Comic Legends: Did DC Force Sufjan Stevens' Illinois Out of Stores?

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DC filed a cease and desist to get Sufjan Stevens' Illinois pulled from stores due to Superman appearing on the album cover.



In 2005, Sufjan Stevens released Illinois, his second "state concept album," namely an album where all the songs on the album are related to a specific state (following 2003's Michigan).

It's a really good album and garnered a ton of acclaim when it was released. Stevens also revealed that the whole "Doing a concept album for all 50 states" bit was a joke and he wasn't actually going to do it (it would be cool, though, right?).

In any event, Divya Srinivasan did the artwork for the album cover, which features some notable Illinois figures, including Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. O'Leary's Cow, the surprisingly frequent UFO sightings in the state and, of course, Superman (due to Metropolis, Illinois).

However, when the album was suddenly pulled from stores, people believed that DC had taken issue with the whole "unlicensed usage of their trademarked character" aspect of the cover.

That was not the case. As it turned out, it was lawyers from Stevens' own record label, Asthmatic Kitty, who decided to pull the records because they figured that DC eventually WOULD object to the usage. Instead, DC was very cool about it and allowed them to sell whatever copies that they had already printed so long as they pulled the depiction of Superman from FUTURE editions of the record cover.

Some balloon stickers covered up Superman on the vinyl releases...

I believe later copies just had nothing in that part of the cover.

So, all in all, everyone handled it very nicely and there was no big "to do" about it.

However, this DID lead to a funny change with the album for its 10th anniversary, which I will get to in a future legend (very, very soon)!

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Check back tomorrow for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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