Welcome to the four hundred and fifty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and fifty-four. This week, does DC seriously own a trademark on the LETTERING in Superman’s logo? What strange way did Denny O’Neil react to the Batman credit card scene in Batman and Robin? And why did Marvel cancel Logan’s Run?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: DC has a trademark on the telescopic style of letters in Superman’s logo.
Everyone knows that DC owns a trademark on Superman’s name and his big S, but did you know that DC actually owns a trademark on the STYLE of the telescopic lettering on Superman’s logo?
From an 1982 case, here’s a brief review of some of the trademarks DC owns on Superman:
The record shows that SUPERMAN has been registered for toy doll figures, that SUPERMAN in combination with a full figure drawing has been registered for magazines, that the SUPERMAN logo, with name and drawing of head and torso, has been registered for magazines, that the SUPERMAN logo, with the name in telescopic lettering, has been registered for cartoons in a series, and that a full figure drawing of SUPERMAN has been registered for shirts.
In other words, you cannot use the distinctive telescopic lettering in Superman’s logo for goods that you’re trying to sell. Obviously, it is very easy to achieve a SIMILAR effect without clearly just taking off Superman’s logo…
But you can’t just take that distinct lettering style for your own commercial goods.
Irene Vartanoff has a great piece on her site explaining her time when she was in charge of rights and permissions at DC Comics in the 1980s and would have to go after people for using the distinctive letter of the Superman logo.
Damn, that was a really simple legend. I mean, it’s cool and all, but still very simple.
Thanks to Irene for the great article!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Oprah Winfrey seriously get her famous first name from a typo on her birth certificate?
On the next page, what amusing reaction did Denny O’Neil have to the Batman credit card scene in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin?
STATUS: I’m Going With True
Joel Schumacher took over the director’s reins from Tim Burton on the third Batman movie, Batman Forever.
The movie was a massive blockbuster, outgrossing the previous film in the Batman series.
So naturally, Schumacher was given a chance to do a second Batman film. This new film was called Batman and Robin and it starred George Clooney as Batman.
A notable difference between Schumacher’s Batman films and Burton’s was that Schumacher tended to go for a slightly more camp feel than Burton, who wanted to go with a darker Batman.
A particularly infamous “camp” sequence in Batman and Robin is a scene where Batman and Robin (who are both under the control of Poison Ivy) battle for her in a charity auction. Eventually, Batman wins the auction by busting out the Batman credit card…
Here’s the scene if you want to see it (with a slight audio edit by the YouTube poster):
Comic book legend Denny O’Neil was famous for his efforts during the early 1970s to make Batman a darker character again in the post-Batman TV series era (along with great artists like Neal Adams and Irv Novick).
And when O’Neil took over the editing duties on Batman in the mid-1980s, Batman was even darker still…
So naturally, you’d imagine that O’Neil would have some issues with Schumacher’s vision of Batman.
well, reader Jakob S. asked me about a story about O’Neil at a screening of the film and he wanted to know if it was true.
Here is Peter David’s take on the events, in response to a fan talking about the film…
At least YOU didn’t see “Batman and Robin” at a special private screening for DC staffers and guest. I’ll never forget the moment Batman whipped out the Bat Mastercard, and someone behind me screamed like a lost soul howling its agony from the pit of the damned. It was Denny O’Neil. What a blood-curdling sound THAT was.
While obviously I wasn’t there, I figure it is fair enough to trust David at his word here, so I’m willing to go with this as a true.
Thanks for the suggestion, Jakob!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
Was the Plot of the Big Sleep So Confusing That Not Even the Screenwriters Understood It?
Logan’s Run was a modestly successful 1976 sci-fi film based on William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson’s movel of the same name.
Marvel Comics did an a great adaptation of the movie by Gerry Conway/David Kraft and George Perez…
After they finished adapting the story, though, Marvel kept doing NEW stories by John Warner and Tom Sutton…
The first new story issue is famous for having a rather out-of-place (but awesome) back-up story by Scott Edelman (husband to Irene Vartanoff! What a weird coincidence) and Mike Zeck spotlighting Thanos…
#7 was abruptly the last issue…
And Marvel clearly had material produced for future issues.
The common belief at the time (and since) was just that the sales were bad for the new material and Marvel canceled it for that reason.
That’s not the case, though. As It turned out, it was a miscommunication between Marvel and the owners of the license. Marvel thought that they had the license to do new material but they were informed that they did not. So, well, that as they say is that! It’s too bad, Warner and Sutton were doing a good job.
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving comic book adaptations of movies!
Did Lucasfilm take issue with a Star Wars comic because it positively portrayed pacifism?
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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See you all next week!