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 The Trademarked Name Game

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Vagrant

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PostSubject: The Trademarked Name Game   Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:40 pm

Okay guys, as we all know, there are some characters that are in the Public Domain, but due to another version of the character or a similarly-named character being in current use we're unable to use their original names due to trademark and the like. Perfect examples are Blue Beetle and Daredevil.

One of the tings I enjoy most is seeing how authors work around this issue by renaming the characters. Daredevil has been known as Doubledare, Deth Defyin' Devil and Reddare in various comics, and these have become trademarked names for him. Blue Beetle is referred to casually as Big Blue within Project Superpowers as well, which is a nice way of using him.

So this thread is for people to brainstorm new related names for Public Domain characters, whether they be because the original name is trademarked or simply because you want a different but faithful name for a character. I thought perhaps we could build up a bit of a list of alternate names for a variety of characters with contentious or plain cheesy names.

Firstly, I'll start off with the two obvious ones mentioned, Daredevil and Blue Beetle. I've been wanting to use them in some creative works but whilst I intend to use their original names for their classic origins or in-jokes, I do want them to have different names. Daredevil is proving tough to rename, since he's already had a few iterations. So far the closest I've come to an acceptable name is Diadebul, which is an Aboriginal language corruption of the english Daredevil, as befitting his origin story.

Blue Beetle, on the other hand, I've come up with nothing for aside from the generic Blue Bug and the fairly horrible Azure Arthropod. I'm also concerned by Scarab and Captain Flash, since the former is generic and the latter just sounds godawful cheese. A thought for combining Scarab and Blue Beetle results in the so called Sapphire Scarab, as well.
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PostSubject: Blue Beetle and Daredevil   Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:59 am

Vagrant: The thing with Daredevil, Erik Larsen used the exact same character's image (albeit Larsen's version) and name of "Daredevil" in a Savage Dragon comic awhile ago. He made no apologies for it and I don't believe he received any repercussions from anyone anywhere. I could be wrong but I recall reading that bit. I think the whole contention of Daredevil is the intimidation factor by Marvel. They claim to have the name trademarked, right, but it's only applicable towards THEIR original character, Matt Murdock. They can't possibly own the name as a whole, it's BS. I say use Daredevil. Seriously. This is my contention surrounding Daredevil, and I think the other comic companies who've used the character haven't changed his name due to legal issues--they want to put their own stamp on it so no one else can try and use it from THEIR comics.

Just going a bit further, though, Blue Beetle has always been contentious, just like Phantom Lady. Some of the earlier appearances were with other companies then the character "migrated" to other companies, having been bought by the subsequent comic publishers or the companies simply changed names. THEN, DC bought out Charlton, etc. which at that time claimed ownership of BB. HOWEVER, there is still contention regarding this, because some are saying no proof exists of the supposed buy out of Charlton by DC. I'd read that Charlton simply went under, and DC swooped in and started using the assorted left over characters. It's confusing and I'm not trying to confuse. Maybe someone has better info than I do regarding the topics. I WANT to say BB is PD but as he's been associated with DC for so long, however, it's just way too contentious, and I would just avoid it.

Just to add, AC Publishing also did a version of Daredevil called "RedDevil". They also reprinted Blue Beetle's earlier stories.

So, onto the names. I don't think your choices are bad by any means. They are creative. Don't knock yourself, they are good, I for one like them.

Scarabs, beetles, and scorpions are names that are somewhat synonymous for the same classification of arachnid. I THINK they classify as arachnids. Regardless, I would go back to the old PD name of Scarab and twist that one around. There are also plenty of Spider characters you can work with. Who's to say you can't use some variation of Beetle? Make it your own. Provided it doesn't resemble the Golden Age BB, you can create what you want.

Take two or more PD names and add them together. "Plasma Scarab". Its purposely stupid but its just an example.

These are YOUR ideas. However, I hope this longwinded input helps.
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PostSubject: Just to add   Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:01 pm

Regarding Blue Beetle, a lot of it also has to do with the fact the costume never really changed. The names of the characters did, but not the costume, and that's where there are additional problems.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:32 pm

Phantom,

Actually, you are way off. First of all, I think you are confusing trademark and copyright a little bit. Those are two totally different things, and pretty much unrelated. Something can be copyrighted, but not trademarked, and something can be trademarked and not copyrighted. In terms of copyright, Blue Beetle is DEFINITELY in the public domain. The current DC version of Blue Beetle looks nothing like the original, and shares nothing in common with him, except the name. However, even if DC was still producing comics with the original Dan Garret character, it would have no effect on the public domain status of Blue Beetle. As long as the original Blue Beetle stories are PD, then you can legally create derivative stories. And since the name Blue Beetle was used in those stories, you can use it in your stories. Bottom line. You may NOT put the name Blue Beetle on the cover of a comic, even if it's about a green martian woman in an orange costume having romantic misadventures.

