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 DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?

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PhantomofDoom



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PostSubject: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:54 am

If anyone knows or has heard by now, DC will do a revamp of sorts concerning their titles. Jim Lee and Geoff Johns are going to update and modernize most DC characters. This means changing their costumes as well as story lines. ( although it looks like Aquaman will still have the same awful colored costume--?)

Regarding all this, there's been speculation this move is being made because of the litigations over Superman by Siegel and Schuster's heirs and the rights to the character.

That is possible but I think it is more about making the characters appealing to more audiences and doing away with a lot of the "cheesy" and trite appearances and stories of the characters. Personally I look forward to it. Even possible Superman and Wonder Woman will be a couple! Not many people like it but I do!

Just curious if anyone has been keeping tabs on the Superman issue? What do you think may happen? If Superman somehow becomes public domain, will that affect you in any way? Would you use the character? I don't know if any of the other characters and stories attached to Superman would be affected but I speculate they would. A BIG IF the litigations fall in favor of the heirs but its interesting to speculate.
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argosail



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:17 am

If DC still owned Superman entirely, he would not become public domain until the year 2033. Now that the Schuster estate owns at least part of him, I don't think he'll be public domain until at least 2068 (95 years after Schuster's death). In other words...not anytime soon.

Personally, I'm not terribly excited about attempts to revamp classic characters. They've tried this so many times before, and it lasts as long as the initial surge in sales...then people get bored with the revamp and realize that classic characters have longevity because of the icnoic nature of their traditional depictions. They did this with Marvel's Heroes Reborn storyline back in 96 and it was lame then. They have tried to change Superman, Captain America, Wolverine, The Hulk, and they gave Aquaman a hook and a beard...but it always goes back to the way it was. Give it 5-10 years, and all the revamps will be forgotten. Kids may want to see their characters look like sexy, brooding, meterosexual or emo teenagers (like something out of the Twilight movies) and enjoy seeing them act in morally ambiguous ways....but i still prefer my heroes to look strong and have strong convictions. I don' t like trendiness. If they want trendy characters, why not just create new ones?

I always liked Aquaman's color scheme...he is unique being the only orange character...
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PhantomofDoom



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:01 am

@Argosail: Thanks for the fill-in regarding Superman. I had no idea that if all these things were to happen it'd be that long before Superman possibly became Public Domain.

I only mention that because I'd seen some users on Comic Vine talk about Supes becoming PD if things fell through and it made me scratch my head.

I think the heirs would more than likely "shop" Superman around if all this litigation falls in their favor, or demand DC give them more money. While I understand that Schuster and Siegel initially were "cheated" out of money DC DID repay them a substantial amount much later. I think that the heirs, however, DO NOT have any entitlement to the money their grandfathers earned. They didn't create Superman; their grandfathers did! That's just my opinion.

Regarding DC's revamp, what I've seen hasn't been all that dramatic in terms of costume changes. I am in the minority but I am curious to see how this will play out. Heroes Reborn from Marvel was a disaster on many fronts because the approach was wrong. I don't think the approach here is. I don't foresee the characters being depicted as you describe.

Give Superman pants. That's all I ask! Ha Ha Ha! Well, sorry, but I HATE HATE HATE Aquaman's color scheme. I LIKE Aquaman. I also didn't like the whole harpoon hand, and the water hand thing.....WTF? I just think he needs to have "aqua" colors. The new Aqualad has aqua based colors on his costume, why not the main man?

It is too early to say I guess, but you know, DC has continually changed their stories and timelines over and over, so this after all may be nothing new, and I can agree about that. Yet I am curious to see this happen.

Thanks for the reply. Sorry this wasn't 100% PD topic but felt it qualified for at least some discussion as I was curious as to opinions.
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argosail



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:07 am

I think in the 80's Aquaman was given an "Ocean camoflage" suit with various shades of light blue and dark blue...it actually looked pretty cool, but they probably stopped using it because the orange one makes him stand out from blue backgrounds...

The constantly shifting DC timeline/reality was one reason i had difficulty getting into the comics...Marvel was always much more consistent about the history of their universe...I like consistency....
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PhantomofDoom



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:23 am

I think you're right about why DC didn't continue with Aquaman's temporary blue and white ocean wave style costume. Yes, I recall that one.

