Archive for the As Mentioned category

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As Mentioned in Reviewing 2006’s Justice #7 for #JLMAY 2017

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As Mentioned in Reviewing 2006’s Justice #7 for #JLMAY 2017

If you haven’t done so already click below to give Episode 12 a listen:

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Oscar is not having a good day.  Not a good day at all.

The video game industry has struck again J’onn!

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As Mentioned in Episode 10 – The Issue that Launched the Shazamcast

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If you haven’t already please be sure and give Episode 10 a listen.

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Awww yeah

It’s really inspiring the way that Superman has carried on since his right leg was amputated.

Say my name!

Pretty nice shot.

What a weird combination of Archie Comics art style and excruciating agony.

Who is this abusing Ice??

That fight gave me… Super Hives.

Alternative Caption: Green-haired girl…. Schwing!

 

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As Mentioned in Episode 09 – Hello? Is Anyone There?

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If you haven’t already please be sure and give Episode 09 a listen.

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I. For Real, the Rock Doesn’t Understand Black Adam

See for yourself.

No, for real – he really doesn’t.

And neither does Geoff Johns.

II. Just So We’re Clear: Black Adam is Totally Not a Hero.  In Any Fashion.

Check out this piece from CBR: Black Adam’s 15 Most Brutal Kills

III. Here’s the Next Review Issue

1992′ Action Comics #4 – Living Daylights from “Eclipso: The Evil Within”

IV. Take a Gander at the Shazam Subreddit

You can visit via this link and, if you are willing, contact the mod via this one (requires a Reddit account).

V. Here’s that Scary Movie Podcast if You are Interested

Here’s the Saw Something Scary Podcast Homepage

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As Mentioned in Episode 08 – Make Way for Captain Thunder!

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If you haven’t already, be sure and give Episode 08 a listen!

This episode covers the story Make Way for Captain Thunder! from June 1974’s Superman #276.  You can find a beautiful reprint in Shazam: A Celebration of 75 Years.

00 Belt

The Super-Hero World Championship is On the Line!

01 How Dare You

A Super Jerk is what he is.

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As Mentioned in Episode 07 – The 1970s Shazam Revival

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If you haven’t already be sure to give Episode 07 a listen.

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Len Miller's Marvelman in all his 1960's Brittish Knock-Off Glory
Len Miller’s Marvelman in all his 1960’s Brittish Knock-Off Glory
Marvelman under Alan Moore's guidance. Note the concurrent series there on the left.
Marvelman under Alan Moore’s guidance. Note the concurrent series there on the left.

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As Mentioned in Episode 6 – Captain Marvel Knock-Offs

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If you haven’t already be sure to give Episode 6 a listen.

 

1. Who Infringed on Who?

SupermanAndCaptainMarvel

It’s like I’ve said before: You can be a great character, you can have great stories, you can be loved by every creator, but unless your name is Batman, you’re never going to be more important to DC Comics than Superman, and even that’s up for a pretty strong debate. At the end of the day, though, that core idea of Captain Marvel is still every bit as brilliant as it was in 1940 — an idea that was so good that they ended up turning Superman into it. – Chris Sims, Ask Chris #245: Superman vs. Shazam

2. The Fatman Cometh

Like Fat Marvel bleached his hair and went solo.
Like Fat Marvel bleached his hair and went solo.

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As Mentioned in Episode 05 – Interview with Jeff Farham

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TWMMB

1. The most important link coming out of Episode 05 – that is to Jeff Farham’s wonderful Golden Age Captain Marvel Blog, The World’s Mightiest Mortal.

Click. Read. Enjoy.

2. You can also connect with The World’s Mightiest Mortal blog on Twitter and Facebook (and you should).

3. Jeff also has a seperate blog dedicated to the Bronze Age incarnation of the Captain Marvel character that is well worth checking out: Captain Marvel’s Adventures

4. Visit the Shazamcast! Read tab to find links to a treasure trove of Golden Age Captain Marvel digital comics.

5. Those interested in the Shazam! TV series should take a look at Jeff Farham’s interview with Jackson Bostwick, the actor who initially played Captain Marvel on that series.

6. If you want to know more about the C.S. Lewis reference in our conversation this article should be helpful.

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As Mentioned in Episode 4 – Review of the Justice League: Darkseid War Shazam One-Shot

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JLDWS

 

Listen to the Episode HERE!

