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Comics A.M. | Case of Sherlock Holmes rights isn’t over just yet

by  in Comic News Comment

Legal | As the dust begins to settle on the ruling last month by a federal judge that Arthur Conan Doyle’s first 50 Sherlock Holmes stories have lapsed into the public domain in the United States, out march the analyses pointing out the buts. Chief among them, of course, is the possibility of appeal by the Conan Doyle estate, which contends the characters were effectively incomplete until the author’s final story was published in the United States (the 10 stories published after Jan. 1, 1923, remain under copyright in this country until 2022).

However, Publishers Weekly notes that because U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo didn’t rule directly on that “novel” argument, the estate may be satisfied with the ambiguity of the decision, given that uncertain creators still may seek to license the characters to steer clear of any trouble. Estate lawyer Benjamin Allison also insists that the Sherlock Holmes trademarks remain unaffected, an assertion that puzzles author and scholar Leslie Klinger, who brought the lawsuit. “There is a very good reason why the Estate did not assert trademark protection: The Estate does not own any trademarks,” he told PW. “They have applied for them, and there will be substantial opposition.” There’s more at NPR, The Independent and The Atlantic. [Publishers Weekly]


Publishing | ICv2 continues its interview with Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, who addresses how the company’s print and film divisions coordinate strategies: “The general philosophy is we’re going to try to build some heat around a character 18 months to a year before the movie releases within the comic continuity. That way we’ll have some fresh trades and collections on the shelves, with high level talent, when the movie releases. You’ll have some back issues; you’ll have some trades; there’ll be a market. The books will feel contemporary with the best read and art that we can provide at that time.” [ICv2]

Comics | Brian Truitt talks to Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort about the publisher’s next big crossover event, “Original Sin,” which debuts in May. [USA Today]

Comics | The animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which was abruptly canceled last spring, will finish its story in a four-issue limited series to debut in May from Dark Horse. [Newsarama]


Comics | Nyay Bhushan looks at the growing trend in India of making graphic novels from popular films, with a particular focus on Graphic India’s adaptation of the 1975 film Sholay. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | Writer G. Willow Wilson talks about the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim who has been attracting a lot of attention ahead of her February debut. [Wired]

Creators | Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons talks about working with Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Steve Rude and other creators in the first of a planned series of interviews. [13th Dimension]


Creators | Afterlife With Archie writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells Michael Cavna that while it’s fun bringing zombies and other horror creatures to Riverdale, “the real thrill has been telling these weird, deeply emotional, personal stories with these iconic characters. Treating them as real people, in extreme situations. Peeling back the layers to reveal their true cores. That¹s been the best part for a lifelong Archie fan like me.” [Comic Riffs]

Creators | In a five-minute video, Bizarro cartoonist Dan Piraro talks about how they made comics in the days before digital. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Publishing | RJ Casey, Andrea Bell and Kevin Budnik of Yeti Press, a small comics publisher based in Chicago, are the guests on the OC Dweeb podcast. [OC Dweeb]

Comic strips | Longtime Rex Morgan, MD, artist Graham Nolan is stepping down; Terry Beatty, who also draws The Phantom, has been drawing the daily strips since Dec. 30, and his first Sunday strip will appear this weekend. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Comics | Sean Kleefeld discusses the problem of trying to determine the copyright of some older comics he wants to write about, and the danger that Disney will assert ownership even though the works are in the public domain. [Kleefeld on Comics]