Don't know what color scheme would work per se, but I don't know, orange and green....um. yeah. Green and almost any color combo would work but just for me, I hate the orange and green thing. His "new" costume isn't much better, its gold and green. I guess that is slightly better. Ha!

Well, Marvel has actually had its share of time travel and alternate reality stories and characters. A LOT, but NOTHING compared to DC, that's certain!

Marvel, just off top of my head, Bishop, Cable, Rachel Summers, the Days of Future Past story arc, Hulk Future Imperfect, Old Man Logan, and the Ultimate line of Marvel are all time travel, alternate reality themed but again, you are very right, DC has the market on the multiple universe and time travel concept!

Which makes me think if all this DC will do will just be another "time burp" story. Like it happened, but it didn't really happen. Just another Earth 24X or something.

DC talk ( ha, name of a band), aside, I didn't realize that Dark Horse's GHOST is essentially based on the PD Ghost female comic book character. I'm a big fan of Dark Horse's Ghost, and I just found that out not long ago. Feel kind of silly about it, but hey, its an interesting tidbit to know.

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Vagrant



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:10 pm

I honestly wouldn't care about Superman becoming public domain, if he ever did. I mean, it looks like Human Torch, Namor, Captain Atom and Captain Marvel are all public domain and the only one of them I'd be interested in using is the Big Red Cheese. Superman is just so archetypical that I wouldn't want to mess around with him too much. I just don't really like the character all that much anyway.

I love Aquaman's orange and green, but then I do love Aquaman in general. I actually loved the bearded hook/magic-water-handed version the best. As for revamping the characters, there are some I'd like to see revamped, others not so much. Batman doesn't need any change at all, nor do most of the bigger heroes. I'd love to see Wonder Woman revamped to show more of her Grecian influence and less of the patriotic stuff that really makes no sense from an Amazon. Also I'd love to see the berserker rage aspect of her reintroduced.

The big thing about Marvel is that for the most part the alternate realities are actually completely separate and are just interesting What Ifs, which is exactly what Age of Apocalypse, Old Man Logan and Ultimate are, from what I recall. I'm a huge fan of alternate takes, but not when they blend with the main continuity. And of course, too much time travel makes everything ridiculous. I like DC characters more than Marvel characters, for the most part, but I like Marvel universe more than DC universe in the way stories are told and the history flows. If that makes any sense. Come to think of it, I'm not much of a fan of Marvel at all, but they do tell the stories well.
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PhantomofDoom



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:25 am

Sorry but I just didn't like the hand replacements for Aquaman. I like how he had his hand removed and the story but not the harpoon nor the water thing. I thought you said the same thing but I guess not. It just felt forced. It did make readers talk though so all in all I guess that is all that matters.

Well, I understand exactly what you're saying about Marvel and DC. I agree! I can recall far far more story lines from Marvel than I can DC. In fact I can even recall specific issues whereas with DC, not even close! Only thing of note to me for DC was the first Emerald Dawn and perhaps the Zero Hour stories. With those I am really concentrating on Green Lantern, just one character.

Really, for DC, the most significant stories for me were the Elseworlds tales. Most of the Batman ones like Red Rain, Crimson Mist, and naturally Kingdom Come. Yes, Watchmen but really that was Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' baby.

So many from Marvel I can list: Infinity Gauntlet, Secret Wars, Demon in a Bottle, House of M, Fall of the Mutants, 2099 books, The Death of Captain Marvel, Daredevil and Elektra, Death of Gwen Stacy, plenty more. So yes, definitely edge goes to Marvel for stories! DC just continues to milk the time travel and alternate reality train. I just used the Marvel characters as examples that they also do the same thing but nowhere to the degree that DC does, that is all.

Still--I am curious about the new direction.

Well, for Wonder Woman I don't mind her being patriotic, never did. I like it. Superman, I like the character but if he became Public Domain, I just think he'd be a cool "toy" for a lot of people. Until that train leaves the station so to speak when the use of his likeness gets overused. IF it happens, that is.

Namor is PD? Just certain stories? I really thought he was exclusive to Marvel. I know he was in Timely/Atlas prior to the name change for Marvel. Captain Marvel, well, I think DC just has that cornered, but I recall discussions here or elsewhere about his status. I know its questionable but if anyone tried using Captain Marvel, I know DC would put a stop to it quicker than you can say SHAZAM! DC did bring down Fawcett, or were partially responsible due to the litigation at the time. Also, superheroes fell out of favor for awhile when TV and Westerns became popular during the 1950's. Which sucks, I don't like how DC has handled Captain Marvel, but it depends on the writer.