1. Go Get This IssueJustice League: Darkseid War – Shazam #1

2. Interview: C.C. Beck by Tom Heintjes for Hogan’s Alley Magazine (This is Really Worth Reading in Its Entirety)

When I looked at the first Captain Marvel story, I knew at once that here was a story worth illustrating. It had a beginning, a carefully constructed development of plot and characters leading to a climax and an ending, and nothing else. There was no pointless flying around and showing off, no padding, no “Look, Ma, I’m a superhero!” Out of 72 panels, Captain Marvel appeared in 18, or one-fourth… Without Bill Batson, Captain Marvel would have been merely another overdrawn, one-dimensional figure in a ridiculous costume, running around beating up crooks and performing meaningless feats of strength like all the other heroic figures of the time who were, with almost no exceptions, cheap imitations of Superman. In fact, I have always felt that flying figures in picture form are silly and unbelievable, and I would much sooner have never drawn them, but the publisher insisted on them. Most of the time Captain Marvel’s ability to fly had little or nothing to do with the plots of the stories in which he appeared.

3. Tweet from Writer Steve Orlando Regarding Mars/Malecandra

It was really kind of Orlando to reply and there is more to the conversation if you want to go read it all.

4. Go Check Out Ryan Daly’s Comic and Pop Culture Blogs

Follow Ryan on Twitter

The Secret Origins PodcastBlog / iTunes – Start with Episode #3 🙂

Flowers & Fishnets: A Black Canary PodcastBlog / iTunes – Episode 18 has the Shazamcast! shout out I mentioned.

Dead Bothan Spies: A Star Wars PodcastBlog / iTunes

G.I. Joe: A Real American Headcast – BlogiTunes

4. For Real: Get This Issue – If Only for the Final Splashpage of Shazam

The headshot above is cropped from that final splash; really gorgeous work.  And, once you get the issue, let me know if you think that final splash indicates that Captain Marvel… er, Shazam, is flying (in contradiction to the earlier in-story implication that he cannot fly).

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Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Trademark

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Time for Marvel and DC to Share the Captain Marvel Trademark

So fundamental to being a fan of DC’s Captain Marvel is the copyright issue I chose that subject as the first post for this website.  Really, despite the longevity and commercial appeal of this character, there is no factor more controlling of this character and his stories.

Below you will find Carl Shinyama‘s most thorough review of how Cap came to be in the copyright mess he is in.  This comes from his notes on Episode 3 of the Shazamcast!  If you listened to that episode – and, I mean, of course you did, right? – you know that Carly also proposed what I believe is the most common sense idea associated with the Captain Marvel character since at least 1953 (see section IV below).

There is one small tweak that I think needs to be added to Carl’s argument and I’ll post it after you read through all the goodness of his write up.

I. The Backstory

This is a subject with a complicated backstory, but necessary to know in order to understand and discuss the Captain Marvel trademark, that is, how Marvel Comics came to own the Captain Marvel trademark despite Captain Marvel originating elsewhere almost thirty years prior.

National Comics Publications (Now DC Comics) sued Fawcett Publications for copyright infringement of their Superman in 1941 under the Copyright Act of 1909. Under today’s copyright laws, the case would have been thrown out.

Before Captain Marvel, National had established a habit of eliminating the competition; they were suing anyone who was publishing Superman-like strongmen for copyright infringement. In fact, in 1940 before the famous Captain Marvel case, National had sued Fawcett for their Master Man character (despite him being published two months after Captain Marvel). Rather than pursuing the matter, Fawcett decided to cease publication of Master Man after just six issues.

However, in the case of Captain Marvel, when National decided to take legal action, Fawcett decided to fight the lawsuit.

The initial trial, which began in 1948, was actually decided in Fawcett’s favor. Despite ruling that Fawcett infringed on National’s Superman copyright, it was decided that National had abandoned their Superman copyright when the McClure syndicate failed to copyright several of their Superman newspaper comic strips, making it no longer a valid copyright.

Unfortunately, in the appeal, the original ruling of the abandoned copyright was reversed.

Fawcett then settled out of court (for a total of $400,000) and agreed to cease publication of all Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953. Captain Marvel would then be out of print for the remainder of the 1950’s and throughout the entirety of the 1960’s.

II. Marvel Comics Steps In

This is all relevant because…

Marvel Comics trademarked the Captain Marvel name in 1967. (October 27th, 1967 to be exact.)