I think what you saw with Larsen's comic, is the name Daredevil was used within the story. That's legal, though most companies prefer to avoid potential Marvel harassment by simply changing the character's name. However, Marvel's claim to the Daredevil trademark is VERY real, and you'd be sued very quickly if you tried to advertise a character named Daredevil on the cover of a comic. Marvel is legally obligated to sue, or they would loose their trademark. You can not currently make a comic, movie or action figure named Daredevil, regardless of what it looks like. The fact that there is a pre-existing PD character named Daredevil does not change anything. Trademark is about protecting CURRENT branding efforts. Marvel's Daredevil is a current brand, and there can only be one product with a given name per industry. DC's trademark on Blue Beetle has less to do with history, then the fact that it is a current brand.

Vagrant,

Part of the problem with coming up with a list, is that eventually someone can scoop up the name and trademark it. But I think this is a worthy effort.

I like the research that went into Diadebul. It sounds awesome, but it sounds a little more like something out of a fantasy novel than a comic. I'd try to keep the names in English if possible. And I would try to use at least one of the words from the original name like Blue or Beetle, or Dare or Devil. That way there is more of a direct association.

I always thought a good parody name for DD would be, "Double-Red-Dare-Defying Devil!"

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PostSubject: names   Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:08 pm

Argosail,

Here's the deal, I will plead SOME unfamiliarity with the Blue Beetle case, but it's been my impression that Dan Garrett as Blue Beetle is PD while Ted Kord as BB is not nor any subsequent incarnations of that character as represented by DC. I will admit I may have gotten the terms copyright and trademarked slightly mixed up but I do know the difference.

You've mentioned several times that some character names can't be used on a comic book cover. Is there a link , article, or book explaining this someplace? I am very curious about it.

Is there any type of law stating that "there can only be one product with a given name per industry."? I disagree with that simply because Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse all have characters with the exact same names. It's not about the hero names, per se, but the image, civilian identity, and stories associated with the character.

I think what a lot of this is the ASSUMPTION by readers and potential creators like ourselves that we "can't use" certain names. It's a fallicy promoted by the comic book companies. Here's the deal: I CAN'T use the name Daredevil/Matt Murdock and likeness of the Marvel comic book character in any of his costume designs in any way. THAT is trademarked. However, Marvel can't claim ownership to the very name "Daredevil". It is after all a generic term, and slang at that, and my contention is that it is open for use by anyone anywhere. This is my opinion. I could be wrong but I don't think we should live in fear that a comic book company is going to pursue us for using a name. F lawyers. IF I used the likeness of Daredevil as represented by Marvel, then, Hell yes, I agree. Pardon my language.

Regarding Erik Larsen, I have to be honest as I usually am that I did NOT see the cover to the Savage Dragon comic in question. All I saw was a panel of the Gleason Daredevil as rendered by Larsen along with Savage Dragon.
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Vagrant

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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:32 pm

Actually, you can use the names of a trademarked character, as long as there's no copyright on that name and you do not use the trademarked item to promote or advertise your product. Trademark is about brand recognition, and applies for before and during purchase. Thus anything on the cover of a magazine or comic must obey trademark, as must anything in any promotional material, so no trademarked names could be mentioned in such things as trailers or posters. However, once you are beyond the 'hook' stage of the product you are free to use a name or image that has been trademarked by another company, as long as you're not violating copyright.

So essentially, I would be free to use Blue Beetle and Daredevil as names for superheroes in a comic, that's no issue, as long as the names Blue Beetle and Daredevil don't appear on any promotional material. Savage Dragon is a good example, as it has been using the character Daredevil and calling him Daredevil, but hasn't been challenged by Marvel because it's never been used in promotional material.

The reason I would want to change up the names is if I wanted to start indie comics/stories/artsales/etc based on these characters and wanted to actually promote said work. And also because I actually really like the idea of changing up names for some older controversial characters.
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PostSubject: Trademarked names   Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:47 am

Here's something interesting. Looks like AC Publishing "got away" with the very topic we're talking about. Looks like the very name of BlueBeetle on the cover, though, admittedly, the lettering is done in a way to make the use of the word questionable. Also looks like both versions of Blue Beetle on the cover. Interesting.


[img][/img]








I will concede---albeit with reservation--that Marvel may have the stranglehold on the term "Daredevil", but I think anyone who wants to use the Gleason Daredevil which is PD SHOULD also use the name. It's just that the comic book companies WHO HAVE used this image and character have changed the name not just due to any potential lawsuits but because they wanted to make the character their own! They managed to both cover their behinds and to make the versions they created their own.



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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:58 am

PhantomofDoom wrote:
Here's something interesting. Looks like AC Publishing "got away" with the very topic we're talking about. Looks like the very name of BlueBeetle on the cover, though, admittedly, the lettering is done in a way to make the use of the word questionable. Also looks like both versions of Blue Beetle on the cover. Interesting.


[img][/img]

After Charlton closed (and was thus not enforcing its legal rights) AC comics ran with alot of the characters, then DC bought the rights from Charlton and began enforcing their legal rights via lawsuit.
AC then fell back to the old pastiche route, replacing Blue Beetle with Scarlet Scorpion and Phantom Lady with Blue Bulleteer, etc.

