For those who complain that Newsarama is just a publicity machine that reprints press releases for the major publishers – You know who you are – then this week hopefully helped change a couple of tunes. Where else could you get a free chapter of Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics serialized over the week for your entertainment (Parts one, two, three, four and five), for one thing?
Where else would you get the first part of an in-depth conversation with Kevin Eastman?
I co-created the ____ing [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles], I did 20 years worth of work on them and if they were to break them down into bits and pieces physically, of course I had input on them. It kind of made me very uncomfortable with Pete especially when Pete [Laird, co-creator] and I had this bond like Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and we always agreed together that Stan Lee took credit for so many things that Jack Kirby co-created and so many other things that other artists had co-created and that we would never do that to each other and I feel in a big way, Peter did that to me specifically. Just the way he phrased it like”I’m in control now.”
Where else would you get the kind of detective work into the identities behind Valiant Intellectual Properties, whose disputed claim for the copyrights of the Valiant characters has Diamond refusing to carry Valiant Entertainment’s hardcover Harbinger reprint?
A search of the USPTO.gov website reveals [Michael] Lovitz is the attorney of record on a number of pending trademark applications of comic book and entertainment trademarks, with many of these listing the same applicant address – PO Box 2207 Wilmington, Delaware 19899 – as VIP, LLC.
In of itself, this is neither unusual nor conclusive of anything, considering Lovitz specializes in intellectual property law and represents a number of clients in the comic book industry, including Bob Layton, Joe Lisnser, Sirius Entertainment, Colleen Doran (he is the attorney of record on a 2002 application for Doran’s A Distant Soil for example) and several others, and the Delaware PO Box is, according to Lovitz, his firm’s, used when they serve as Registered Agent for any of the corporations they represent in and outside the comic book industry, and not the address of individual clients.
However, some of the titles that turn up in a search of Lovitz’s filings do have some common elements, in addition to being handled by the attorney.
A trademark registration application for “Re-Animator” was filed on behalf of Re-Animator, LLC. on April 20, 2005, “Savage Tales” for Savage Tales Entertainment, LLC on September 1, 2006, and “Jungle Girl” for Jungle Girl, LLC. on November 15, 2006. And on June 8th 2007, ten trademark applications were filed via Lovitz for Super Power Heroes, LLC., including “Super Powers” and eight characters – “The Owl”, “Pyroman”, “The Arrow”, “Mighty Samson”, “Scarab”, “Green Lama”, “Black Terror”, and “Death-Defying ‘Devil”.
These first three properties – Re-Animator, Savage Tales, and Jungle Girl –have been or are currently comic book titles published by Runnemede NJ-based publisher Dynamite Entertainment, with the first two being based on a formerly established trademarks.
All of the latter group are also formerly trademarked comic book characters (that currently exist in public domain) that will be featured in Dynamite’s upcoming Alex Ross/Jim Krueger title Superpowers, which has been described by Ross in an interview with Newsarama and the “brainchild” of Dynamite’s owner/publisher Nick Barrucci, and by a Dynamite press release as being “developed by Dynamite” over the last three years.
Additionally, Lovitz is the attorney of record for Dynamite Entertainment’s own trademark registration application filed on June 12, 2007, which lists the publisher’s NJ address on the application.
Nowhere, that’s where. And that’s not all that the mothership got up to this week. Vaneta Rogers
talked to retailers about the toll of endless crossovers:
“Event fatigue is definitely happening,” said J.C. Glindmyer, owner of Earthworld Comics in Albany, N.Y. “World War Hulk is a great crossover, but it’s falling short in the footsteps of Civil War. Countdown isn’t holding onto the sales that 52 made. Crossover events are successful, when used judicially. Recently with one event leading into another, it’s taking a toll on the readers as well as retailers.”
(She also talked to Sean McKeever, going over his career to date: “I would have liked to have been part of House of M. I would have liked to have been part of Civil War. Most of the stuff that came to me was Marvel Adventures or things of that nature. I like those things — it was a lot of fun to write those stories. But it was time to try to find something else. I needed something a bit meatier for awhile… I hadn’t had anything high profile [before moving to DC] And I think there was momentum being lost from winning the Eisner a couple years prior, and that I needed to get my career moving in a forward direction rather than sitting still.”)
