Marvel’s Ultimate Underwear Perverts and DC’s Crisis of Infinite Lawyers

UPDATE: The LA Times has an editorial criticizing Marvel’s use of it’s "superhero" trademark (jointly held with DC since 1981) and points to a potential showdown with Sega as one way this trademark might go away.

UPDATE2: This story has legs right now – I just heard a bit on NPR about Hero Happy Hour’s battle with Marvel and DC over the "superhero" trademark. 

Just my opinion, but this apparent effort to trademark the term "superhero" would be ridiculous on its face (the term is so generic at this point it’s not tied to a specific product – like kleenix or aspirin) but the fact that it’s an attempt by the two largest publishers of comic books to the direct market, Marvel and DC, to co-own it as a trademark… well it just stinks of collusion, monopoly, anti-trust violations and again, just a completely ridiculous idea.

But Marvel and DC will throw their lawyers around and many folks will not want to risk fighting the battle.  I agree with BoingBOING on this one – we should start referring to Marvel and DC characters as underwear perverts until Marvel and DC back off of this utterly stupid effort to trademark "superhero".

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.


  1. Also, UPS owns the trademark for brown. That doesn’t mean that you can’t color a character in your comic brown, or paint your house brown, or the like.
    Just that no other shipping service can use the color brown as their primary advertising color. Cuz if you saw a brown delivery truck comin’ down the road, you’d assume it was UPS.

  2. Going back to the original article (shock, horror!), it seems to suggest that it’s not the use of the phrase “super hero” which constitutes an infringement, merely the use of the words in a title.

    I know that doesn’t make the action by DC or Marvel any more sensible (or any less guilty of mindless bullying) but, at the end of the day, that’s not such a big deal. If the article has got its facts straight, you can still presumably describe a non-DC/Marvel character as a super hero, you just can’t create one called Captain Superhero.

    And only large corporate publishers with more lawyers than imagination would want to do that any way …

    Broken Voice Comics
    Because comics are not just for kids


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