~~Yzz
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argosail

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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:30 am

Phantom, I think you're still confusing trademark and copyright laws. Let me put it to you another way. "Apple" is a "generic" term right? Yet Apple computers has trademarked it. You can NOT make another computer and call it an Apple. That would create consumer confusion. You would think you were getting a Steve Jobs machine, when in fact, you are getting the piece of crap computer that I put together in my mom's basement.

Same with comic characters. Marvel has a legal hold on the name Daredevil. If you create another comic called "Daredevil" then consumers might be confused and think it's a Marvel product. It doesn't matter if you show the image of the Golden Age Daredevil, just like it doesn't matter if my computer has Apple written on it in crayon. The name Daredevil is legally owned by Marvel Comics, at least as far as comics and movies are concerned. You can not use that name on a cover or ad, no matter what. You will get sued and Marvel will win, guaranteed. It's not an empty threat. Trademarks last forever as long as they are actively defended, and up to five years after they were last actively used. So, until 5 years after Marvel stops publishing anything related to Daredevil, you can't put that name on the cover of a comic.

As far as Marvel and DC having characters with the same name, that's okay. Within the comics, they can have any name they want. Marvel could even use the term superman within a comic, as long as it was done in a way that didn't violate copyright. They just can't put that name on the cover. PERFECT EXAMPLE: Marvel and DC both own characters named Captain Marvel. But Marvel owns the trademark. That is why they can produce a comic named "Captain Marvel" and DC has to settle for "The Power of SHAZAM!"

By the way, DC owns their own version of Dan Garrett too. Their version was an archeologist who found a mystical scarab or something. The PD character is Dan Garret, a police officer, who takes a super pill. But that all has to do with copyright. I don't know how AC got around the copyright issue of using Ted Kord on their cover, but I don't think they could get away with it again. I think Yzz is saying that Ted was created by Charlton, before DC laid claim to him. I don't know the history.

So, all that said, Vagrant basically just wants a list of alternate names that people could market on the cover, where you would still know what character is being described. But if you don't care about the cover, you can use the names Daredevil or Blue Beetle within any comic story you wish. For copyright reasons, they just have to be distinct from the Marvel and DC versions.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:36 am

AC Comics & Blue Beetle - If you read that particular comic, AC was pretty clear about what was going-on with their usage of the character: They had a deal with Charlton (that comic was published in 1983, Charlton shut-down in '86). Unfortunately for them, Charlton sold BB and other characters to DC at the time the Americomics was being produced, so AC wasn't able to do much more with Blue Beetle & The Rest.

While the original Fox version of the Blue Beetle is commonly known to be Public Domain, it also seems that the Charlton version (drawn by Ditko) may be as well, as the comics Charlton published in the 1950s & 60s do not seem to have valid Copyright Notices, and therefore would not be under Copyright protection.

Vagrant wrote:
Actually, you can use the names of a trademarked character, as long as there's no copyright on that name and you do not use the trademarked item to promote or advertise your product.

You're kind of right here.

Copyrights have no effects on a character's name, which is why Marvel & DC (and others), in some cases, have characters with identical names, for example: Sandman and Captain Marvel, to name the most prominent two. But as long as one company holds the Trademark to any given name, only that company can publish a comic with that specific name in the title. For instance, Marvel holds the TM on "Captain Marvel", so DC has to publish "We Wish We Didn't Have to Call This Comic Shazam, Even Though We Call The Character Captain Marvel on The Inside".

However, there is an allowance for "Trademark Infringement", and that's when infringing on the name is essential in identifying the product being sold ("Fair Use"). An example would be someone publishing a collection of Public Domain Golden Age Blue Beetle stories, where there is the need to put "Blue Beetle" on the cover so that potential customers can know what they're buying. Another example would be the Superman cartoons from the Fleischer Studios that have been released on DVD countless times by everyone BUT DC Comics. Without the apparent "Trademark Infringement", nobody would know what the DVDs were all about and wouldn't buy them.

PhantomofDoom wrote:
Argosail,
Is there any type of law stating that "there can only be one product with a given name per industry."? I disagree with that simply because Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse all have characters with the exact same names. It's not about the hero names, per se, but the image, civilian identity, and stories associated with the character.

That's what Trademark Law is all about. It gives a company the exclusive right to produce material branded with a particular name, in order to reduce the possibility that other companies can come along, creating inferior products & causing confusion amoung consumers. When someone buys a "Spider-Man" comic, Dell computer or Timex watch, consumers can expect a certain level of quality because they know that only one company produces those products.

Again, "characters" are not Trademarks, as they would fall under Copyright Protection, and the issue of TM Infringement would only come into play if two companies tried producing product utitlizing the same or similar names. Marvel's "Plasmer" vs Defiant's "Plasm", for example, was a TM dispute. Marvel's case was a little weak, but they had the resources (money) available to tie-up Defiant long enough to hurt Defiant's business. At the end of the day, Defiant changed the name of their comic to "Warriors of Plasm" and that was enough for the dispute to end ... but not before it put a severe dent in Defiant's finances.

