This is the ninth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous eight.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Marvel and DC own the trademark of the word “Super Hero.”
Reader Jason asked a question about a Captain America T-Shirt that he had that had a DC copyright on it.
It is likely that Jason’s T-Shirt was, in fact, an error.
However, it did remind me of something that DC and Marvel DO share, and that is a trademark on the word “Super Hero.”
Here is a copy of the accepted US federal trademark…
Word Mark SUPER HEROES
Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: PUBLICATIONS, PARTICULARLY COMIC BOOKS AND MAGAZINES AND STORIES IN ILLUSTRATED FORM [(( ; CARDBOARD STAND-UP FIGURES; PLAYING CARDS; PAPER IRON-ON TRANSFER; ERASERS; PENCIL SHARPENERS; PENCILS; GLUE FOR OFFICE AND HOME USE, SUCH AS IS SOLD AS STATIONERY SUPPLY;] NOTEBOOKS AND STAMP ALBUMS )). FIRST USE: 19661000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19661000
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73222079
Filing Date July 3, 1979
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition June 9, 1981
Registration Number 1179067
Registration Date November 24, 1981
Owner (REGISTRANT) Cadence Industries Corporation a.k.a. Marvel Comics Group and DC Comics Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE 575 Madison Ave. New York NEW YORK 10022
(LAST LISTED OWNER) DC COMICS PARTNERSHIP BY ASSIGNMENT NEW YORK 1700 BROADWAY NEW YORK NEW YORK 10019
(LAST LISTED OWNER) MARVEL CHARACTERS, INC. CORPORATION BY ASSIGNMENT DELAWARE 10474 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD SUITE 206 LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA 90025
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record JONATHAN D. REICHMAN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20020819.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20020819
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
DC and Marvel have, since 1981, owned a trademark of the phrase “Super Hero,” in regards to publications, toys, costumes and the like.
Todd VerBeek had an interesting column on the topic a year or so ago here.
I thought about this when I was wondering whether Jason’s T-Shirt mentioned the phrase “Super Hero,” in which case it could have had a trademark on it mentioning both Marvel and DC.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: DG Chichester left Daredevil with #332.
Writer DG Chichester followed Ann Nocenti on Daredevil, and had an interesting run.
He brought the character back to his New York City roots, and his Last Rites storyline with artist Lee Weeks was pretty good.
Later on, working with artist Scott McDaniel, Chichester made the controversial move of both A. Bringing Elektra back from the dead and B. “Killing off” Matt Murdock and giving Daredevil a new armored costume and a new secret identity, Jack Batlin.
With issue #332, Chichester took a break from the book, and writer Gregory Wright did a fill-in arc for the next five issues. Chichester was to return after the arc.
However, the name DG Chichester would not appear in the credits of Daredevil again until the very last issue of Daredevil Volume 1 (#380).
Well, during the fill-in arc (late 1994), Marvel had an in-company shake-up. Tom DeFalco was removed as Editor-in-Chief, and instead of naming a successor, Marvel named five separate “Editor-in-Chiefs,” each of whom was given a certain amount of titles to be in charge of.
Bob Harras kept the X-Men book, Mark Gruenwald got Marvel Heroes, Bob Budiansky got Spider-Man, Carl Potts got the Licensed Books and Alternaverse books (books that fell in the cracks), and Bobbie Chase got “Marvel Edge.”
“Marvel Edge” was basically throwing together all of Marvel’s “edgier” titles, like Hulk, Punisher, Ghost Rider, and yes, Daredevil.
Not much of a theme between the bunch, but that was what Marvel said must be.
Well, Bobbie Chase did not want DG Chichester to write Daredevil (for whatever reason), so she went out and got a new writer.
The thing is, Chichester was already working on his upcoming issues, and Chase did not want him to know that after those issues were done, a new writer would be taking over.
Someone secretly let Chichester in on this, and as a protest, he insisted that his name be taken off these remaining issues.
That is why Daredevil #338-342 are credited not to DG Chichester, but to Alan Smithee (the infamous pseudonym that directors use when they want to distance themselves from a project that they did not like…Chichester went to film school, dontcha know).
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Christopher Priest killed off a character in a comic because of ownership rights.
In the pages of Justice League Task Force, writer Christopher Priest introduced a new hero, an asian teenager who disguised herself as a male hero named Mystek. Awhile after joining the team, while on a mission in space, Mystek was tragically lost out of the spaceship and died.
That was the last that anyone spoke of Mystek.
Why such an ignominious fate?
Well, as it turns out, Priest had created Mystek, and was in the process of selling Mystek to DC as a creator-owned character to star in her own mini-series. He was told to put her in Justice League Task Force to get people interested in her.
Well, the deal fell through.
At that point, DC did not own the character, but they were (in a way) making money off the character.
You can understand how this would not be a good thing for Priest, so off she went.
It was too bad, too, because she was a good character.
Read here for Priest’s take on it.
Well, that’s it for me this week!
Feel free to tell me some urban legends you have heard, and I will try to confirm or deny them!