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Comic Book Legends Revealed #443

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COMIC LEGEND: John Byrne’s X-Men: The Hidden Years was a finite series designed to replace the issues of X-Men that were reprints during the early 1970s (before the All-New, All-Different X-Men took over)

STATUS: False

Last week, I discussed John Byrne’s Marvel series from the early 21st Century, X-Men: The Hidden Years, which filled in the blanks on what the X-Men were up to between the end of their original adventures in X-Men #66 and the beginning of the All-New, All-Different X-Men in X-Men #94 (#67-93 were reprints).

xmenhiddenyears1

In the comments of last week, reader Brian from Canada repeated a common misconception about the title:

what really stung about the series is that it was cancelled abruptly, just nine issues away from its natural conclusion anyway: each issue was supposed to replace the reprints in Uncanny X-Men #67-93 (31 issues), and Quesada killed it at issue 22.

That was an extremely common idea at the time, but apparently it was not the truth. John Byrne did not plan on stopping with 31 issues. He was going to keep doing the book as long as he could, as obviously due to comic book time, ten issues can take place in a single week, so there was no time constraint in that regard.

Byrne, though, did play a bit of a role in confusing people, as he cleverly hid the issue number of where the book WOULD be in the covers of the new series.

Like issue #3 would be #69 if you continued the original numbering, so here is the cover to #3…

xmenhiddenyears3

and a detail showing where Byrne hid the number 69…

xmenhiddenyears3detail

So naturally enough, some readers presumed that that meant that he was just going to do #67-93 and be done with it.

But that was never Byrne’s intent.

Thanks to Brian from Canada for bringing it up and thanks to John Trumbull, Edo Bosnar and Blade X for correcting Brian before I could moderate the comments until now. ;)
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Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did vampires seriously not have fangs in movies until the 1950s?!
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Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics 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. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

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If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

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

See you all next week!

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69 Comments

DC had been making new Captain Marvel stories for years by the time Moore began writing Swamp Thing. I had always understood they had, in fact, bought all the rights. So what was the agreement with Fawcett in the 1980s?

Linkara has made Snowflame a recurring character.

Who dares doubt the existence of SNOOOWFLAAAME?!

Because DC isn’t using him, Snowflame has become quite the celebrity on the Internet. There’s a great webcomic about him (http://www.snowflamecomic.com/?page_id=375 for archives) and Linkara has put him to use as a hilarious recurring character on the web show “Atop The Fourth Wall” as played by Will Wolfgram.

Patrick Hamilton

November 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

An interesting side-note about Extrano: if you look at the letter pages for the series, there are letters from readers wondering if he was already HIV-positive (solely due to his being gay). The editors play it coy for a while, but they do, in one of the later issue letter pages, state that Extrano was not infected by Hemogoblin but was already HIV-positive.

Pretty sure there were plenty of comic creators powered by cocaine in that era too.

DC had been making new Captain Marvel stories for years by the time Moore began writing Swamp Thing. I had always understood they had, in fact, bought all the rights. So what was the agreement with Fawcett in the 1980s?

They licensed Captain Marvel during the 1970s and eventually purchased the character outright around that time (circa 1984).

If I remember correctly, there was some turnover in the writing staff because the editor on New Guardians wanted the book to ignore him being gay.

Ah, thank you Brian.

A feud with Davis? Man, that Alan Moore can’t get along with anyone for very long can he?

I wouldn’t call it a feud. More like a difference of opinions.

Holy smoke what’s with all the racism in that New Guardians?

“DE MON BE HIGHER DEN A KITE”

Really, DC, Really?

I was about to link to the Snowflame webcomic but someone beat me to it. It is very good. I definitely enjoy it far more than anything put out by the New 52, although that’s damning with faint praise.

The [New Guardians] series ended up being short-lived, lasting just twelve issues, but it has certainly left a mark on American comic book history.

That mark being a stercobilin smudge.

Fraser: Yep, Englehart wrote issue #1 and plotted issue #2, and then that was it. Bates scripted over Englehart’s plots for #2, then wrote all of #3-10 and plotted #11-12. (Asst Editor Kevin Dooley scripted over the plots for #11-12.) And then, the characters were quietly shuffled off and everyone tried to pretend they never existed.

Oh, another legend about Alan Moore getting pissy about something or someone. That’s so surprising.

