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argosail

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PostSubject: Argosail of the Free Universe   Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:59 am

Well, I should probably start with an intro. My name is Jason and I am the founder of the Free Universe site. I am a published short fiction writer and an award winning short film maker. While I have no shortage of my own characters and story concepts, I think it would also be awesome to write stories about established characters. I got interested in comics when I was about 13, and my favorite thing to do with comics was write the next issue in my own head. I knew that the chances were very small of me ever becoming a writer for a big company like Marvel or DC, but I often though it would be cool to try and buy out some of the old, obscure forgotten properties like "The Red Knight" and "Eagle Force" and try to breathe new life into them, since they already had a history. When I found out about Dynamite's Project Superheroes and all the public domain superheroes out there, I was beside myself with happiness. I started the Free Universe site to try to further public awareness of these character and to encourage other artists to take advantage of them. I thought the best way to do that would be with a colorful website, with fresh, clean new images. My hope is that with enough artists using these characters, they will eventually become as well known as the characters of DC and Marvel.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the Free Universe site, let me know. We can also discuss any questions you have about what parts of the character profiles come from the comics and what parts just come from my head. I am going to be posting here to let everyone know about updates, as I realize there isn't currently a very good way for people to know about my updates without flipping through the site on a regular basis. Tomorrow, I will be posting a write up for the first "Faction" profile on the Free Universe: The Green Army of Voltor. Other team and organization profiles will be posted in the future.


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Yzz

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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:32 pm

Hey.

Since you're the owner of the Free Universe site, I'd just like to point out that John Carter and Barsoom are both trademarked, and all Lovecraft works from 1923 and later are a bit murky in terms of Public Domain (Though it seems alot of Lovecraft references get past the radar). Keep up the good work.

~~Yzz
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:47 pm

Actually, all of H.P. Lovecraft's works are 100% in the public domain. There is nothing murky about it. He died over 75 years ago, so anything he wrote is out of copyright. Same is true of his friend Robert E. Howard. Some claim that some of the works were corporately owned by the publishers, but there is no documentation supporting this. So you can use their characters, you just can't use info from spin off material created later by other people. When they talk about selling the rights to make a Conan movie, they are talking about trademark rights, or rights to later spin offs, such as the comics. But, the original source material is legally up for grabs.

John Carter, Tarzan, Conan, Cthulu, Sherlock Holmes, Zorro and many other character names are trademarked, but that does not mean that the characters are not in the public domain. Dynamite Comics probably has a legitimate trademark on Black Terror by now, but he's still public domain. Almost all of the public domain superheroes have names which are likely trademarked by one of the comic companies. It just means you can't confuse consumers by putting those names on the cover of a book or in an advertisement. You CAN use those names in the body of a work. So I can draw up a comic where John Carter, Tarzan, Conan, Cthulu, Sherlock Holmes and Zorro form a super team and they can call each other by name in the comic....just not on the cover. If you're wondering why Dynamite changed the names of heroes like Hydro-Man and Blue Beetle, it's not because they can't use those names, it's because they want to avoid conflict if they choose to do something which might breach trademark, such as create an action figure, or a limited series centered on the character with the conflicting name. This is why I endorse using public domain characters mainly as secondary characters. If you want to use them as primary characters, you will need to come up with creative ways to avoid using trademarked terms.


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:52 am

Quote :
If you want to use them as primary characters, you will need to come up with creative ways to avoid using trademarked terms.
Something that I've seen suggested is to use [publisher's/creator's name][hero's name].
For example, Fox Features' Blue Beetle or Richard E. Hughes' & Dan Gabrielson's Black Terror.
Of course, there still are some issues, like the Harvey estate having trademarked "Alfred Harvey's Black Cat", so...

~~Yzz
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:57 am

My favorite example of creative naming is "The REAL Ghostbusters." But the simultaneous existence of the (lame) Ghostbusters and "The REAL Ghostbusters" on TV demonstrates that the difference doesn't need to be huge, just plainly recognizable.


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:52 pm

Howdy. Love the fact this site exists! I also learned a few things by reading the posts here, and subsequently have been enlightened. Some items I suspected have now been verified, and one of those is the fact it's a good idea for a creator to put his/her take on any PD character by altering the name a bit, for example.

@Argosail: I'm still confused pertaining works by Robert E. Howard. Your information was helpful but honestly I am intimidated to using any of his characters although I strongly desire to do a Red Sonja project.

Are you currently working on any projects pertaining to any PD comic characters either in film or comic book form?

Personally I am strongly thinking of using some PD characters for 2 comic book projects and am hoping to get them going soon. I write, pencil and ink, but finances and health issues have prevented me from pursuing these until now. I also sell pin-up and comic art on Ebay.

I frequent Public Domain Superheroes frequently and will do the same here, so PLEASE keep this site active!

Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:48 pm

Hi Phantom, nice to meet you! I'm glad these boards have been helpful to you. I hope to keep my site and these boards active. My only hope is that an active community will to continue to grow here. I figure it's only a matter of time before talented individuals such as yourself begin to frequent these boards to discuss exciting new projects.

As far as Robert E. Howard's works, I can understand your trepidation. As long as you stick to the original stories, and avoid trademark infringement, you'll be fine. However, you can not use stuff from the comics, movies, tv shows, RPGs or Conan books that were not written by Howard, unless that same stuff was in the original books of Howard. And that is where you are going to have a problem with Red Sonja. Howard did create a Red Sonja character, but she is not the same character that you are familiar with. That Red Sonja (the one featured in the movie) comes from the Marvel comics. Also, keep in mind that the distinctive looks of characters like Conan, Red Sonja, and Thulsa Doom have mostly been established by the comics, movies and copyrighted paintings. Therefore, if you draw any of them, you will have to come up with your own look, based on the descriptions in the story text. That said, I would LOVE to see your version of the characters. I am going to try producing an open license visual model for Conan on the Free Universe, but he's still a ways down on my to-do list.

I am planning to produce several PD projects. I have been writing a superhero comic, but I may actually try animating my own drawings and make it a cartoon. I've done some short films and I am also thinking about trying to film a live-action version of Tara, The Pirate Queen. But shhhhh....there is a lot of pre-production to do, and it will be quite some time before I even start filming. If I get it going, it will be a VERY ambitious project.

Next up on The Free Universe will be Miss Masque and the Black Dragon. I've come to realize that I need to catch up on all the lovely female characters.


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:44 pm

@Argosail: Thanks for the welcome and all the info. IF I ever pursue anything pertaining to Howard, I will keep this in mind. I enjoy learning things like this, it is helpful.

Will you have a forum to showcase artwork by board members?

I am going to mention this board and promote it where I can, maybe we can get some more users on the site.
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:04 pm

Thank you for the interest and support Phantom.

You bring up a good point. I intended the "New Projects" section to be a place where people could share their work, and while I have a section for "Comics," I've neglected to put up a forum for people who just want to display galleries of their character art. Do you think I should change the Comics section to "Comics and Art Gallery" or should I make Art Gallery a separate forum?


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:45 am

I've not seen any posts for artwork of anyone's characters, and I want to see artwork of users' art that isn't necessarily PD related.

I don't know if it'd be problematic but maybe 2 categories. One for "Character Creation Art" and one for "Artist Showcase"? However I can see combining the two into one category. It's your call.
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:42 pm

Until we have more people posting on the board, I think one forum will be sufficient for the art gallery. The focus of the boards is PD and open source/freely licensed characters, but these boards are also primarily intended for artists and creators, so there's no reason to set limits on the kind of work that people share, especially if it is conducive to the kind of collaboration you have already offered. Therefore, one all-purpose "artists showcase" will keep navigation simple.

Can't wait to see your work, though I'll be computer-less this weekend. See you in a few days!


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:24 am

Yesterday I added Pat Patriot (renamed "Patriot"), as well as Miss Masque, Black Dragon and the alien race known as the Stonebacks. I also updated Green Sorceresses' abilities and I will be updating the Green Army of Voltor soon as well.


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:16 pm

I can already feel the monday blues coming on, so I've added Blue Bolt, Blue Beetle and the Shark!


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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:36 pm

Argosail: Where are you adding and updating these characters? Maybe I didn't read correctly. Are you drawing them, or writing them or updating them on PDSH Wiki?
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:50 am

Have you been to the Free Universe site? That is where I am updating the characters, mainly on the Heroes & Villains page. Go to:

http://universe.1free.ws/characters.html

The difference between the Free Universe site and PDSH wiki, is that I take more liberties in writing the Free Universe profiles, to fill in the gaps. I write and draw everything, and while I do not donate my images to the public domain, I do donate all text and character designs to the public domain.


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PostSubject: Free Universe site   Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:26 pm

Argosail: I have to admit I just assumed this forum site was the only one pertaining to the Free Universe. I did check out the site, pretty rad, love the character designs you have done, will check out some more in a bit. Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:31 am

Good to "meet" you, Argosail; I really like your site and am looking forward to the next update. If I could make one suggestion, under the Heroes/Villains, I think it might make sense to split them up (especially as the site gets bigger and has hundreds of characters).

Also, a few ideas for the atlas. Obviously, there are zillions of such places, but these 2 are pretty big in literary circles:
1) Ruritania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruritania) is the setting of The Prisoner of Zenda (and it's 2 lesser known sequels). It also inspired the works of George Barr McCutcheon, who wrote about:
2) Graustark (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graustark), setting for a series of novels featuring romantic court intrigue.