Whoops! Didn't mean to ramble like I did.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:07 pm

No, that was excellent, concise and very informative.
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PostSubject: Trademark   Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:53 pm

Argosail:

What I am saying is my opinion, perhaps that's what I need to say. I think a person should have the "heuvos rancheros" and use the name Daredevil using Gleason's version JUST to poke at Marvel. Why? Due to the fact it irks me that Marvel would try to claim ownership to the very name "Daredevil". Sorry, but that's just my contention. I am being a "Daredevil's advocate" if you will. Ha. (down with satan) Evil or Very Mad

I understand all the comments being made, I am not incompetent nor failing to comprehend the distinction between trademark and copyright.

I do appreciate the illustrative answers as these may possibly help other forum users.

I know this topic was started by Vagrant to seek out alternative names for Daredevil and Blue Beetle, and I do apologize for detracting from it. I also DO understand why he wants to seek alternative names, I knew that from the very start. I digressed quite a bit because I have it in my head I just wish Marvel would let the names of Daredevil--and as you point out, Argosail--Captain Marvel, go. It irks me to no end that DC "can't use Captain Marvel", at least on the covers.

Heck, I recall one issue of JSA where Superman shows up and refers to Captain Marvel as "Marvel" and "The Captain". WTH? This is inside the comic, part of the story. Oh, that irked to me to no end. (formerly Fawcett's) DC's Captain Marvel appeared long, long before Marvel Comics' "Captain Mar-Vell" and their other "Captain Marvel" AKA "Photon". I know, Marvel Comics beat DC to the punch and I think the whole issue between Marvel and DC regarding usage of the name is ASININE.

The deal is, I think the lawyers have managed to ruin everyone's parade with issues about names and copyrights and trademarks. Some things I can agree with and understand, though, but it can be frustrating when you know certain details.

@bchat & Yzz: Thanks for all the info pertaining AC and the usage of Blue Beetle. I do know the story of Phantom Lady to Blue Bulleteer to Nightveil. All the other details pertaining to Blue Beetle though I didn't, so that helps.

I've droned on long enough but I just hope no one is under the impression I am failing to grasp the distinction between copyright and trademark and the exact usage of either concept.

Like I said, this is a bit more about my irritation and frustration that some names and likenesses aren't really "PD" when I THINK they should be, despite any companies claiming otherwise.

A fun topic, and again, I apologize to Vagrant for detracting from his original post.

I have some name possibilities for you:

"Devil-Dare", "Devil of Death", "Power Devil".

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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:41 pm

Actually, your names have inspired me. A nice simple Deathdevil would be good enough, and I'm surprised it hasn't been used yet, to be honest. Though you could just call him CHALLENGEDEMON.

As for Blue Beetle, I might just use the title "Azure Adventures of Dan Garret" and just leave him as Blue Beetle in the main part.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:53 pm

I apologize to Vagrant as well for hijaking his thread. I had it in my mind that this would be a good public discussion for newbies who come across it. Copyright and trademark laws can be confusing, and even if you understand them Phantom, there's lot of folks who don't. My ex-girlfriend was top of her class in law school and I stumped her with some of my questions about copyright law. I agree with you Phantom, some of the laws on these things are just ridiculous and a little counter-intuitive. My point in creating the Free Universe site and supporting Public Domain Super Heroes, is that I want people to be aware of the limits of these laws, so the big companies can't intimidate them. Intellectual property laws are very important to artists if they ever want to make money off their art, but there is a point when these companies just soak up intellectual real estate and it becomes counter productive to artistic expression. So I hope these sites help people find the free real estate they are entitled to.

I like Devil-Dare. Brilliant in its simplicity, and a little bit of a middle finger to the man.

Vagrant, just to let you know, in a few weeks, I am going to be introducing a new set of characters on The Free Universe. They are re-colored versions of some of the heroes I've already done, from the "Tyrant Universe." The Tyrant (evil doppelganger) version of Daredevil is going to be....you guessed it...Deathdevil. This version deserves the name, because he decapitates people with his bladed boomerang. I think that name's too dark for a hero. I will also be doing Blue Beetle and his evil doppelganger Blood Beetle (who is, of course, red).

I like the Azure Adventures name. I have also suggested to someone "The Beetle's Revenge" and you could also use something like "Tales of the Beetle" or "The Beetle's Lair" or something like that. Hmm...how about Brother Beetle? Kinda silly, but maybe useful.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:49 am

I like the idea behind this thread, so I did a little research. Here's some lists I came up with to get the ball rolling.