He should just get his own weekly column and stop taking valuable Comics Legend space.

where did my post go? it was there now it’s not.

“each issue was supposed to replace the reprints in Uncanny X-Men #67-93 (31 issues)”

Can you explain how issues 67-93 = 31 issues? That’s only 27 issues. So not only was the rumor false, but also the poster’s math.

Can you explain how issues 67-93 = 31 issues? That’s only 27 issues. So not only was the rumor false, but also the poster’s math.

Yeah, his math was off.

where did my post go? it was there now it’s not.

It was interesting enough to pursue as a future legend so I’m temporarily moderating it. I normally let people know when I moderate their comments, but you didn’t have an e-mail listed for me to write to.

I think you may have missed the first reference to Dez Skinn. I see “Skinn” but never a first reference to him.

A John Byrne quote to go with today’s column. From 2010:

“I saw no end to HIDDEN YEARS, other than the fact that, when it eventually started to look like it was running our of steam, I would dovetail it into the adventure that introduced us to the “All New, All Different” team in GIANT-SIZED X-MEN 1.

When the book was unceremoniously ripped out from under me, I still had plenty of stories to tell, not even counting those times when, during their time in reprint limbo, the X-Men had been seen in other titles, like MARVEL TEAM-UP, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA. I had worked out all sorts of ways to incorporate those tales, as seen from the X-Men’s POV, and even had figured out how to get the Beast back into the team after his enfurration. (What? That’s not a word??)

Given the lead time I had on the book, right about now I guess I would be gearing up for the 150th issue. . . .”

I think you may have missed the first reference to Dez Skinn. I see “Skinn” but never a first reference to him.

Good call, Eric. I left out a reference to Skinn. I put it in there now! Thanks!

@Iam Fear

I just love listening to all the bigmouths who piss themselves with fear whenever they hear of someone acting on principle. Don’t worry, nobody will EVER ask you to stand up for anything.

New Guardians: A textbook on how not to do “issues” comics.

Although now we have Ultraman powering up by snorting Kryptonite like cocaine. Progress?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the same guy who gave us Strange Apparitions also gave us crap like Millennium and New Guardians.

One of the recurring plots was the heroes dealing with the fact that they all might have been infected with HIV (two of the members, Jet and Extrano, ultimately WERE infected)

Wow, this book is racist on so many levels. So the black and hispanic member are the only ones to get HIV? I imagine the creators thought they were doing a good deed by having a multicultural team, but to have them spend most of their time struggling with HIV is a real downer.

An interesting side-note about Extrano: if you look at the letter pages for the series, there are letters from readers wondering if he was already HIV-positive (solely due to his being gay). The editors play it coy for a while, but they do, in one of the later issue letter pages, state that Extrano was not infected by Hemogoblin but was already HIV-positive.

It just gets worse.

Also, seems like a strange thing to reveal in a letters page of all places, rather than in-story.

If the re-issue of Marvelman will be a success, I surmise Marvel will later release the Marvelman omnibus as well.

What’s really shocking about this pages isn’t that Snowflame is so bad. Plenty of comics occasionally have a character that bad. No, what’s shocking is that as bad as he is, he seems to be by far the best part of the series, at least based on what little I’ve seen of the book. I would seriously love to see more of Snowflame in a DC book, once they change regimes and are capable of consistently producing quality books again.

Hey, who’s this Mr. Bonsar fellow, with whom I apparent share a first name? … ;P

And Rob, yes, Brian’s (from Canada) math was off – also pointed out in last week’s comment section…

I’m probably the only person that just doesn’t see how amazingly cool Alan Moore is. I’ve reached a point where the mere mention of his name makes me feel…nothing.

Oh, god. ENGLEHART. At his Englehartiest.
The accents! The monologues! The inner navel-gazing! The hippy-dippy hand-waving, granola-crunching, magic mushroom taking, whiffle battiest of them all!

I joke… sort of. But Englehart’s dialogue is very…easy to identify, and those two issues, like all of Millennium, are particularly egregious examples. , Though The Strangers series he did for Ultraverse was also a high mark.

Warner Brothers also passed on buying the film rights to Marvelman just a few weeks before Marvel brought the character.

AirDave, I have the same reaction to Warren Ellis. No matter how other people talk about him nothing he writes clicks for me. Hence the phrase Your Mileage May Vary.

