Comic Book-related lawsuits aren’t absurd, guys. Not when MILLIONS of dollars can be made thru them, especially now that Marvel has resurrected the Superhero movie.
I assume most of you never heard of the Captain Marvel case?
Some of you might remember Captain Marvel- he’s the kid who, by saying SHAZAM! transforms into an adult, Superman-like hero. Had his own show back in the 70’s.
Well, CM was created in 1940, two years after Superman, who was the first SUPERhero, and made comics the smash success they were back then. The resemblance between Supes and CM is no accident; there were LOTS of other superheroes inspired by him.
(Note, BTW, that Superman’s creators- a couple of Jewish guys named Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster- SOLD the character to National Periodical Publications (later known as DC Comics) and therefore earned NOTHING from the HUGE earnings the character has gotten thru the years. This proves how little people knew about copyrights back then. They ALMOST died in poverty, had not many Superman fans who grew up to be Comic Book people themselves, started a movement for DC to admit its moral debt to them.)
The CM comic sold pretty well too, and National took notice. They SUED Fawcett Comics, accusing them of having ripped off Superman! Which was absurd- other than superficial resemblances, the characters were TOTALLY different. Such a case would go nowhere TODAY. But, these kind of cases were NEW back then. Further, DC had more money than Fawcett to spend on litigation. After several years of trials, Fawcett gave up; it stopped publishing Captain Marvel- and went bankrupt.
The very name “Captain Marvel” was now up for grabs. Other comic-book companies used it without permission! (Again, that wouldn’t happen today.) One of them was MARVEL comics, who created their own Captain Marvel, who became one of their best heroes. They also were smart enough to COPYRIGHT the name.
And what of the original CM? Well, believe it or not, in the 70’s, it was bought by… DC COMICS! That’s right, the company that once tried to destroy the character for stealing Superman’s Thunder now published him! But note- since Marvel Comics has the rights to the name Captain Marvel, DC had to name its CM comics… SHAZAM!
(BTW, I hear there’s a SHAZAM movie in the works… I hope so!)