stag party, and in this one had the “S” costume. I’m guessing that the tape was distributed and sold before DC sued them over the usage of the “S” costume.

To be honest, it was a good porno for that time. ;-)

Grant Morrison’s probably already working a Ms. Magnificent reference into Multiversity.

In any event, in 1912, then Governor Gerry decided to have Massachusetts redistricted so that the Federalists would get their own district, but the rest of the districts would fall to Gerry’s party, the Democratic-Republicans.

Typo alert! You mean 1812.

Loved the gerrymander bit. Never knew that. And being originally from Newbury, I got a kick out of seeing that old map.

Fantastic DC/Warner stuff too. Never knew all of that! And I even read Gerard Jones’ Men of Tomorrow. Man, what’s happened to my memory? But now I’m kind of confused. So were the Looney Tunes cartoons not always part of Warner Bros.? I guess I’ll have to Wikipedia the history of Warner Bros.

Brian,
Are you aware that you’re Entertainment Legends website is posting about a week behind at this point?
I like all your legends sites and have been very frustrated with the lag.
Interesting stuff about DC . I was just discussing the Marvel/Disney deal with my nephew and his wife last night and this will be a fun topic to go over this weekend.

After hearing that story about DC Warner Brothers is anyone else reminded of how NBC is owned by the Sheinhardt Wig Company in 30 Rock?

Here’s one for you: Is it true that Northstar used to cough a lot in Alpha Flight because John Byrne intended him to have AIDS?

To Corey– I’m pretty certain Looney Tunes was always Warner Brothers, although some individual cartoon shorts were sold to television distributors in the 1950s. Warner retained ownership of the characters, though.
I thought everybody knew where Gerrymander came from. I’ve seen that cartoon in dozens of books since childhood. I never thought it looked anything like a salamander, though. More of a dragon, or possibly a griffin. (I had no idea Gerry pronounced his name that way, though.)

Hey, Brian, I have a question about the back cover of your book. Is the bearded cartoon guy giving the quote by Tom Brevoort supposed to be you or Tom Brevoort? I figure it’s you since it’s your book. But then I thought it was kind of odd that they’d have a cartoon of you on the book just to say something that Tom Brevoort said. But then I thought that was the reason the quote is in quotation marks within a speech balloon. But then I wondered what Tom Brevoort looked like so I plugged his name into Google images and discovered a bearded guy. So then I was thinking how even though no one knows what Tom Brevoort looks like, no one probably knows what you look like either before reading your book and Tom Brevoort’s name is right next to the cartoon guy even though it’s within the speech balloon.

So I thought I’d ask about it even though, like I said, I figure it’s you.

BTW, I dig the book, that I finally got from my lovely library, but I think I enjoy the web format a little more.

Grant Morrison’s probably already working a Ms. Magnificent reference into Multiversity.

I would SO pay money to see an Earth populated by the characters that DC sued over copyright or trademark infringement!

Brian, I don’t supposed there are any surviving images of Super-woman’s (ahem) chest insignia?

The gerrymander thing isn’t really that obscure or unknown. I think just about every High School textbook I had that dealt in some way with the history of the U.S. or about the U.S. government had an image of that political cartoon included in it and then went on to explain the origin.

@ Mary Warner:

Wasn’t just a few shorts sold to TV. Warners at one time had sold off all but two of its pre-1948 properties — ‘toons, films, shorts, the whole bit — in an effort to raise much-needed cash. It took forty years for the company to get them back, after they had passed through the hands of AAP, UA, MGM and Turner. So, for most of the latter half of the twentieth century, WB didn’t own the Looney Tunes outright (though, as you suggest, they retained the rights to create new works based on the old properties).

The earliest Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were not owned or produced by Warner Bros., but by Leon Schlesinger Productions. It wasn’t until 1944 (nearly 15 years after the studio’s start) that Schlesinger sold out to Warners. Wikipedia also has a good paragraph on what rights to which cartoons were sold and who owned them when.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looney_tunes

Actually, Mxy, Northstar’s coughing didn’t start until Bill Mantlo took over writing the book.