Brian,even if DC had purchased Marvelman, I wonder how they could have effectively marketed the character, as they (and all publishers) are legally barred from using the word “marvel” on their covers? Would they have called the series “Kimota!?”

Brian from Canada

November 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

My math was off because I was counting two annuals as double issues, which were also reprints. ;-)

But it’s nice to be corrected on what Byrne has intended — especially when it adds further justification to Quesada’s cancelling it at the time.

DL, I imagine DC would’ve just gone on calling him “Miracleman”, like Pacific/Eclipse.

I really wanted to like The Hidden Years…. but it meandered badly. And then New X-Men hit the scene and people moved on quickly.

Brian,even if DC had purchased Marvelman, I wonder how they could have effectively marketed the character, as they (and all publishers) are legally barred from using the word “marvel” on their covers? Would they have called the series “Kimota!?”

This is the first I’ve heard of this. I knew that DC couldn’t legally call Captain Marvel “Captain Marvel” on their covers or give him a book with that title (It’s what helped inspire this piece), but I’ve never heard that DC couldn’t even use the WORD “Marvel” on their covers. Sounds like a good candidate for a future legend to me, Brian! :)

I really wanted to like The Hidden Years…. but it meandered badly. And then New X-Men hit the scene and people moved on quickly.

Agreed. The X-Men spent at least half a dozen issues in the Savage Land, and it quickly became motononous and tiresome. It also didn’t help that Byrne spent much of the run doing riffs on the Roy Thomas/Neal Adams stories he was following (The Savage Land, the alien invasion story, and Magneto).

Pretty sure there were plenty of comic creators powered by cocaine in that era too.

Mike Baron actually went on record about his cocaine use in the 80s in TwoMorrows’ THE FLASH COMPANION. It was a very interesting kickoff to his interview. :)

I love “The Hidden Years”. I had heard nothing but bad stuff about it for years, but I recently tried it and just devoured every issue. The best Byrne series of the last 20 years (though I like some of the others, too)

Hey Brian, that reminds me, THY caused me to propose a legend to you a while ago: when did the Savage Land suddenly go from being an inner earth (as it still was in the original Thomas / Adams issues) to being a mist-shrouded above-ground part of Antarctica (as it was in Byrne’s series, so he had to explain how the X-Men could fall off a cliff in Patagonia and land in the Savage Land). I still want to know!

My memory is notoriously awful, but I’m pretty sure that the Savage Land was always in Antarctica. I think it was even stated as such way back in X-Men #10.

Yes, but it was actually under Antarctica. In X-Men #10, they go down though a hole in the Earth’s crust in Antarctica and find a huge land under the earth with its own sun, just like Pellucidar or (later) Skartaris. In the Adams issues, it was revealed that it was big enough to also spread out under Patagonia, which is how the X-Men fall into it. Growing up, I had the reprints of the Adams issues, and I was always baffled as to how they could fall into a chasm in Argentina and land in Artarctica, but once I got a chance to read X-Men #10, I realized that, at some point in the ’70s, they had changed it so that the Savage Land was simply an above-ground section of Antarctica. As a result, when Byrne picked up from those issues, he had to explain the discrepancy.

@DL That’s not correct by any means. Marvel owns the trademark for Marvel Comics, but that doesn’t mean they own the word “marvel” outright. It’s all about context. DC would probably avoid using the word in a cover title, just to sidestep any legal hassles, even if a judge ruled in their favor. These things can drag on for a long time and cost far more than they are worth, which is exactly what Marvel was hoping when they threatened Dez Skinn over Marvelman. Since Marvelman predated Marvel in the UK, and no connection was ever implied to Marvel or Marvel UK, chances are that Skinn could have probably won in a court fight. However, he couldn’t afford the fight, as Marvel’s pockets were far deeper. This ticked off Alan Moore to no end, and killed any chances of him ever working for them again. Moore was hardly being pissy; he was standing up for his own rights. Marvel attempted to do the same thing to Valiant, several years later, over X-O Manowar. Valiant wasn’t quite so intimidated and pretty much ignored Marvel, all but daring them to, “Bring it on!” Marvel never followed through. Chances are Marvel wouldn’t have filed suit over Marvelman, either. Their objection wasn’t the name, but the title Marvelman Special, which featured reprints of some of the Mick Anglo material. They didn’t mind when Miarvelman was part of Warrior, but did when his name appeared as the title of a book.