Two months later, they would publish their own Captain Marvel in Marvel Superheroes #12. In May of 1968, Captain Marvel got his own on-going comic series.

What this meant…

When DC Comics licensed the character in 1972, they couldn’t legally published a comic book with the Captain Marvel name in the title (even though they did just that for a little while).

As a result, DC Comics decided to title Captain Marvel’s books as Shazam. Shazam, as we know, is the name of the wizard who gave Billy Batson his powers, but this lead to confusion, with people thinking that Captain Marvel’s name was Shazam. (This would be something that would plague DC’s Captain Marvel for decades.)

Marvel, because they didn’t want to lose the trademark¹, would have to continue publishing a Captain Marvel book every few years or risk losing the trademark. DC Comics would snatch it up the first chance they get. This resulted in Marvel publishing seven different Captain Marvel characters before finally achieving a critical success hit when they promoted long-time Ms. Marvel  to Captain Marvel.

¹ Trademark laws require that your mark has to be used in commerce. If you stop using the mark in commerce, you lose it.

III. Where Things Stand Today                       

Having said that…

Despite their newfound critical acclaim with Carol Danvers, too many long-time comic book fans associate Captain Marvel name with the Big Red Cheese. In fact, many people often mistake which character belongs to which company.

Trademarks are a brand name. It’s intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods and/or services of one seller from those of others, and to indicate the source of goods and/or services.

This is not a problem for Marvel per se, but it does raise a concern because…

Despite legal ownership of the Captain Marvel trademark, there exists a shaky, if not outright lack of distinguishment of the goods by consumers in the Captain Marvel brand that Marvel is providing them. Worse, a lot of people mistake the source of the goods.

IV. Time for a Change

Here’s the money question:

This poses a question: If, after almost five decades with the trademark, and Marvel cannot provide consumers with a goods that predominantly distinguishes itself from their competitor’s goods, WHY NOT SHARE THE CAPTAIN MARVEL TRADEMARK?

After all, Marvel and DC already share joint ownership of the super-hero trademark. This establishes a precedence.

Due to the unique history with the Captain Marvel name, where both Marvel and DC have a character of the same name, surely they share the trademark?

Before I get to my argument, I fully acknowledge that…

Marvel has little to no incentive to share it. In fact, I’m quite sure they’d feel too threatened by DC’s Captain Marvel.

They’d have a point, because as recent history indicates, DC’s Captain Marvel is a bigger commercial threat than Marvel’s Captain Marvel. Since Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel, according to ICVo2, not once did any of her issues outsell Thunderworld. Clearly, the appeal of C.C. becks’ and Bill Parker’s Captain Marvel is a commercial threat.

And here’s my argument…

Marvels own Captain Marvel’s single issues struggle to sell more than 25,000 in print and that’s with DC treating their own Captain Marvel like an unwanted step-child with no regular publication (Captain Marvel is the only New 52 Justice League character with no on-going book). Worse, Marvel’s new Ms. Marvel outsells the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel by a considerable amount on a regular basis. This proves that the Captain Marvel name does little for Marvel, and that the driving force for commercial success has more to do with the appeal of the character. Speaking of which, what happens when Carol Danvers is no longer Captain Marvel, and she’s replaced, whether by a new one or an old one? The cycle will repeat itself. Marvel will continue to struggle commercially with character even if they singlehandedly own the mark.

Even if Marvel is or would be unwilling to share the trademark, their inability to establish a clear source of the Captain Marvel brand and long-time branding ambiguity makes that irrelevant; as long as DC Comics publishes Captain Marvel, as they currently do even with a main-continuity Shazam in the fold, they’ll still struggle to clear the Captain Marvel brand as they always have whether they share it or not. Sharing it won’t make it even more ambiguous.

Still…

It could work as far as branding goes. So that each company can distinguish their own Captain Marvel’s from one another’s, much like how companies attach their brand name to generic terms (such as Kellogg attaching their name to corn flakes; Kellogg’s® Corn Flakes), Marvel could allow DC to put their brand on a Captain Marvel book and call it DC’s Captain Marvel. While ambiguity will still be prevalent by consumers, this still allows both companies to distinguish their goods.

Last but not least…

Sharing the trademark with DC wouldn’t hurt Marvel’s bottom line: While Marvel would be extremely unlikely to consider it unless they could make money from it – and that’s (highly) improbable – they aren’t in any real position to lose money by not sharing the trademark, either. Only lack of current and historical buying consumer demand hurts their bottom line, not trademark branding.