While talking with to some friends about the Marvel deal, someone brought up that they had heard that Pixar bought Disney and not the other way around.
Do you have any info on that?

I’d never heard of the Superwoman / Ms. Magnificent thing. I gotta get a copy now ! That green weakness thing is hilarious !!

While talking with to some friends about the Marvel deal, someone brought up that they had heard that Pixar bought Disney and not the other way around.
Do you have any info on that?

Disney bought Pixar, but as part of the deal Steve Jobs became one of the majority stockholders in Disney, if not the majority stockholder. And John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief of animation, became Disney’s chief of all animation divisions.

Brian from Canada

September 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm

There’s no way Pixar bought Disney as that Pixar was started as a joint venture between Disney and Apple. (Or, at least, Eisner and Jobs.)

It wasn’t conglomerization that made Warner’s stand out either. Once the entertainment company was split off from the others, they championed the idea of corporate synergy — using branches to support each other because there would be no licensing fees.

The interesting thing about this — which might be a great rumour — was that, once done, WB viewed DC as 1/3 comics, 1/3 licensing, 1/3 other… and never quite got there. They also kibboshed a Wonder Woman TV series like Batman that was scheduled to follow.

Love the column, but I’m not sure about the way the porno story was reported. Yes, it’s an interesting fact, but there ARE kids who come to this site. I know it’s tough to report about a story like this without getting into too much detail, but was the dildo reference necessary? There are so many more neutral words you could have used in that part of the piece…

Wow. Never thought I’d see my home town in the same article as a green alien dildo.

Ah. The old tale of the Gerrymander. Interesting that the monstrous Gerrymander looms over where HP Lovecraft would fill with monsters, the area of Mass where you find the fictional Inssmouth and Arkham.

Plus that history of DC and Warners was very nice.

Brian from Canada – When did this situation with Warner take place? Are you talking about an animated Wonder Woman show in the vein of Batman The Animated Series? I vaguely recall hearing about such a show being in production.

Aylwinatrix – Do kids come here? In any case if they have access to the inernet then there are far worse things they can be exposed to than anything on CBSBG.

Actually, I COULD have done without knowing about the dildo thing in Superwoman… seriously next time avoid such things OK? I would’ve preferred info on that first “Lois as Superwoman” story.

And while I appreciate learning the origin of “Gerrymander”, exactly what does it have to with comics? I’ll bet many people have never even heard the term.

It was a political COMIC that established the term, so it very much has to do with comics.

And I DEFINITELY would not have survived without knowing about the dildo-nite. My family and I are eternally grateful to Brian for saving my life.

Do kids come here? In any case if they have access to the inernet then there are far worse things they can be exposed to than anything on CBSBG.

Just because anybody can see far worse somewhere else doesn’t mean they have to see it here.

I could have done without the (ahem) naming or the image of the sex toy, because I’m a prude. But because the other two legends this week were of less interest to younger readers I’m okay with it. If either of the other legends had dealt with super-hero comics or cartoons, it would have bothered me a lot more.

And guys if you do look around you can find Ms. Magnificent on DVD sold online or probably at a nearby comic convention.

I bought my copy at SDCC. Actually I should say, both copies. Got it on VHS the first time I went to that convention and years later found it on DVD after my VHS one was never returned.

LOL yes they really do sell EVERYTHING at Comic-Con!

Pixar was founded by George Lucas, and bought by Steve Jobs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Lucas

They merely partnered with Disney, and remained a self-contained entity until Disney bought them. As a matter of fact, they were approaching their split with Disney, resulting from not being able to get Disney to agree to giving Pixar more of a cut of the profits in their future movies. I think Wall-e was the last of their contractually obligated Disney-Pixar movies. After that, they were to be free agents.