Both are fictional European monarchies and seem like they'd be great settings for superhero/adventure tales. I've been toying with the idea of one day sending Thesson to Ruritania in one of my stories (or having him wind up trying to stop an impending war between both nations).
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:12 pm

Thanks Bard...those are some cool settings. I look forward to seeing your Thesson stories. More site updates soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:36 pm

OKAY! I've had a bit of extra time recently, so it's time for a big new update to the Free Universe site! Just in time for Halloween, there are now profiles for a number of classic villains including: Marto! Mastermind! Lady Serpent and the Puzzler! Plus, I am introducing a fun new set of profiles for the villains of the "Tyrant Universe," an alternate dimension where all the heroes turned out bad. You can now read profiles for Blood Beetle, Deathdevil and Miss Marauder...the evil dopplegangers of Blue Beetle, Daredevil and Miss Masque.

There are a few new heroes as well, including Lash Lightning (simply called Lightning in the Free Universe) and a rather resilient old character named Plastic Man!

On the "Creatures" page, you can now read about the Zutarian Imps.

Hope you all enjoy!
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:57 pm

Hey, Argo, the link for Deathdevil is broken. It keeps taking me to XLsearch.org.

~~Yzz
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:04 pm

Thanks Yzz! I fixed it, so you should be able to see Deathdevil now. I swear, you capitalize one extra letter and things go nutty!

I've also added Phantom Lady, The Ray and Wildfire!
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PostSubject: good job   Sat Oct 30, 2010 9:34 pm

Hi,Argosail,
I Saw The additions you made to
the free universe site,
and they are awesome,
Keep up the good work.
Also,I Would Like to use
the public domain golden age characters
and the three tyrant universe characters
on your site in any stories i write and draw.
You Are the best.
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:58 am

Great job as usual, Argosail!

For the most part I've not only liked the work that you've done but also the subtle redesigns you've done to some of the characters (for instance, your version of Daredevil's belt makes MUCH more sense the the original). However, I don't really agree with the look you gave Phantom Lady, which is like a gothy "creature of the night." But, given the way that you describe her as a "dark creature of the night ... who haunts the seamy underbelly of the city," I can see why you took the tack you did.

BTW, I know there's another thread about renaming characters, but two altered names popped into my head for anyone who wants to use Phantom Lady without fear of reprisal from DC: Lady Phantasm or Phantasmagoria.

Happy Halloween, and I look forward to the next update!
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PostSubject: Next Update   Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:37 pm

GoldenBard wrote:
Great job as usual, Argosail!

For the most part I've not only liked the work that you've done but also the subtle redesigns you've done to some of the characters (for instance, your version of Daredevil's belt makes MUCH more sense the the original). However, I don't really agree with the look you gave Phantom Lady, which is like a gothy "creature of the night." But, given the way that you describe her as a "dark creature of the night ... who haunts the seamy underbelly of the city," I can see why you took the tack you did.

BTW, I know there's another thread about renaming characters, but two altered names popped into my head for anyone who wants to use Phantom Lady without fear of reprisal from DC: Lady Phantasm or Phantasmagoria.

Happy Halloween, and I look forward to the next update!
Yeah,I Can't wait for the next update either.
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PostSubject: Re: Argosail of the Free Universe   Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:32 am

I'm working on more updates, but the art takes a while to do.

Yeah, I agree that my version of Phantom Lady is a big departure. For the most part, I try to stay true to the golden age costumes, but I have to ask myself if those costumes really make sense, or how would someone redesign the character in a movie or a modern comic. One thing that bothered me about Phantom Lady's original costume is that she did not seem very "scary" for someone called "Phantom Lady." Quite the opposite in fact. People would call her "Pretty Lady." Plus, in the old comics, people like her boyfriend Don, could not tell that Sandra and the Phantom Lady were the same person. He must have been an idiot or something, because she didn't even change her hair. I figured that if someone wanted to keep their identity secret, and scare people, they would have to look very different in their hero identity. Of course, I'm not super fond of the goth look, but I think it gives her a little renewed relevance in today's world. Plus it totally separates her from any case of mistaken identity with DC's current versions of the character. So I thought, "what the heck, let's make her go totally goth." It certainly separates her from the other golden age character and gives her a very unique look, and makes our cast of characters a little more diverse.

I know a lot of people love the golden age characters just the way they are, and people are always free to use the golden age costumes, but since I am generating new art, I figure it doesn't hurt to try incorporating some interesting new ideas and costume variations that people can use as well.

For a new name, I would most likely go with "Lady Phantom" or "Lady Phantasm." Phantasmagoria is kinda wicked sounding, but is a bit too long, and maybe it's just my own brain that does this, but it contains an anargam for "orgasm" right in the middle. How about "Phantasma?"

Happy Halloween!
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