LIST ONE - Alternate names that have been used for some PD character remakes in modern comics:
Black Terror – The Terror
Blue Beetle – Big Blue, Human Fly (according the wiki, a cover-only redraw of BB), Scarlet Scorpion
Blue Lady – Midnight Blue (according to Wikipedia. I thought there were enough differences between Centaur’s Blue Lady and Malibu’s Midnight Blue to consider them different characters)
Cat-Man – Cat, Man-Cat
Daredevil – Death-Defying ‘Devil, Deathdevil, Double Dare, RedDevil, Reddare, Triple Dare
Doc Strange – Doc, Tom Strange
The Eagle – Blue Eagle, Burning Eagle
The Face – Mr. Face
Fantom of the Fair/Fantoman – Gravestone
The Ghost – Green Ghost
Hydroman – Hydro
Man O’War – Man of War
Marvel Man – Miracle Man, Mystic Man
Masked Marvel – Nightmask
Miss Mask – Ms. Masque, Masquerade
Miss Victory – Ms. Victory
Phantom Lady – Blue Bulleteer, Nightveil
The Raven – Mr. Raven
The Shark – Thresher
Unknown Soldier – Soldier Unknown
Yellowjacket – Jack

LIST TWO - PD pulp characters who were revamped for the comics:
The Black Bat – The Mask
Captain Future – Major Mars
The Moon Man – The Raven
Secret Agent X – X the Phantom Fed

LIST THREE - Suggestions for alternate names:
Blue Beetle – Azure Arthropod, Azure Beetle (I'm leaning toward this one), Blue Bug, Brother Beetle, Cerulean Scarab, Sapphire Scarab,
Daredevil – Diadebul, Devil-Dare, Devil of Death, Power Devil, Risk Devil, Thrill Devil (This is the one I'd use)
Phantom Lady – Lady Phantom, Lady Phantasm (My fav; the one I'd use), Miss Phantom, Phantasmagoria, Phantom Maid

Some general ideas:
Concerning Blue Beetle, it occurred to me that, as much as I like alliteration, it's not absolutely necessary. There are other possibilities; check thesaurus.com for "blue" and "beetle" and combine words from these lists!
For Daredevil, again, I checked the thesaurus. The one that really struck me was "thrill-seeker," which is how I came up with "Thrill Devil."
Just juggling the words and finding synonyms and similar words gave the list for Phantom Lady.
In Project Superpowers, they have a tendency to just stick the word "Mr." in front of simple names, which works well. It seems to me that this could also be done with "Miss," "Doctor," "Captain," or other, similar titles.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:39 pm

GoldenBard wrote:

LIST ONE - Alternate names that have been used for some PD character remakes in modern comics:
Blue Beetle – Big Blue, Human Fly (according the wiki, a cover-only redraw of BB), Scarlet Scorpion
Dynamite's Modern Day version of Blue Beetle is called Scarab.

Quote :

Blue Lady – Midnight Blue (according to Wikipedia. I thought there were enough differences between Centaur’s Blue Lady and Malibu’s Midnight Blue to consider them different characters)
That's what the Public Domain is all about: taking an idea or character and running with it, keeping what you like and changing whatever you want to change. The creators of The Protectors' Universe were pretty open about the fact that the majority of characters they started with were based on the old "Centaur Heroes". Speaking of the Centaur characters, you could add ...

Sparkler (male) - Arc (female)
Air Man - Airman
Amazing Man - The Green Mist was used not only during his original Golden Age run, but Marvel used the name in "The Immortal Iron Fist" series.

And speaking of Marvel ...
Dr Nemesis - Dr Death (from 1993's "The Invaders" mini-series)

Quote :

Fantom of the Fair/Fantoman – Gravestone
It's not much of a change, but DC Comics had "Phantom of The Fair" who appeared in Secret Origins volume 2 number 7 (1986), All-Star Squadron 65 (1987) and Sandman Mystery Theater 41-44 (1996). The character has also been referred to as simply "Fantom", both within his original Golden Age stories as well as at least one time during Malibu's "Protectors" series.

Quote :

Man O’War – Man of War
Did you accidentally flip these? The original version of the character was named "Man of War" as was the Malibu version.

Quote :
The Shark – Thresher
In Malibu Sun # 21, which promoted the (at the time) upcoming "Airman" one-shot, Thresher is referred to as both "Mako" and "Shark" but not Thresher, which tells me that Malibu hadn't really settled on a name for the character prior to publishing "Airman # 1".
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:50 pm

Thanks for the info, bchat!

Actually, Dynamite calls "Blue Beetle" "Big Blue." Their Scarab is a sort-of, tangentially related updating of the original Scarab (the story they gave is that this guy found the original character's magic scarab, but it wouldn't work for anyone but the original owner. However, he sold it for a small fortune that he used to finance a technology start-up company that made him rich. Then, inspired by his original find, he used his company's technology to build a high-tech suit of armor with a scarab feel).

I hadn't realized that Maiibu's Arc was meant to be an update of Sparkler, but now that you say that, it makes perfect sense. I missed Air-Man/Airman because, I admit, I goofed; I forgot that one was hyphenated an one wasn't! I had also forgotten about DC's use of Phantom of the Fair. And I vaguely remember hearing about Dr. Nemesis/Dr. Death, but I don't really read Marvel books, so it slipped my mind. In any case, I'll add all these to my list and maybe post an updated version soon...