I think you might have a mistake when talking about mr. Gerry. You have 1912, though if he signed the declaration of independance, that would certainly be incorrect. Other than that, great article, as always.

“There’s no way Pixar bought Disney as that Pixar was started as a joint venture between Disney and Apple. (Or, at least, Eisner and Jobs.)”
@Brian from Canada

Pixar was started by Lucasfilm in 1979 and sold to Jobs in 1986. Disney bought Pixar in 2006 but Pixar remains a separate entity, which was a condition of the deal, with Jobs owning 7% of Disney and a seat on the board.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixar

I could be wrong, but I also remember hearing that Pixar was a primary factor in Michael Eisner being ousted. He was the one playing hardball with Pixar’s contract, and he also shuttered the hand-drawn animation division. Roy E. Disney Jr. and the rest of the board didn’t like it, so they got rid of him and promoted Iger. He bought Pixar, and Disney’s set to release its first hand-drawn feature in something like 10 years.

@Donal G: ohhh, I read about Byrne doing that in a message board, then read most of his AF run and didn’t notice any instance of Northstar coughing, so I was starting to wonder if it really happened at all.

1) I bet you’ve singlehandedly doubled or even tripled interest Dusty and Sweets McGee.
2) I distinctly remember Desiree Cousteau (great fricking name, btw) movies being shown at one of my local theaters…. ah, the late 70s early 80s.

What’s really interesting about the WB/DC connection is that until the first Batman movie, none of the movies based on DC characters were produced by Warners. The Superman movies were all produced by the Salkinds, and Swamp Thing (the only other DC character I can recall getting the movie treatment) was done by Embassy. (The Adam West Batman was, of course, Fox, and Wonder Woman was produced by WB TV). Until Batman, it wasn’t a given that Warners would produce or even distribute DC movies (hence the debacle over Fox and Watchmen).

I don’t see anything wrong with kids seeing a mention of a dildo. This idea that kids have to be completely ignorant about anything sexual has never made any sense to me.

Forget all this stuff above–what I want to know is why nobody ever told me the Parliament/Funkadelic bass player was ever Vice President–that would make for a colorful administration–at least in the wardrobe department.

Is that why Warner Bros’ logo was so damn ghetto and minimalist during that period?

I would guess no, as MGM had a new logo at about the same time.

I don’t know how many kids come here, but seriously: if someone already knows what a dildo is, how does someone mentioning it on a Web site hurt them in any way? And if someone doesn’t already know … look at the picture – it’s obviously some sort of cucumber. What’s the harm in talking about cucumbers?

Is that why Warner Bros’ logo was so damn ghetto and minimalist during that period?

WB’s logo at the time had more to do with Seven Arts buying the company than any money problems.

I don’t know how many kids come here, but seriously: if someone already knows what a dildo is, how does someone mentioning it on a Web site hurt them in any way? And if someone doesn’t already know … look at the picture – it’s obviously some sort of cucumber. What’s the harm in talking about cucumbers?

In reality, yeah, it’s probably just a cucumber, but it’s not referred to as such, and the picture’s pretty blurry, so you get the questions. If you’re lucky it’s just “Why are they putting that cucumber in that treasure chest?” If you’re unlucky and the kid’s old enough to read and curious, he asks, “what’s a dildo?” And that’s just not something I would think anybody would want to have with anyone under 14 or so.

This is the big prude in me again, but I don’t care what your stance on sex ed is, kids don’t don’t need to know what a sex toy is, much less what kinds are out there, until they’re having sex themselves.

Someone asked about the Wonder Woman pilot from 1967 that was not picked up.

Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tKZJVhn7M4

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm

“We are talking about s-e-x in front of the c-h-i-l-d-r-e-n!”
“Sex Cauldron? I thought they closed that place down years ago!”

