A tire shop in New Zealand is changing its logo to avoid a costly legal battle with DC Comics, which insists its superhero mascot too closely resembles the Man of Steel.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Marie and Gene Young, owners of Super Tyre Guy in the small town Paeroa, received a cease-and-desist letter two weeks ago demanding they immediately stop using the costumed character.
Appearing on signage, T-shirts and a car advertising the Youngs’ business, Super Tyre Guy is dressed in a blue costume with orange (or perhaps red) cape, shorts and boots, and sports a diamond-shaped chest emblem containing the letter “G.” (For “Guy,” maybe?) It’s difficult to argue that the character doesn’t look a lot like Superman.
But the Youngs, who only recently spent thousands of dollars on their businesses’ branding, insist they never intended to infringe on DC’s rights. “I have always loved superheroes,” Gene Young told the newspaper, “and we didn’t think of anything based off Superman itself. But we just thought of a superhero image, and that it was a strong and positive image to portray our business. That is how we do things in our local community.”
Although they’re somewhat surprised DC took notice of Super Tyre Guy, and realize they’ll have to spend even more money to make the necessary changes, the Youngs remain pragmatic about the situation.
“We have to redress him to get away from the case and also change the symbol on his chest,” Gene Young said. “It is better for us to totally redress him and get away from any kind of Superman features. […] It is a huge expense, but at the same time it has to be done and it is something we have to accept. I will just have to change more tires and sell more mags.”
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