Welcome to the three hundredth and fiftieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, discover whether Marvel sued Dave Sim over his usage of the Wolverine parody Wolveroach, marvel at a lawsuit involving a billboard of all things in the Spider-Man movie and learn just who is Speed Gordon!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and forty-nine.
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel sued Dave Sim over his use of the character Wolveroach.
After last week’s discussion of the X-Men character S’ym, a lot of people wanted to talk about Wolveroach. If you look throughout the internet, you’ll find a lot of mention of Dave Sim being sued by Marvel Comics over the use of the character Wolveroach, a Wolverine parody that Sim used during the 1980s. As a parody of the exposure that the character was getting at Marvel, Sim had the character appear on three straight covers of Cerebus…
while inside the actual comics, the character spent the issues unconscious…
It is a funny bit.
Well, Marvel took issue to the way that Sim was using their trademarked character, and in Cerebus #61, Sim printed a cease and desist letter from Marvel’s lawyers…
Now, initially, Sim was irked over all of this…
but after speaking with Jim Shooter at a convention, Sim realized that Marvel really did have a point. As he himself later noted in 1984, if Marvel suddenly started making S’ym comic books, he’d be pissed, as well, so the whole thing blew over.
Do note that if you do NOT protect your trademark, you give up the right to HAVE that trademark, so with this being such a notable usage of their trademarked figure, Marvel pretty much HAD to say something if they wanted to keep their Wolverine trademark, which is certainly very important to Marvel.
But Marvel never sued Sim (and they especially did not “sue the pants off of him,” as I saw one place put it).
Thanks to Vinnie Bartilucci, Travis Pelkie and a few other folks for suggesting that I feature this one.
Check out the latest Baseball Urban Legends Revealed to learn whether a movie correctly predicted Ken Griffey’s stardom during his rookie season, discover the interesting role that Babe Ruth played in the institution of the trade deadline and shake your head at how a “joke” game cost a Hall of Famer an impressive pitching record.
COMIC LEGEND: The makers of the Spider-Man film were sued over their use of a billboard within the film.
In the hit 2002 Spider-Man film by Sony Pictures…
there is a scene in Time Square…
As you can see, there is an ad for USA Today on the billboard. In real life, though, that billboard is for Samsung.
Therefore, in 2002 (before the film even came out, because the scenes appeared in the trailer), the owners of the building and the billboard company jointly sued Sony claiming unfair competition, deceptive trade practices and trespass.
The lawsuit argued:
Due to the unbelievable exposure and residual value of the advertisements, Two Times Square often constitutes the centrepiece of a corporation’s advertising and branding campaigns. If [Sony and Columbia’s] conduct is allowed to continue, it is less likely that major corporations and advertisers will contract for advertising space at Two Times Square, 1600 Broadway, or Sherwood’s other properties because the amount of exposure and, therefore, the residual value of their advertising, will be diminished.
They also suggest that the film would make it look like the billboard company sold the ad space in the film to someone else.
Later in the year, a Federal Judge dismissed the claim, stating, “‘What exists here is for artistic purposes a mixture of a fictionally and actually depicted Times Square, which is central to a major scene in the movie thereby serving the theatrically relevant purpose of orienting the viewer to the location” and thus the scene was protected by the First Amendment.
Check out the latest Soccer/Football Urban Legends Revealed to learn about the player who succesfully hoaxed his way on to a Premier League soccer team by having a friend recommend him while claiming to be a famous football player, shake your head at the footballer who was injured before he made his Premier League debut…on a goal celebration and find out just what ADIDAS stands for after all!
COMIC LEGEND: When Flash Gordon appeared in Australia, his name was changed to Speed Gordon.
During the first half of the century, Flash Gordon was one of the most famous comic strip characters in the world, and as such he appeared in comics all over the world.
A snag happened in Australia, though, when a company began bringing over comic strip heroes like Mandrake the Magician…
You see, there is an Australian phrase “flash as a rat with a gold tooth,” that eventually has been boiled down to simply “flash”. It means flagrantly ostentatious and untrustworthy (here is a dictionary reference to the phrase).
Therefore, Speed Gordon was born!
Amusingly enough, Speed Gordon has now been added to the slang lexicon, as well, as “a fictitious man used as something to emphasise the incredulousness of a circumstance.” Like, “you’re as strong as Speed Gordon!” or “you’ve got more money than Speed Gordon!”
Check out the latest Golf Urban Legends Revealed to learn of the sad tale of how a mistaken card cost a player a chance at winning the Masters, discover the strange tale of just how challenging the Ko’olau Gold Club course is and marvel at the player who was penalized two strokes because of his HAT!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you all next week!
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