If you look at DC’s 70′s Shazam run, you will notice the name of Captain Marvel many times. DC couldn’t call the book Captain Marvel, since Marvel picked up that trademark,; but, they couldn’t stop DC from using the name. DC probably wouldn’t have titled the book Marvelman, but they could have kept calling the character Marvelman, if they so chose. I doubt they would have, going the Miracleman route instead. However, Marvelman was a Captain Marvel clone in its inception and DC had the original, so why would they need a second? Well, apart from the fact that Moore was writing rings around everyone in comics, at that point…

I respect Moore for standing up for his rights, though I also see Davis’ point of view, that reprinting Captain Britain would be a nice paycheck for him and he wasn’t making nearly the money Moore was, via the royalty system. That is what eventually convinced Moore to ok Marvel reprinting the material in a trade collection, though I believe (though am not certain) he refused his share of the royalties. It’s too bad the US copyright law doesn’t mirror the UK, where the creators retain copyright of their material, which is why Marvel couldn’t reprint Captain Britain without both Alan Moore and Alan Davis’ permission. If US law were similar, people like Siegel and Shuster and Jack Kirby would have been better compensated for their work, as in the book publishing world.

Just a sidenote, I had to retype Marvelman several times, as I kept instinctively calling the series Miracleman, based on the Eclipse reprints. I still have trouble referring to it as Marvelman, and I was familiar with the character (thanks to Maurice Horn’s World Encyclopedia of Comics) before Moore and Gary Leach relaunched the character!

Just to clarify a point, when I mentioned DC’s Shazam title and the use of Captain Marvel, I was referring to the covers. The original title copy of the DC books was “Shazam! The original Captain Marvel.” DC pretty much flaunted the name on the cover, they just didn’t include it in the actual trademarked title of the book, which was just “Shazam!”

The New Guardians occupied a weird niche on the offensiveness spectrum. Everyone in it was a racial and/or sexual stereotype that would make us cringe today, but it was also one of first (possibly even the first, I’m not sure) Big Two comic with a gay superhero in it, and almost all the good guys were non-white (the characters were supposed to be some kind of “evolutionary future of humanity” kind of thing, and included people from around the globe, but all of the Caucasians were evil – Harbinger wasn’t actually part of that whole deal, she was helping them to atone for her part in Crisis or something like that). It was the kind of Captain Planety “look at the heroic minorities! Aren’t white people jerks?” kind of thing where you can just tell the writers think they’re Part Of The Solution! but it’s just so, so painful to read.

Just to clarify a point, when I mentioned DC’s Shazam title and the use of Captain Marvel, I was referring to the covers. The original title copy of the DC books was “Shazam! The original Captain Marvel.” DC pretty much flaunted the name on the cover, they just didn’t include it in the actual trademarked title of the book, which was just “Shazam!”

Yeah, Jeff, but Marvel eventually told DC to knock that off, so DC then dropped the Captain Marvel part from the title. I think I did that as a legend a while back.

The fact that “Marvelman” is considered a different character than Captain Marvel is a tad ridiculous. Marvel being able to “own” what is quite clearly DC’s character is utterly insane.

Brian

As far as the possibility of DC taking up Marvelman back in the Eighties was concerned, what I heard in the UK at that time was that Dick Giordano was very interested but felt that DC publishing a character called MARVELman was far too big a minefield to step into, whilst Jim Shooter passed on the character (that’s assuming Moore would have sold his rights) for pretty much a similar reason: that Marvel publishing a MARVELman would instantly make the character too big of a symbol, if he was to carry the company’s name,which would restrict what could be done with him, and pretty well debar everything that already HAD been done with him.

I find it amazing that Byrne STILL talks about how the book was unjustly canceled, ignoring the fact that it was the lowest selling X-Men book BY FAR, and the way he structured it, it wouldn’t be able to make up money in trades. The new editorial regime had been brought in with the edict: Make it so we have BOOKS to sell when the movies come out because Harris and company didn’t do that. Hell, they blew a prime opportunity when given a slot in TV Guide (back when that sold) and they have a confusing, in-continuity story that didn’t make sense unless you were reading the X-Men LINE.