As for Blue Lady/Midnight Blue, it might be interesting to start a new thread to discuss when a character stops being a revamp of a PD character and starts being something new. For instance, there are quite a few differences between Miss Mask and Dynamite's Masquerade. However, they are also similar enough that you can look at the new character and say, "Oh, she's based on Miss Mask!" In the case of Blue Lady/Midnight Blue, however, about all they seemed to have in common is that parts of their costumes were blue! One was a blond, the other a brunette. One was a writer, the other a government agent. One got her powers from a magic ring, the other from high-tech armor & government training. It really seems that any similarities between the two were coincidental!

I felt the same way about Alan Moore's Terra Obscura version of The Woman in Red. The original was a police woman who donned a mask and fought crime with her trusty 45s. The new one was a singer who had a mystic ruby that not only gave her generic super powers (flight, super strength, energy blasts), but also permanently dyed her skin red. Can you really say Moore's character was an update of the original? If I create a futuristic cyborg private eye and name him "Dracula," am I really using Bram Stoker's public domain character? Not that it really makes much difference if your version of the character fits into your story; I'm just curious what others thought about this. But maybe it's just me... I sometimes get fascinated by truly insignificant nonsense!
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:31 am

GoldenBard wrote:
Thanks for the info, bchat!

Actually, Dynamite calls "Blue Beetle" "Big Blue." Their Scarab is a sort-of, tangentially related updating of the original Scarab (the story they gave is that this guy found the original character's magic scarab, but it wouldn't work for anyone but the original owner. However, he sold it for a small fortune that he used to finance a technology start-up company that made him rich. Then, inspired by his original find, he used his company's technology to build a high-tech suit of armor with a scarab feel).

I've seen a lot of people come to the conclusion that DE's Scarab was based on the Nedor character, but I don't agree. The original GA Scarab has not made any appearances in "Project Superpowers" while the Fox Blue Beetle has (several times). DE's Scarab is not only blue but very bug-like in appearance. I would assume that had Ross & friends intended their Scarab to be an updated version of the Nedor hero, he would be more "Egyptian Pharoah" in appearance, rather than looking more like the Blue Beetle Ross drew in his "Kingdom Come" series. Ross has kept the updated versions of these Public Domain heroes very close in appearance to how they originally appear, so it doesn't make sense to me why DE's Scarab would be the only one that was a huge departure.

Quote :
I hadn't realized that Maiibu's Arc was meant to be an update of Sparkler, but now that you say that, it makes perfect sense.

As for Blue Lady/Midnight Blue, it might be interesting to start a new thread to discuss when a character stops being a revamp of a PD character and starts being something new. For instance, there are quite a few differences between Miss Mask and Dynamite's Masquerade. However, they are also similar enough that you can look at the new character and say, "Oh, she's based on Miss Mask!" In the case of Blue Lady/Midnight Blue, however, about all they seemed to have in common is that parts of their costumes were blue! One was a blond, the other a brunette. One was a writer, the other a government agent. One got her powers from a magic ring, the other from high-tech armor & government training. It really seems that any similarities between the two were coincidental!

Everything I've ever read about Malibu's Protectors mentioned that the team was based on the Centaur heroes. Even Widowmaker is based on a Centaur character, although none of the creators involved seem to remember which one (I'ld venture a guess that it was Marksman). Other fans have said that Aura was an updated Rainbow, but to me, that's a huge stretch even though I can see it ... if I squint a little.

I don't think Malibu was as concerned about sticking close to the original versions as other publishers have been. I believe, from what I've read here-and-there, that Chris Ulm saw that the characters were "fair game" and decided to use them. Rather than keep them as they were, Malibu probably said back in 1992 "How can make these characters work for today's audience?" It's obvious that Malibu wasn't interested in doing strict versions of the original characters, just look at their versions of The Great Question, The Eye, Iron Skull and The Ferret, for example (not to mention Thresher/Shark). In the case of Midnight Blue, I'm convinced that Blue Lady was a spring-board for the newer character, and Malibu just ran with it to create something unique.

Quote :
I missed Air-Man/Airman because, I admit, I goofed; I forgot that one was hyphenated an one wasn't!

It's not much of a difference and it's easily over-looked.

Quote :
I had also forgotten about DC's use of Phantom of the Fair. And I vaguely remember hearing about Dr. Nemesis/Dr. Death, but I don't really read Marvel books, so it slipped my mind. In any case, I'll add all these to my list and maybe post an updated version soon...

Apparently, Roy Thomas had some more ideas for Phantom of The Fair, but DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" pretty much killed the "All-Star Squadron" series, so he never got the chance to do what he wanted to do with him.

The '93 "Invaders" was fun to read mostly because of the Golden Age characters that popped-up (Strongman, Volton, Spider Queen and The Human Meteor, along with Dr "Death").
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:34 am

bchat wrote:
I've seen a lot of people come to the conclusion that DE's Scarab was based on the Nedor character, but I don't agree. The original GA Scarab has not made any appearances in "Project Superpowers" while the Fox Blue Beetle has (several times). DE's Scarab is not only blue but very bug-like in appearance. I would assume that had Ross & friends intended their Scarab to be an updated version of the Nedor hero, he would be more "Egyptian Pharoah" in appearance, rather than looking more like the Blue Beetle Ross drew in his "Kingdom Come" series. Ross has kept the updated versions of these Public Domain heroes very close in appearance to how they originally appear, so it doesn't make sense to me why DE's Scarab would be the only one that was a huge departure.