I don`t know if this would be a comic book legend on itself but it has always been a mystery to me: back in the pre-crisis years, DC publishes a mini-series titled: Superman:The Secret Years, in which we got to see the transition from Superboy ti Superman during his college years. In that mini-series there was this weird character named Bill Cramer who came from Smallville and befriended Clark. At the beginning of the story, Billy stalks Clark all the time and lies to his parents about him being a good friend of Clark`s. Eventually the y do become such good friends that Clark tells him his secret, but Billy dies in a fire.
I always wondered what was the point of such a character, why was he such a stalker of Clark’s and why did he lie about his relationship with him. Was there something the authors were trying to say and suddenly changed the character? for a moment it almost would seem as if Billy had the hots for Clark, but I suppose DC would never allow that. Or maybe I`m just reading too much into it, but anyway I`ve always wondered about it and thought maybe this column could help carify that.

Wow! I had totally forgotten about the Secret Years! I must have been around 14 when that came out. I remember enjoying it, but not much else.

I’m speculating, solely on the publication date, they wanted to do somethint with Superman using the mini to set-up something, then changed directions when they decided to go with Man of Steel instead.

D said…
What’s really interesting about the WB/DC connection is that until the first Batman movie, none of the movies based on DC characters were produced by Warners. The Superman movies were all produced by the Salkinds, and Swamp Thing (the only other DC character I can recall getting the movie treatment) was done by Embassy. (The Adam West Batman was, of course, Fox, and Wonder Woman was produced by WB TV). Until Batman, it wasn’t a given that Warners would produce or even distribute DC movies (hence the debacle over Fox and Watchmen).

Warner distributed the Christopher Reeve Superman movies and a Warners subsidiary, Tri-Star distributed Supergirl.

All the 1940s movie serials (Superman [2], Batman [2], Vigilante, Blackhawk, Hop Harrigan, Congo Bill) were done by Columbia.

Superman and the Mole Men (the b-movie that was re-edited into the only Adventures of Superman two-parter and was actually George Reeves’ first turn as Superman) was released by Lippert Pictures.

The Fleischer Brothers’ Superman cartoons were distributed by Paramount Pictures.

“In any event, in 1912, then Governor Gerry decided to have Massachusetts redistricted so that the Federalists would get their own district, but the rest of the districts would fall to Gerry’s party, the Democratic-Republicans.”

I somehow suspect that Governor Gerry made his fateful in 1812, rather than almost 100 years after his death.

In Australia, at least, ‘gerrymander’ is always pronounced ‘jerry-mander’, i.e. with a soft ‘g’. Being named after Gerry it should really be pronounced with a hard ‘g’. the error seems to have crept in due to false analogy with ‘jerry-built’, meaning shoddily constructed.

That Warner/DC legend was so incredibly wacky that I had to read it aloud to my wife as I figured she’d never believe it unless I got all of the details exactly right. Nicely done, Mr Cronin.

And for the record: the “dildo” reference didn’t bother me (as a parent) as I’ve heard enough small children refer to each other as “dildos” without any idea what the word means to worry about them seeing it on the Internet.

Wesley Smith wrote:
“I would SO pay money to see an Earth populated by the characters that DC sued over copyright or trademark infringement!”

That would be Earth-(C) wouldn’t it?

And ZZZ wrote:
“And if someone doesn’t already know … look at the picture – it’s obviously some sort of cucumber. What’s the harm in talking about cucumbers?”

That’s all well and good, until you ask for more dildoes in your salad. How embarrassing would THAT be?

Atomic Kommie Comics: I know, it’s strange, but we associate Warners with DC so much that we forget that most were actually done by other studios.

The Fleischer Superman cartoons were absolutely fantastic.

I invite everyone who’s offended by the dildo reference to Newfoundland.

We can visit Dildo, South Dildo, and Dildo Island. Which are all around Dildo Arm.

(A dildo is a peg used to lock oars into a boat…which may also be the origin of the sex toy’s name.)

