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Welcome to the four hundred and fifty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and fifty-four. This week, does DC seriously own a trademark on the LETTERING in Superman’s logo? What strange way did Denny O’Neil react to the Batman credit card scene in Batman and Robin? And why did Marvel cancel Logan’s Run?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: DC has a trademark on the telescopic style of letters in Superman’s logo.
Everyone knows that DC owns a trademark on Superman’s name and his big S, but did you know that DC actually owns a trademark on the STYLE of the telescopic lettering on Superman’s logo?
From an 1982 case, here’s a brief review of some of the trademarks DC owns on Superman:
The record shows that SUPERMAN has been registered for toy doll figures, that SUPERMAN in combination with a full figure drawing has been registered for magazines, that the SUPERMAN logo, with name and drawing of head and torso, has been registered for magazines, that the SUPERMAN logo, with the name in telescopic lettering, has been registered for cartoons in a series, and that a full figure drawing of SUPERMAN has been registered for shirts.
In other words, you cannot use the distinctive telescopic lettering in Superman’s logo for goods that you’re trying to sell. Obviously, it is very easy to achieve a SIMILAR effect without clearly just taking off Superman’s logo…
But you can’t just take that distinct lettering style for your own commercial goods.
Irene Vartanoff has a great piece on her site explaining her time when she was in charge of rights and permissions at DC Comics in the 1980s and would have to go after people for using the distinctive letter of the Superman logo.
Damn, that was a really simple legend. I mean, it’s cool and all, but still very simple.
Thanks to Irene for the great article!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Oprah Winfrey seriously get her famous first name from a typo on her birth certificate?
On the next page, what amusing reaction did Denny O’Neil have to the Batman credit card scene in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin?
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