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 Lady Luck Jinxed?

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argosail

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PostSubject: Lady Luck Jinxed?   Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:07 am

Anyone know what the real skinny is on the "Lady Luck" character. Apparently, she was designed by Will Eisner for a comic that came bound within a newspaper. Apparently, the stories featured in Smash Comics are reprints of the comic from the newspaper. Now, PDSH Wiki has her as public domain, and the folks at DCM haven't removed her stories from Smash, but this info does make me question if she is truly PD. Did quality buy the rights to the stories or were they simply licensed. If they were licensed, did the paper renew the copyright? Or, like most Newspaper comic strips, were the copyrights retained by Eisner? The only thing that makes me doubt the latter is that Eisner only drew the first issue or two, so it was probably a work for hire.

Just wondering if anyone has definitive answers....
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GoldenBard

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PostSubject: Re: Lady Luck Jinxed?   Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:07 pm

Okay, this shouldn't be considered gospel, but this is my understanding of Lady Luck's history.

Eisner wanted a piece of the comics pie, and saw the newspapers as the way to go. He came up with the idea of a comic book insert for the newspapers, and created several characters that would appear in this insert: The Spirt, Mr. Mystic, and Lady Luck. My understanding is that he owned the characters and the material that appeared in this Sunday comic insert.

The Spirit, of course, has retained incredible popularity, so Eisner retained the rights to that character. However, Mr. Mystic and Lady Luck weren't nearly as popular, and Eisner has long ago given up on superheroes, preferring to use the comics medium for more down-to-earth stories. So, I can't say for sure that he let the rights on these other two characters lapse, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised.

Sorry if that's not much help...
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Lady Luck Jinxed?   Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:14 am

So you think Eisner owned the characters to begin with? Hmm...that makes them a little questionable to me. I'm always more comfortable with characters that were created as works for hire or at least bought by a company. I believe that published works still required renewal, even when privately owned, but privately owned works make me nervous because what if the Eisner estate could produce sketches or notes that made it clear Lady Luck existed before she was published? While the published works might be in the public domain, those unpublished works could be the basis of claims of ownership. Of course, it's a bit dubious if the Eisner estate could prove that the unpublished works predated the published ones, but the Segal family managed to do it. How these issues are resolved in court, or what kind of evidence needs to be presented, I don't know. But somehow, I imagine that if Quentin Tarantino made a Lady Luck movie that became a summer blockbuster and raked in $100 million, the Eisner estate might be motivated to get a slice of that pie. If they could prove ownership of the character, I think she'd be tied up until something like 2078.
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GoldenBard

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PostSubject: Re: Lady Luck Jinxed?   Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:58 am

argosail wrote:
If they could prove ownership of the character, I think she'd be tied up until something like 2078.

Well, that sounds kinky! ;=)

Seriously, I could be wrong, but the idea that Eisner created all the characters to sell as a package to the newspapers is something I've read in various places concerning the history of Eisner and the Spirit (who I've been a fan of like 4th grade). I'm crazy busy these days, but if I get a few free minutes I'll try to do a little research to verify what I've said.
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GoldenBard

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PostSubject: Re: Lady Luck Jinxed?   Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:46 am

From what I've been able to find, as I said, Lady Luck was created by Eisner for his newspaper insert, and then later reprinted by Quality.

I'm wondering now if Quality supposedly bought the rights to the character. I say that because DC, of course, supposedly (according to them, anyway) bought the rights to all the Quality characters, and when they do the relaunch next month, JLA is going to feature a new version of Lady Luck. Don't know how much she'll have in common with the classic character, though.
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kevinryanvt



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PostSubject: Re: Lady Luck Jinxed?   Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:28 am

What I've found on this is that Lady Luck DID originate in what is known as the Spirit Section Sunday newspaper supplements, done by Eisner. Eisner has made a claim that he "had an agreement" that if he left Iger (the publisher of the supplement), then all rights reverted to him. However, we have only Eisner's claim, with no supporting documentation to back it up. Today, the Eisner Estate is handled by Denis Kitchen, who licenses the rights to DC to reprint The Spirit.

However, I have been unable to find any renewals for The Spirit Supplement, or in fact, any appearances of the Spirit, which would make Lady Luck a firmly PD character. Clearly, Lady Luck and The Spirit were works made for hire and so methinks Eisner might have been engaging in wishful thinking.

K
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