Here’s the one caveat I would add: I think there is tremendous incentive for Marvel to embrace the sharing of the Captain Marvel trademark with DC: the opportunity to make one of the most significant gestures of goodwill to comics fans in the history of the medium

In fact, doing so has no downside – this action will have no adverse affect on sales of Marvel’s Captain Marvel – the two characters are completely distinct in the minds of buyers – and demonstrates on Marvel’s part a real confidence in Carol Danvers as a character which, of course, is totally deserved.

So, since no shine comes off Carol (as if it could, right?), no damage is done to potential sales of Marvel titles, and sharing the copyright would be a monumental boon to the comic buying community how soon can this get done?

In all seriousness, I’d like to see this idea get some distribution (and, as a result, some traction).  If you are willing to share it with others I would appreciate that very much.  Also, a quick review on iTunes of Episode 3 would be greatly appreciated as well!

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As Mentioned in Episode 03 – Marvel and DC Hold the Trademark for Superhero

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In the most recent episode of the Shazamcast! (about the 44:30 mark) Carl Shinyama proposed that Marvel and DC hold joint ownership of the name Captain Marvel.  I’m hoping to post Carl’s notes from the episode soon but, in the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to review the precedent for Carl’s idea: the joint ownership by the Big 2 of the trademark of term super hero.

The best thing I’ve seen as an introduction comes from Brian Cronin, a comic fan and lawyer in New York City called The Superhero Trademark FAQ, published initially on his blog and then updated for CBR.  It is worth reading in its entirety and I highly recommend you do so.  There is, however, a core section I’m going to excerpt:

Q: What does it mean that Marvel and DC have a trademark on the word “Superhero”?

A: It means that companies cannot enter certain areas of commerce with the word/phrase “superhero” as part of their product name.

Q: What products does this apply to?

A: Publications, but basically comic books and magazines. Also, cardboard stand-up figures, playing cards, paper iron-on transfers, erasers, pencil sharpeners, pencils, notebooks, stamp albums, and costumes

Q: Does this affect our ability to use the word superhero?

A: Only if you want to make a product that fits into those categories and sell it. So, if you want to sell (you can make it for your own personal pleasure) a comic book called “Star Spangled Superhero Stories,” you would not be able to. But if you want to refer to your characters as superheroes within the comic, you can do so. This is what allows DC to refer to their character Captain Marvel as Captain Marvel within the comic, but they cannot use the name Captain Marvel in advertising or as the name of the comic, because Marvel holds a registered trademark of that name.

Q: When did Marvel and DC do this?

A: 1979. They recently re-filed the trademark.

Another interesting aspect: from time to time you see lawsuits filed by smaller entities, not all of them comic creators or publishers, challenging this trademark – see for example the cases of Ray Felix, SUPERHERO DONUTS, SuperHeroCleaners, and a whole slew of companies in the UK.  It often appears to be a case of the Big Bad Corporation holding down the little man.

However, according to Cronin, defending every violation of the trademark is required to maintain that trademark:

Q: Can’t Marvel and DC just let some minor companies get away with the use? Does it really matter?

A: One of the problems with trademarks is that companies have to defend the use of the term, or else risk the term being considered generic, and thereby losing the trademark protection. So, if Marvel and DC began letting companies call their comics “Superhero ____,” they would risk a court ruling that the term was no longer associated with only Marvel and DC, and then the term would be declared “generic,” and would no longer be protectable, which was the case for such famous words as cellophane and kerosene, both once product names, but ultimately became known as generic words that any company could use (The most famous example of a company who vigorously defends their trademark is Xerox, who love to insist that you “use a Xerox copy machine to make a copy, not make a xerox!”). Other companies who constantly have to make this distinction include Roller Blade brand in-line skates and Band-Aid brand bandages.

Interesting stuff that also reminds us comics, as an industry, require certain legal protections and opportunity to earn profit in order to keep the stories and characters we love in regular publication.

Look soon for specifics on how the trademark issue comes in to play in the attempt to get modern Captain Marvel stories where the character is named Captain Marvel rather than using the name of the wizard who grants his powers.

Finally: have you listened to the episode or the previous episodes of the Shazamcast!? If not, you can find them HERE.  Have you listened to them already?  A quick review on iTunes would be greatly appreciated!