Comics A.M.| New motion in Superman legal feud; a case for optimism

by  in Comic News Comment
Comics A.M.| New motion in Superman legal feud; a case for optimism

Legal | In a motion for summary judgment filed Monday in the long-running legal battle for the rights to Superman, attorneys for Warner Bros. are revisiting their 2009 argument that the estate of Joe Shuster has no grounds to reclaim the artist’s share of the copyright to the Man of Steel. They point to a 1992 agreement in which the estate relinquished all claims in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included DC Comics paying Shuster’s remaining debts follow his death earlier that year, and providing his sister Jean Seavy with a $25,000 annual pension. Daniel Best has the documents, while Jeff Trexler provides context, noting that the new filing “filing wasn’t a Perry Mason-esque unveiling of surprising new facts. Rather, it was a routine motion for summary judgment.” A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20. [20th Century Danny Boy, The Beat]

Publishing | Surveying the landscape of the comics market, John Jackson Miller makes a case for optimism, pointing to increases in digital and print sales, and the health of comics in relation to the rest of the magazine business: “I do try very hard to avoid being Pangloss or Pollyana; for years when I was the editor of Comics Retailer in the 1990s, the rap on me from publishers was that I was overly downbeat (when I really felt like I was just reporting what was going on). I’ve tried hard not to overreact in the opposite direction, and to take a skeptical eye to both the apparent upticks and downdrafts. There are shifts that appear less than positive, and one can easily imagine ways to construct a similar case for pessimism. Comics unit sales still continue to decline on most titles as their issue numbers increase; periodicals’ aggregate improvements have still generally come from the offering of an ever larger number of titles and the constant replacement of gray series with new ones, rather than increases within most series. The single greatest factor influencing comics sales volume is still the number of comics shops, and there are still too many markets under-served (though Diamond announced at San Diego a new push to help open new stores).” [The Comichron]

Conventions | David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations for Comic-Con International, talks with ICV2 about attendance for this year’s event — he guesses somewhere between 126,000 and 130,000 — perennial complaints that the convention is no longer about comics, and the uncertainty about the location of WonderCon 2013. On a related note, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System reports 192,597 took the trolley to Comic-Con, a nearly 4-percent increase from last year. [, NBC San Diego]

Conventions | Organizers of last month’s inaugural Denver Comic-Con, which drew an impressive 27,700 attendees — by way of comparison, the first New York Comic Con brought in 32,000 — are already planning next year’s event, which will be headlined by Stan Lee. [Denver Post]

Conventions | Amarillo, Texas, will play host to its first comic convention on Saturday, Ama-Con. [Amarillo Globe-News]

Comics | The editorial board of the Plain Dealer lends its support for Cleveland as the location for a proposed Comic Book Hall of Fame: “Cleveland already has the obvious location: the Superman house in Glenville. A Comic Book Hall of Fame would be a fine pop culture complement to the city that already has the shrine to rock ‘n’ roll.” [Plain Dealer]

Creators | Ahead of the release of The Dark Knight Rises, the East Aurora, New York, newspaper talks with local artist Graham Nolan, who created Bane with writers Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench. At Comic Book Resources, Dixon also discusses the supervillain. [East Aurora Advertiser]

Legal | Dateline NBC will air another report on Friday about Michael George, the former retailer and convention organizer convicted of the 1990 murder of his first wife in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. The TV newsmagazine filmed George’s second trial last year. He’s serving life in prison with no possibility of parole. [Daily American]

Retailing | The writer of a newspaper consumer-protection column informs a demanding and opinionated comics fan that a store does have the right to ban him for his frequent complaints about its “ludicrous and stingy” discount policy. “Indeed, it’s hard to comprehend why anyone would keep returning to the same store if they found its policies stupid and its staff unhelpful,” the columnist writes. “The customer isn’t always right just because he or she thinks so.” [The Spectator]