Maybe Ross liked the design of his Kingdom Come Blue Beetle enough that he wanted to use in Project: Superpowers. But the 2-page origin story in the back of one issue (I can't lay my hand on it to tell you which one), gave the origin I cited, where the suit of armor was built of technology funded by the sale of Peter Ward's ring. They have yet to say what happened to Peter, but I assume they'll explore that at some point. In any case, they made it clear that the new Scarab is at least the spiritual successor of the GA character. His real name is Amon Khadul, so I think he's Egyptian, connecting him to the pharaohs. farao Given what they did to the American Crusader, I think they wanted diversity in the group. As Argosail pointed out, GA heroes tended to be a bunch of White guys in tights...

Quote :
Everything I've ever read about Malibu's Protectors mentioned that the team was based on the Centaur heroes. ... In the case of Midnight Blue, I'm convinced that Blue Lady was a spring-board for the newer character, and Malibu just ran with it to create something unique.

I'll give you that one. As much as I loved The Protectors, I haven't read the books since they were originally published. I knew that the Protectors, themselves, were based on older characters (I didn't even realize that they were PD; I just thought Malibu bought the rights for a song), but didn't know that the other characters in the book were. But I can see why one would use the name of a PD character as a launching point to create a new character. And I can see why one would take a PD character and give him a new name (that's what this thread is supposed to be about, but we keep going off on tangents Wink ). I just don't see the logic in taking a PD character, changing the name, then changing everything else, and then saying, "He's based on a Golden Age character!" At that point, I figure "Just make up your own character, already!"
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:00 am

GoldenBard wrote:

Maybe Ross liked the design of his Kingdom Come Blue Beetle enough that he wanted to use in Project: Superpowers. But the 2-page origin story in the back of one issue (I can't lay my hand on it to tell you which one), gave the origin I cited, where the suit of armor was built of technology funded by the sale of Peter Ward's ring. They have yet to say what happened to Peter, but I assume they'll explore that at some point. In any case, they made it clear that the new Scarab is at least the spiritual successor of the GA character. His real name is Amon Khadul, so I think he's Egyptian, connecting him to the pharaohs. farao Given what they did to the American Crusader, I think they wanted diversity in the group. As Argosail pointed out, GA heroes tended to be a bunch of White guys in tights...

You make good points about Scarab that are hard to argue against, since I'm not all that familiar with Nedor's origin for their Scarab character, and I haven't seen DE's origin for their version of Scarab yet. I would guess, based on what you're saying, that DE's Scarab could be a combination of Blue Beetle (appearance) & Nedor's Scarab (background). On the other hand, Charlton's Dan Garrett used an egyptian scarab to transform into The Blue Beetle, so unless DE comes out and says what the deal truly is, this will always be open to debate.

Quote :

As much as I loved The Protectors, I haven't read the books since they were originally published. I knew that the Protectors, themselves, were based on older characters (I didn't even realize that they were PD; I just thought Malibu bought the rights for a song), but didn't know that the other characters in the book were.

R.A Jones (writer), Roland Mann (writer/editor) and Thomas Derenick (artist) were all interviewed for Malibu Sun 16 (most of the interviews were reprinted in issue # 1, if memory serves). They weren't shy about stating that the characters were from the Golden Age, with Jones specifically mentioning Centaur several times. I don't blame them for never pointing-out that the characters were Public Domain, though. Realistically, why would any comic company let the world know that anyone else publishing comics could use the same basic characters legally without having to worry about getting into a legal battle?

Quote :
But I can see why one would use the name of a PD character as a launching point to create a new character. And I can see why one would take a PD character and give him a new name (that's what this thread is supposed to be about, but we keep going off on tangents Wink ). I just don't see the logic in taking a PD character, changing the name, then changing everything else, and then saying, "He's based on a Golden Age character!" At that point, I figure "Just make up your own character, already!"

I agree with you, but I can also see the advantage of changing a PD character beyond the point of recognition.
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:40 pm

Here's a challenge for you all: since I was last here, I noticed that the Marvel Family is now in the Public Domain. SO, my challenge is simply...what could somebody POSSIBLY call the characters, since Marvel owns the name "Captain Marvel" and DC owns "Shazam, Billy and Mary Batson, Freddy Freeman Jr, Mary Marvel, AND Captain Thunder?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:23 am

Heckfire wrote:
Here's a challenge for you all: since I was last here, I noticed that the Marvel Family is now in the Public Domain. SO, my challenge is simply...what could somebody POSSIBLY call the characters, since Marvel owns the name "Captain Marvel" and DC owns "Shazam, Billy and Mary Batson, Freddy Freeman Jr, Mary Marvel, AND Captain Thunder?"