Still, there are so many super hero and villain and side characters that are PD, so there's still a vast "playground" to work with.

Oh, wanted to say I like all you've done on your own site cataloging all the locations and not just characters that are PD, that helps.
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Vagrant



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:01 pm

PhantomofDoom wrote:
Namor is PD? Just certain stories? I really thought he was exclusive to Marvel. I know he was in Timely/Atlas prior to the name change for Marvel. Captain Marvel, well, I think DC just has that cornered, but I recall discussions here or elsewhere about his status. I know its questionable but if anyone tried using Captain Marvel, I know DC would put a stop to it quicker than you can say SHAZAM! DC did bring down Fawcett, or were partially responsible due to the litigation at the time. Also, superheroes fell out of favor for awhile when TV and Westerns became popular during the 1950's. Which sucks, I don't like how DC has handled Captain Marvel, but it depends on the writer.
It appears as if both the Human Torch and Namor actually showed up in Marvel Mystery Comics #1, and from the investigation I've done it appears that issue was never renewed, so technically this puts Human Torch and Namor into the public domain, though only what you can derive from their very first stories. Captain Marvel is definitely public domain, but the legal heft that DC would throw at anyone trying to use him would make it impossible to do so, even though it's perfectly legal. As long as they tie you up in spending lots of money to defend your right to use him, they'll win. They've got more money, after all.
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PhantomofDoom



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:26 pm

@Vagrant: Interesting! OK, it was probably mentioned here before regarding Captain Marvel but I simply forgot. I am surprised to know that. It sucks that no one could really attempt to make a comic or other material out of the Big Red Cheese but alas, DC owns the comic universe!

Namor and Human Torch, wow, I had no idea. I don't know if anyone would try to make a comic based off that first appearance/issue but it is still very interesting to know.

Thanks for all the info.
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argosail



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:01 am

I don't know if it's illogical for Wonder Woman to look patriotic. After all, the United States is a nation of immigrants and I always thought of it as Wonder Woman's way of showing her appreciation for her adopted nation. Even though they both look a little cheesy from a completely objective standpoint, I think the Superman and Wonder Woman costumes have become so iconic that they represent something far greater than the sum of their parts. They are bright and bold and communicate to me that these characters want people to know that yes, they are the good guys. They don't brood about the darkness within them, they aren't warriors out to kill...they are symbols of bold courage and passionate convictions, encouraging us to be better people, to take pride in our nation, in our community, in our creativity, in our individualism, and in our passion for leading the way into a brighter future. Sure, you could go the Greek route with wonder woman, but then, why not just use an actual greek character like Artemis...the real Diana? If you think the wonder woman costume is cheesy, you gotta think the same about the name "Wonder Woman"...by the time you updated her, there would be nothing really recgnizable left about the character...

I don't think I'd try to start a new Namor or Captain Marvel comic anytime soon. Even if they didn't try to sue you (which is super scary), you'd be directly competing with the books of companies with far greater resources. However, I don't think Marvel or DC would challenge you if you used those characters as ocassional guest stars in an original series. If you're not taking substantial money out of their pocket it wouldn't be worth it for them to risk exposure about the truth of these characters and many others besides. The free universe is an attempt to expose the truth anyway. Once the truth is out there and the floodgates open, the big companies won't have the resources to keep all the indy artists scared. That's why i think it is essential for us to present a united front. This is the beginning of our little support group and in time, we'll be able to use these characters without fear. For now we just need to spread the word until what we know becomes common knowledge , and the big companies are forced to accept the truth.
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bchat



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:06 am

I look at DC's upcoming "relaunch", paired with the fact that their digital comics will be released on the same day, to be a smart business move. DC is looking to attract new readers through their digital distribution system, and the best way to keep those new readers is to make sure they feel that they are reading the stories "from the beginning", not 25-70 years after the stories have already started.
I've seen several people compare what DC is doing now to what Marvel did with "Heroes Reborn", and I really don't understand why. "Reborn" was just a marketing stunt to help gain attention for Marvel's non-mutant heroes. From my point of view, Marvel had been extremely focused on their "X-titles" for years up to that point, to the extent that they were pretty much neglecting everything else (besides Spidey, of course). Bringing-in Jim Lee & Rob Liefeld was just a quick shot in the arm for Cap, Shellhead, the FF & Avengers. I fairly certain that early-on, Marvel made it clear that "Reborn" was only meant to last 12 issues, and wasn't meant to be perceived as a "reboot" in any way.