Byrne’s book required that you knew 30 year old continuity, had no story breaks and didn’t sell well. He’s kind of lucky he got to do 27 issues of fan-fiction.

Anonymous – “The fact that “Marvelman” is considered a different character than Captain Marvel is a tad ridiculous. Marvel being able to “own” what is quite clearly DC’s character is utterly insane.”

But it’s not DC’s character, Anony.

As I understand it, when DC won the lawsuit with Fawcett it did not give them ownership of Captain Marvel, it merely said that Fawcett had to get DC’s permission to print the character since Captain Marvel was seen as a derivitive property of Superman.

Fawcett chose to stop publishing comics.

Mick Anglo, who had the right to reprint Captain Marvel in England found himself without anything to publish so he created Marvelman.

Now while the original Marvelman is clearly a ripoff of Captain Marvel, the DC lawsuit had nothing to do with him.

If anything, only Fawcett could have filed a Copyright Infringement case, but since they were no longer publishing Captain Marvel what would be the point (assuming they had even heard of Marvelman).

And then Moore’s take on Marvelman seemed to be more of an “in name only” version going a completely different direction than the original would have ever considered.

Oh, another legend about Alan Moore getting pissy about something or someone. That’s so surprising.

He should just get his own weekly column and stop taking valuable Comics Legend space.

Alan Moore Legends Revealed!

…Hmmm. And a comment of mine has mysteriously disappeared. I think I know what’s going to be in a future Comic Book Legends. :)

DC BOUGHT FAWCETT! There’s no question of who owns what here.

“I find it amazing that Byrne STILL talks about how the book was unjustly canceled, ignoring the fact that it was the lowest selling X-Men book BY FAR, and the way he structured it, it wouldn’t be able to make up money in trades. The new editorial regime had been brought in with the edict: Make it so we have BOOKS to sell when the movies come out because Harris and company didn’t do that. Hell, they blew a prime opportunity when given a slot in TV Guide (back when that sold) and they have a confusing, in-continuity story that didn’t make sense unless you were reading the X-Men LINE.

Byrne’s book required that you knew 30 year old continuity, had no story breaks and didn’t sell well. He’s kind of lucky he got to do 27 issues of fan-fiction.”

Although I do believe Byrne is bitter about having XMTHY canceled, he does have a fair point in how Marvel handled its canceling and how they explained it to him. XMTHY was kind of a dream project of Byrne’s (he’s stated repeatedly that he always wanted to do the classic X-Men team where they originally left off when the series was canceled PRIOR to ANADXM) and it must have been hard for him to have it canceled with so many stories left to tell. And while it was the lowest selling X-Men book being published, it was still selling above the normal cancellation marker at the time.

Yeah, don’t get me wrong, there’s a decent chance that Joe Quesada was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation with Byrne and that Byrne would have been upset with him if he had just gone with “It doesn’t fit the new approach that I want to take with our line of comics and it is not selling well enough for us to make an exception for it,” but where Byrne was able to really knock him was that Quesada kept changing the public rationale for the cancellation. But it is understandable, as Quesada was new to the job and it is tough when one of your first moves is to tell a comic book legend (that you likely would like to be available to work on future projects) that you want to cancel his title.

in response to Anonymous’ “The fact that “Marvelman” is considered a different character than Captain Marvel is a tad ridiculous. Marvel being able to “own” what is quite clearly DC’s character is utterly insane.”

Its only a matter of time before Marvel publish a Justice League comic but change the name …so maybe “Squadron” instead of “League” ..and they could replace “Justice” with another word…maybe “Supreme”
8)

Anony, I do not believe that DC bought Fawcett, they purchased the rights to some of their comic book characters in the ’80s. The original version of Marvelman ran from 1954 -1963. Moore’s version of the character was revived in 1982 and was quite different from Superman or Captain Marvel. A lawsuit by DC against the original version would doubtless have been thrown out as too much time had passed. The revived version was quite different from the way Superman & Captain Marvel were presented at the time and while a lawsuit might have been filed a win would certainly be in doubt. Not to mention the cost of filing a lawsuit versus just buying the rights.

On the other hand does DC own Supreme, Hyperion, or any other Superman knock-off/homage/parody that’s out there?

If the copyright holder doesn’t file a lawsuit then legally they are separate characters.

My comment vanished…well gang, looks like we’ve got another mystery on hands!