The Marvel Family has been PD for a while. The problem is DC will try to disembowel anyone who tries to use them. How about Captain Elemental?
-As Furious as Fire
-As Agile as Air
-As Strong as Stone
-As Unsurmontable as The Ocean
-As Mighty as Metal

"FASOM!"

~~Yzz
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:43 pm

Actually, in response to getting REALLY pissed off back in July/August over DC shredding the Marvel Family in favor of Freddy Freeman (and the recent one-shot solicitation that implies that Billy and Mary are going to become demonic servants of Blaze has done nothing to abate this anger), I was writing a story to try and restore them (NOT reboot, dammit...I friggin' HATE that word now!) that involves Billy going on a global quest to gather six new divine patrons (Susanoo, Hermes, Athena, Zarathustra, Anansi, and Marduk) while Mary trains on Paradise Island to undo the effects of Countdown and Final Crisis (of course, then JMS goes and kills the Amazons...dammit, how can a writer so good also suck so hard at the same damn time?). I was originally going to do it as a fanfic, but if the original characters are in the PD...

Again, idle thoughts, really, but it wouldn't take much to rework my "Billy's Quest" story into the origin of, say, a child or grandchild of the original Marvels, akin to the character of "Thunder" from the Legion of Super-Heroes, which is why I brought this up.

LOL...I had a character on "City of Heroes" once named "Marvelle," or if I go with the doodles I was sketching last night make it Freddy's and Mary's daughter, Billie Freeman ("Billie Marvel?" Eh, maybe...).

Thoughts, oh great and wise lords of the Free Universe?
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PostSubject: Re: The Trademarked Name Game   Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:46 am

Changing the character's name isn't that too hard; there have already been tons of knock-offs: Marvelman, Miracle Man, Mystic Man, Captain Mantra, Captain Universe, etc. You might consider something like "Captain Lightning," "Captain Prodigy," "Captain Wizard," or "Captain Whiz" (maybe even "Captain Whiz-Bang," after the first ashcan comic).

The magic word is the tricky part, and here's what I came up with. Note that I cut it down to 5 letters, because to me there is so much overlap between strength, power, and stamina that you really don't need 3 gods to cover it:

"TOWOC!" Thunderbird (speed & flight), Oghma (wisdom), Woden (power), Odysseus (Courage), and Cratos (strength).

You might also consider TOWOS or SOWOT, replacing Cratos with Samson.

Here's a quick list of mythic figures I came up with if you want to juggle other possibilities (there are probably others: this was from only 15 minutes of cursory research. I really didn't have time for more, but this question intrigued me so much that I had to take out a few minutes to play with it):

Wisdom (Al-Kutbay, Anulap, Apollo, Dagda, Erlang Shen, Fabulinus, Frey, Ganesha, Gyesh, Jar’Edo Wens, Mimir, Ogma, Samson, Thoth, Yuanshi Tianzun, Zehuti)
Strength (Amon, Balder, Cratos, Frey, Heimdall, Jord, Thunor)
Stamina/power (Aton, Odin, Woden, Krishna, Shu, Vishnu)
Courage (Hanuman, Krishna, Mehun, Odysseus, Pallas, Virgil, Vishnu)
Speed (Hermes, Heru, Papsukkal, Raja Indainda, Thunderbird, Turms, Wentayao, Zagar)
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PostSubject: My Suggestion   Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:39 am

GoldenBard wrote:
Changing the character's name isn't that too hard; there have already been tons of knock-offs: Marvelman, Miracle Man, Mystic Man, Captain Mantra, Captain Universe, etc. You might consider something like "Captain Lightning," "Captain Prodigy," "Captain Wizard," or "Captain Whiz" (maybe even "Captain Whiz-Bang," after the first ashcan comic).

The magic word is the tricky part, and here's what I came up with. Note that I cut it down to 5 letters, because to me there is so much overlap between strength, power, and stamina that you really don't need 3 gods to cover it:

"TOWOC!" Thunderbird (speed & flight), Oghma (wisdom), Woden (power), Odysseus (Courage), and Cratos (strength).

You might also consider TOWOS or SOWOT, replacing Cratos with Samson.

Here's a quick list of mythic figures I came up with if you want to juggle other possibilities (there are probably others: this was from only 15 minutes of cursory research. I really didn't have time for more, but this question intrigued me so much that I had to take out a few minutes to play with it):

Wisdom (Al-Kutbay, Anulap, Apollo, Dagda, Erlang Shen, Fabulinus, Frey, Ganesha, Gyesh, Jar’Edo Wens, Mimir, Ogma, Samson, Thoth, Yuanshi Tianzun, Zehuti)
Strength (Amon, Balder, Cratos, Frey, Heimdall, Jord, Thunor)
Stamina/power (Aton, Odin, Woden, Krishna, Shu, Vishnu)
Courage (Hanuman, Krishna, Mehun, Odysseus, Pallas, Virgil, Vishnu)
Speed (Hermes, Heru, Papsukkal, Raja Indainda, Thunderbird, Turms, Wentayao, Zagar)
Yeah,you should try something like that,
Please let me know what you come up with.
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