I've looked into Copyrights on Timely's early books too, and have come to the same conclusion as Vagrant has, that "Marvel Comics # 1" (it became Marvel MYSTERY Comics with issue 2) may not have been renewed. It's not 100% clear, though, as most of Timely's renewals that I've seen online carry the standard "Consult Copyright Office" notice and are hardly listed by individual issues. I also haven't made any trips to the Library of Congress to confirm the book's status. However, Namor first appeared in "Motion Picture Weekly Funnies # 1", and it doesn't seem that that particular book was renewed.

Regarding Superman, from what I understand, Siegel & Shuster's heirs would only own the Copyright on the character's 1st appearance in "Action Comics # 1", everything after that was/is considered "work for hire" and fully owned by DC Comics. I have no problem with S&S's heirs receiving money from DC. I know the heirs had nothing to do with the creation of the character, but had Siegel & Shuster self-published Superman and never given-up ownership, then their heirs would have inherited the character (same way someone inherits a house or a large sum of cash from a deceased relative when they pass away, or how Jack Kirby's kids own "Captain Victory" and other properties).

I've never had a preference between Marvel or DC, as I'm just as likely to read an Indy superhero comic as I would read a book from "The Big Two". I stopped reading Marvel comics years ago because I had had enough of storylines getting interrupted by tie-ins with whatever "Event" was going-on. The last Marvel book I got was "The Twelve", which kind of fell outside the company's main line of titles, so I had no worries about tie-in issues. Unfortunately, the series has been in limbo for the last several years, and I doubt I'll ever get to read the end of it. With DC, I pretty much only read their "Big Events", so how those stories interfere with the regular books doesn't matter to me. I did get a little burned-out with "Countdown" and haven't read too many DC books since then. With Indy titles, there are no "Events" to be concerned with, but the chance of a title being cancelled before a story is concluded, or the creator(s) getting a better paying job & abandoning their book after a short run is pretty high.
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PhantomofDoom



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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:14 am

@Argosail: Ummmmm.....you were the one who said you questioned whether Wonder Woman's portrayal as being patriotic was necessary, not me. I said I liked it, and I do recognize her "Amazonian" or Grecian roots.

I think an update to her costume isn't a bad thing but keep it at least somewhat similar to the one she sports. It is all subjective. I could live with it remaining the same. Regarding Superman, I just want him to wear some GD pants.

Yes I think a lot of DC's revamp has to do with the digital direct download thing, making it easier for new and younger comic book buyers who are "mobile device" and app savvy to also get their fix. How well this will do remains to be seen, but I think it will just be a small market at first.

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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:23 am

Haha...no, it was Vagrant who was talking about updating Wonder Woman...I was referrig to his comments...
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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:11 am

I get why Wonder Woman wears the costume she does, it just seems a bit unnecessary to me. In a revamp I'd rather see her "emissary from the Amazons" aspect played up more, and a key aspect of emphasizing the emissary aspect is the visual one. You don't have to alter her costume or history completely, but I'd definitely like to see it played with. After all, a small nation emerging for the first time and immediately having its emissary dancing round in patriotic American garb, in a modern political sphere, is pretty much likely to simply be seen as a dogsbody for the USA by many other countries, and as such it's really not the best idea for the Amazons to do such, from a more logical point of view. I'd really have her working more with the UN than just going to live in America. Leave the bracelets & tiara on her, the lasso as well maybe, and update the rest of the costume to be red and blue material and bronze armour components, and you have a pretty good modern WW in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: DC's "revamp" and will Superman possibly become Public Domain?   Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:21 am

Yeah, but is Wonder Woman really an emissary of the Amazons? My understading was that the Amazonian islands were invisible and secret and that Wonder Woman maintained that secret. Ithink Thymscaria is supposed to be magical and unknown to the rest of the world. Wonder Woman herself is essentially a magical creature...a golem as I understood her origin.
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