I’ve see Ms. Magnificent. It’s pretty good. Actually has a story, a stupid story but it’s got one. And the chick playing Ms. Magnificent was very hot.

The pre- and post-lawsuit versions of Superwoman/Ms. Magnificent can both be found by searching the internet, though the pre-lawsuit version is less common. There were actually more things cut out of the film than previously listed; for example, most references to the Clark Kent-type character–“Clark Click” were blanked out, and one scene of Superwoman pleasuring herself to an issue of Superman was removed.

Related to the second topic:
Back when Disney bought Pixar, there were rumors that Steve Jobs would become Disney’s new CEO:
http://www.slate.com/id/2134852/

The third topic is very interesting. Who would have thought that a parking-lot owner would have enough resources to buy a major Hollywood studio? Okay, maybe it wasn’t so major when it was sold. ;)
Though you forgot to mention the 1989 merger of Time Magazine and Warner Bros to become the Time-Warner that we know today. The less said about the AOL purchase the better… and, yes, AOL *bought* Time-Warner, not the other way around.

I see online that a few sites distribute Ms. Magnificent, but I would love an unedited copy of Superwoman. That looks great.

I wonder why it wasn’t a fair use as parody? Probably because it was trademarks at issue and trademark fair use is more limited than copyright fair use.

Also, DC must have used Superwoman within the previous 5 years, ten years tops, or they could not claim to have a valid trademark.

It’s always interesting when two large companies are combined either through purchase or merger. Realistically, when you have two firms with very large market caps, it’s pretty much impossible for one to “buy” the other in the sense most people visualize it, and oftentimes the perception of what happened is the opposite of reality.

A good example is the AOL-Time Warner deal itself. As John notes a couple of posts above me, AOL “technically” purchased Time Warner if one wants to really look under the hood of the deal. However, certain concessions had to be made to Time Warner to ensure that the deal would go through; otherwise, major TW stockholders could have scotched the deal by refusing to “sell” their TW shares (in actuality, trade those shares for shares of the new company at a par value). One of those concessions was that the deal had to be publicly described as a merger rather than a purchase, and another was that the Board had to be made up of equal numbers of AOL and TW directors. High-ranking TW executives were also required to retain the essential equivalent of their former positions, leading to a management team which actually skewed more toward the TW side than the AOL side. (A lot of that had to do with the management structures of the two corporations; AOL was more “top-down” while TW was a bit of an “umbrella”. Put another way, Jerry Levin had more people directly answering to him at TW than Steve Case did at AOL.)

Of course, in the end, the TW folks managed to push out the AOL folks (many of whom, it could be argued, were just using the merger as a means to cash in before the bottom fell out of the .com bubble, and thus weren’t particularly interested in not being pushed out) in the wake of accounting scandals related to advertising, then removed AOL from the corporate name and changed the NYSE ticker back to TWX, and the public perception became “Time Warner bought AOL.” But it was in reality the other way around, from a financial perspective, and it was a merger from a legal perspective; the one thing that is absolutely not true is “Time Warner bought AOL.”

Anyway… my digression relates specifically to the Disney-Pixar discussion. Disney did in fact “purchase” Pixar, but the same sort of elements were in play in that deal. There was no way Disney could just outright “buy” Pixar straight up without making certain concessions which made the deal tend more toward being a merger, although not so much so as to make it be a merger in any sense. Hence Jobs suddenly becoming an important piece of the Disney puzzle, and the rumors that he might end up as CEO.