Mark Thompson of Checker Books popped up early in the week, to talk about Checker’s editions of classic strips Little Nemo and The Yellow Kid:
Number one, [reprinting this material] makes us [Checker] look good, and number two, the industry, to be taken seriously as an artform, needs to have its core quality starting point material in print. For example, if you go into a bookstore, you can find William Shakespeare, if you go into a video shop you can find Casablanca, if you turn on the television set, you can find I Love Lucy on some station 24-hours a day. I feel stuff like The Yellow Kid and Little Nemo is that sort of critical material. Yellow Kid was actually one of the first books that we were considering doing when I started the company. We just got extraordinarily lucky and had material like Flash Gordon and Steve Canyon come available. Since we’re a small publisher, we couldn’t do everything at once, but now, we have the time and resources to devote to a book that we’d basically always wanted to get out there.
Talking of critical material, Rob Schrab explained what made him return to Scud, a decade after he left comic books for Hollywood:
The cliffhanger’s in issue #20…basically, Scud goes to Heaven, the angels murder his girlfriend in front of him, and they say, “Now that you have nothing to live for, we need you to destroy the world.” And Scud says, “Yes.”
And that’s how I left it 10 years ago. And it’s like…(laughs) what a douche, you know? Why would you do that to somebody who loved your work?
Soon, I’m sure, to be a Hollywood smash, Shannon Eric Denton and Jeff Mariotte talked about their new Image book, the Western Horror, Graveslingers:
The Old West was a frontier era where no one knew entirely what to expect. Horror mixes well with that. You can’t get surprised as easily today… people have Blackberries, cell phones, internet, etc., etc. so wonderment at what is over the horizon is hard to pull off in a contemporary setting. For us, it’s been the best of both worlds… It allows you to explore the traditional themes of a Western but gives you access to the outlandish as well.
Of course, for some people, that’s not what they want from Newsarama. That’s why there were also interviews with Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani on new Johnny DC book Tiny Titans (“We explore all the deepest mysteries you’ve ever wanted to know about the Titans universe… just really, really small.”) and Greg Rucka on 52 spin-off, The Crime Bible:
[T]hroughout 52, especially towards the end, there were discussions about what would come out of 52, specifically, and what were logical series and follow-ups, and so on, and almost to a one, a lot of the different series that were discussed didn’t happen, or morphed into different things. There wasn’t, as far as I knew, a plan to do a Black Adam series, and then, very late in the game, DC decided that they wanted to tall about what happened afterwards.
As far as the Crime Bible goes specifically, Michael Siglain called me shortly after we wrapped the series, and said that he had talked to Dan DiDio, and Dan wanted to do something with the Crime Bible. Michael was kind of tentative, because he figured that I didn’t want to do anything related to 52 ever again, but I think I surprised him when I said that I did.
There was also another episode on the ongoing Mike Carlin/Matt Brady Show:
NRAMA: Over in the shelter – Amazons Attack ended this week, with the revelation that the Greek Gods are imprisoned by, if not by the entire forces of Apokalips, at least Granny Goodness, and Granny is impersonating Athena. So – the Athena that’s showing up in Countdown, and has established a center to train women….that’s Granny Goodness too?
MC: See… Who needs footnotes?
NRAMA: Probably the people reading Countdown but not Amazons Attack who think it’s still Athena.
For fans of Marvel, it was a much quieter week, but you could have an advance review of Thor #3 and a disjointed preview of World War Hulk #4. Alternatively, they – and everyone else – could read Rick Remender’s Against The Grain and try to live up to the late Mike Wieringo’s memory:
Everyone remembers Mike Wieringo as a positive and supportive person.
Just two of the many traits that contribute to the overwhelming love expressed through the industry for Mike. He was always making an effort to build up other creators and keep the focus on the fun. Reading the hundreds of tributes and eulogies, it dawned on me that most of us consider his positive and supportive attitude a rare and somewhat amazing trait. It kind of sucks to think about.
Smart man, that Mike Wieringo. Remender, too…