If DC had bought Fawcett, then wouldn’t they have been publishing Dennis the Menace throughout the 70s, when Fawcett was licensing the character from Field Enterprises (now King Features)?
Brian, any Legends to be revealed about Dennis or Hank Ketcham or is CBLR only superhero related? Would love some newspaper strip legends.

DC did not win the lawsuit against Fawcett, nor did they buy the company. Fawcett won the original court battle and National (DC’s corporate name then) filed an appeal. Fawcett eventually agreed to settle, largely due to the fact that their comic sales were dropping. Fawcett had some deep pockets (they were one of the top magazine and paperback book publishers) and could have pursued things; but, with sales decreasing on superheroes, why bother? The actual terms of the settlement aren’t known, but Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel and was eventually out of the comic publishing business entirely. In the 1970s, DC licensed Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family (plus related characters) and launched their new title, Shazam!, complete with CC Beck on art (which didn’t last long, as he hated the scripts he was getting). DC also licensed some of the other Fawcett characters, showcasing them as the Squadron of Justice, in the annual JLA/JSA crossover. DC made little use of those characters, though. Minuteman appeared in one issue of Shazam and I can’t recall seeing Spy Smasher or Mr. Scarlet anywhere outside of the JLA crossover. Bulletman and Bulletgirl made a few appearances. DC eventually bought the Marvels outright, but, I remember reading something, around the time of Shazam, A New Beginning, that they didn’t have the rights to the other characters. They eventually used them in Power of Shazam and Starman, so I’m not sure if they acquired them, or discovered that they had slipped into the public domain (as in the case of the Nedor characters used in Tom Strong and Terra Obscura).

Marvelman was directly inspired by Captain Marvel. The Big Red Cheese appeared in reprints in the UK, with some new stories done by Mick Anglo’s studio (not sure if they were Marvel stories or just additional stories of other characters). However, when Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel, the reprint material dried up. The series was popular in the UK so the publisher asked Anglo to create a similar character. It wasn’t exactly the same, though it followed the main elements pretty closely. Marvelman’s powers had a more pseudo-scientific background, rather than supernatural, and character backgrounds were somewhat different. Whether it was different enough to survive a court challenge is another matter, but no challenge ever came. The series lasted until 1963, until the character was revived in Warrior, taking the premise that Marvelman disappeared in 1963, but was also unknown to the general populace of the world. DC would have no claim to ownership to Marvelman, since it wasn’t published by Fawcett and wouldn’t have been part of any agreement. DC could have attempted to press a claim that Marvelman was derived from Captain Marvel, except Marvelman wasn’t being published by the time DC licensed Captain Marvel. Chances are they wouldn’t have won and might not have even had a right to sue, since DC only licensed Captain Marvel, rather than buying him outright. However, that is pure speculation and UK copyright and trademark laws are different than in the US.

What also gets mangled in these discussions is the difference between copyright and trademark. A copyright protects a specific work, such as a novel or comic book story. A trademark protects a brand name, logo design, or other representation used by a company or individual. A specific Superman story has a copyright. The comic book title logo is protected by trademark, as is the name Superman and the design of the character. When DC licensed Captain Marvel, they obtained the rights to use the trademarked character in stories. They later reprinted stories from the Fawcett comics, such as in Shazam! #24. The book features a Captain Marvel story and a Captain Marvel Jr story, both of which have printed on the title page “Copyright 1953 by Fawcett Punlications, Inc.” Even though DC licensed the characters, they did not own the copyright on the previously published stories, only their new stories, assuming that the terms of the license agreement didn’t assign those rights to Fawcett (and I doubt they did). In the case of the Marvel Comics’ Star Wars stories, the copyrights were held by Lucasfilm, which is why Dark Horse was able to reprint them, though without the Marvel Comics logo, which is protected by trademark, owned by Marvel.

Marvelman was great under Moore, but I was waaay more interested in seeing where Gaiman was going to take it. It ended on an extremely interesting note, from what I recall. Moore had built what I think would have been the status quo, but I wanted to see what could happen within that status quo.