Wow, everyone seems to be raving about “Dusty and Sweets McGee,” but that has to be the most horribly written (and punctuated!) movie poster I’ve ever seen. (Heck, it’s probably about the worst written ANYTHING I’ve seen.) It’s just a gigantic, ambiguous list that has so many different things (people? descriptions? titles?) on it, all just randomly set off by commas or the word “and” (or both), that it’s virtually impossible to make sense of it. I can’t even tell how many people it’s talking about, and the random capitalization of some (but not all) apparently generic words just makes it more confusing. After reading it twice, I figured that the list was probably talking about ten people and should have gone something like this:

“There was [1.] Red Herring; [2.] Woo-Woo; [3.] the Weird Beard; [4.] Tip, an everyday dope fiend who knew Nancy Wheeler when she lived in Venice; [5.] Pan; [6.] Larry, a big time male hustler; [7.] City Life, the king of Van Nuys Blvd.; [8.] City Life’s new old lady, [9.] Money Man; and [10.] the Red Freak—who all copped from ‘Dusty and Sweets McGee.'”

However, since there are actually twelve people on the poster (and so many randomly capitalized words in the list), I’m now thinking that the “everyday dope fiend,” the “big time male hustler,” and the “king of Van Nuys Blvd.” might all be separate people (whose descriptions are being used as capitalized titles—ugh) and not just descriptions of Tip, Pan, and Larry, respectively. That would make thirteen people, though, so who knows.

Either way, it’s a mess. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a haphazard assortment of commas, the word “and,” and both in my life . . . apparently Warner’s first two years under Kinney National didn’t help them out enough that they could afford an editor (or even a native English speaker).

Great column, though, Brian! And the gerrymandering thing was news to me.

Great job providing material of interest! I read this whole thing because I am an inveterate collector of data. I couldn’t find any more descriptive mention of the “Kinney National” parking lot scandal than yours so far, as most people just copy Wikipedia’s skimpy reference. I’d STILL like to know more details on WHAT the scandal was, but fortunately, this thread is petering out, so to speak…

>This is the big prude in me again, but I don’t care what your stance on sex ed is, kids don’t don’t need to >know what a sex toy is, much less what kinds are out there, until they’re having sex themselves.

What, ho?

As a product of your typical, evil step-father abused childhood myself, I started secretly having “sex” at the ripe old age of 8 or 9. By the time I was 11 or 12 I had experimented in private with several “sex toys”, and had anybody bothered to talk about it (i.e. sex, sex toys, abusive step-fathers, the proper way to experiment safely with your own body, and any number of other “topics too dangerous to say out loud in front of the kids, we must preserve their innocence at all costs by not speaking about what is going on here in front of our very noses”), I might not have wound up in the hospital getting a painful “accident” fixed (much later on, as an adult who “should have known better”).

Perhaps YOUR kids don’t need to know anything about reality, but I sure wish MY parents had done a better job of talking candidly about all such things. You might be surprised to know how much YOUR kids know about things YOU evidently don’t care to know anything about. Nothing particularly wrong with either one, by the way, just don’t expect the world to work the way YOU think it ought to…

My take on it is this: A positive environment for talking “safely” (“safely” = the kids don’t get into trouble for talking or asking questions about any subject) on any subject is established. Once the child expresses an interest in a subject, talk briefly about it and then drop it as if nothing unusual had happened. If the child persists in asking more questions, THEN it is apparently the time to go into more detail. Again, drop it as soon as the child’s interest appears to be waning. There is more than one conversation on a very complex topic that will be needed.

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DazedGenoshan

July 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

“Grant Morrison’s probably already working a Ms. Magnificent reference into Multiversity.”

bwahahaha I think you might be right about that Aaron P. She looks very similar to Lois Lane when she gets powers for a day in All-Star Superman.

Warner Communications is now Time Warner since 1990.

I recently decided to read every single one of these, and got to this today. Dunno if anyone will read this comment….

The onr about DC suing a porn movie caught my attention, because just today I was browsing some bondage porn online, and there are several models who wear authentic looking costumes Z(Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, etc) and sell downloadable videos themselves cosplaying and being naughty. There’s no attempt to disguise what they’re dressed as.

Has anything changed since the days DC went after the film above, or, like John Byrne and commissions, does DC look the other way, even though technically they could shut it down?

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