Friday’s Good News

Salon reviewed Hope Larson’s latest book, Gray Horses.  Larson and husband Bryan Lee O’Malley are holding a book signing today at Page 45 in Nottingham, England from 4-7pm.

Tom Spurgeon has a writeup of a controversy over a book on the history of manga comicbook available at a local library.  It’s your basic hysteria over "kids can see it" which sadly seems like a never ending source of hysteria for about 29% of the American population.

Spurgeon Bart Beaty has a column up at The Comics Reporter entitled "What SPX Can Learn from Fumetto." Worth a read to see what folks like about the european Fumetto convention and how some of it could be adapted to SPX.

Jon Morris (creator of Jeremy) is posting his versions of several superheroes at his blog – good stuff!

And last but not least, Flight anthology contributor Erika Moen has an exhibition of her senior project, a graphic novella titled DominionIt runs until April 16th at McConnell Center, the Dining Hall, Pitzer College.

Continue Reading

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".

Continue Reading

Tuesday News Blues

TCJ has an interesting article up examining R. Crumb’s copyright suit against for an image Amazon used on its 404 page (File Not Found).  The image, although not the Crumb original, is somewhat like Crumb’s "Keep On Truckin’" man image.  Besides outlining that case, the article delves into some of the changes to copyright law in our lifetime.

More newsy stuff after the jump:

Continue Reading

Artist Alley Controversy Brewing At This Year’s Otakon

Otakon is the first con to announce a “no fanart” policy for their Artist Alley, which outlaws the selling of commissions or prints that utilize any depictions of copyrighted material, even though the artwork involved is original and not a reproduction of any actual existing images (think Inuyasha on a Chocobo).

The issues relevant to webcomics relate to the possible banning of “sprite comics” or any comics that utilize depictions of copyrighted properties to tell their stories. If “fanart” is banned, then these most certainly fall under that distinction.

Copyright is a very important area, but Otakon’s absolute position will now prohibit many of the usual activities of a con that are expected by the attendees in regard to artists (such as being able to commission original artwork of their favorite characters), along with setting up a precedent that threatens Anime Music Videos, Cosplay competitions, and the appearance of many webcomics. Continue Reading

Jack Thompson Tries to Enlist Seattle Police Dept to Shut Down Penny Arcade

You know this Jack Thompson guy sures likes to threaten people who disagree with him. At this point he’s pretty bent about Penny Arcade’s response to his “modest proposal” for a violent videogame. To the point of calling on the Seattle police department to shut down Penny Arcade.

If it wasn’t so laughably inept, this kind of over-the-top flinging of unjustified-lawsuit-poop could interest folks like this or this who tend to see the flinging of lawsuit-poop as counterproductive to that little First Amendment thing most sane citizens still cherish. Continue Reading

Webcomics vs The Man

Earlier this week, there was a bit of a dispute between Penny Arcade and attorney Jack Thompson about Jack’s offer to pay ten thousand dollars to any game company who would make and release his game about the brutal murder of people in the gaming industry. When someone did, Jack said that the offer was merely satire, and he did not intend to make the donation.

The Penny Arcade boys decided to be the better men, and with nothing more than a brief mention buried beneath their latest news post, made the 10,000 dollar donation themselves, in Jack’s name. That’s class.

Welton Colbert’s experience with Jack Thompson, however, was handled with decidedly less class. Continue Reading