To expand on Jeff’s comment slightly:
•Fawcett’s initial argument, IIRC was that some early Superman strips hadn’t been copyrighted. This invalidated copyright so DC couldn’t use that to sue. Judge Learned Hand threw that out but ruled that as comic-book characters are completely interchangeable and indistinguishable, kids just didn’t care which comic they picked up. Therefore even if Cap was a knockoff, it wouldn’t boost his sales or hurt Superman’s so DC hadn’t suffered any damages. Ergo, DC would have to prove specific stories or scenes had been ripped off.
This led to the appeal involving arguments to the effect that Superman had bounced bullets off his chest four years before Captain Marvel did it. To which Fawcett’s attorneys would reply that Popeye had done it four years earlier than Superman, so it wasn’t a Superman thing. They were still in this mode when the settlement came.

Yeah, more or less. DC also sued Victor Fox over Wonderman (not Simon Williams), the first major knockoff of Superman. DC won, largely based on the testimony of Will Eisner, whose Eisner-Iger shop produced the story for Fox.

The modern era is a different can of wax. Comic book characters have spawned multiple imitations, homages, and variations that you have to have an air-tight case to bring suit in court and win. Companies like DC and Marvel depend more in the intimidation of their legal representation, as do most corporations. If you try to sue over one character, all a defense attorney needs to do is draw a line from the plaintiff’s character to a previous figure in comics, movies, literature or mythology and the case starts to unravel. This is the main reason DC and Marvel haven’t sued one another repeatedly. Instead, they either go after little publishers or after blatant trademark and copyright violations, such as unauthorized use of Superman.

When you talk about comic books or movies, you are hard pressed to find an original idea that didn’t have some basis in a previous work. There was nothing groundbreaking about Superman; you had the story of Moses, mixed with Phillip Wylie’s novel Gladiator, mixed with Doc Savage, mixed with Jon Carter, and draped in a circus strongman’s costume. However, once everything was mixed together you had a character to which kids were immediately drawn. DC was lucky that neither Wylie or Street & Smith tried to sue them over Superman, though all they would need to do is cite Moses and Hercules (or Samson) and chances are they could convince a jury that they arrived at a similar destination from a different route.

I, too, would like to see Gaiman’s ending, as he still had a ways to go on The Silver Age and had a follow on volume, The Dark Age. I have a sneaking suspicion that Dickie Dauntless was going to cause Johnny Bates to be unleashed upon the world again, since we could see his body in hyperspace, complete with building material embedded in his head.

I’d also like to see Tim Truman go back and finish his Scout series, as I believe he said he had at least two more volumes in mind, with the first, Scout: Marauder, announced in the letter pages. Unfortunately, I don’t think Truman sees a market for it.

@ Brett Spears and Jeff Nettleton : You guys did hear that Gaiman is continuing his run once Marvel prints the originals, right?

Also, thanks to whoever pointed out above that most of the New Guardians were evil (scrolling up… ZZZ), because I was just sitting here thinking “Isn’t that ‘Floro’ guy the same dude that later became the creepy-ass Batman villain The Floronic Man?”

Yeah, I’ve heard; I just meant that I have been waiting some years to see where he was going, other than what he said in Kimota! The Miracleman Companion. My only question is whether he can pick up the story thread easily, or has he altered his original ideas?

I was a bit ambivalent about The Golden Age. A couple of the stories were quite good and others were just ok. Neil’s perspective was definitely different from Alan’s. However, I was really getting into The Silver Age when Gaiman stopped submitting work to Eclipse, until they paid what he was owed. We all know how that ended. It was nice to see Marvelman back at the center of the story and it felt like Gaiman was building to something very big.

I’m still curious about the announced, but never detailed companion series, Miracleman Triumphant that was supposed to feature other Miracleman stories. I believe Gaiman claimed ignorance and not much detail was revealed in Kimota! It sounded mostly like Eclipse wanted another book, but didn’t have a solid idea.

While we’re talking dangling storylines, whatever happened to Martin Wagner and Hepcats? Last I saw, he was working with Antarctic to reprint and continue the series, then “pfffffttttttt!!!!!!!” I suppose it became too much of a financial burden.

INre: The Savage Land being under the ice in Antarctica… then suddenly being above ground:

A quick one caption retcon can explain it all away: “Climate change, global warming, released the Savage Land from its icy locale since last the X-Men appeared…”

Claremont did just as much foreign dialect speak. It’s like you guys are constantly monitoring everything for the sole purpose of picking out things to take ‘offense’ at (usually on someone else’s behalf, at that).
Relax, you’ll live longer.

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