Continuing my series of 100 Page Super Spectaculars that never, I present this appropriately post-July 4th entry.
This amazing cover illustration was created by the versatile Seth Frail. You can check out more of Seth's artwork at http://sethfrail.daportfolio.com/
I've made no secret of my fondness for the classic Freedom Fighters and on numerous occasions have lamented DC's attempts to reboot them in the last decade. Currently, DC seems to be committed to putting out various mini-series with the characters in an attempt to (re?)enforce trademarks on the characters...
I have to wonder about this. Why does DC care so much? One might argue that the Freedom Fighters have some intellectual property value that DC wants to lock down but based on Ed Love's well written article in Two Morrow's Quality Companion, DC has already been able to successfully defend their sole use of the characters over the years. (Ed describes an incident wherein DC Editor at the time Dick Giordano sent Bill Black, publisher of Fem Force a cease and desist letter.)
However, according to Black, the reason he changed the name of his Phantom Lady to Nightveil was a bit different:
DC claimed they owned the name Phantom Lady and, in 1983, Dick Giordano (then DC editor) called me and asked me to cease and desist the use of the name. Big company pressuring a little company… I was just starting up, so I rolled over on this. I later discovered that DC had not and COULD NOT trademark the name Phantom Lady. But by then I had re-created the character as Nightveil. All this was a good thing because Nightveil has become such a great character far exceeding Phantom Lady in any incarnation. At AC we have a “retro” history as Femforce started during World War II. I created the Blue Bulleteer as the masked persona of Laura Wright before she becomes the sorceress, Nightveil. So from 1943 into the 1960s, Laura is Blue Bulleteer and runs around in a costume that is based on the Matt Baker, Fox Features version of Phantom Lady. The fans love it!
And while I would be relunctant to disagree with Mr. Black, if you look closely at the covers of this new Phantom Lady comic book, you will plainly see a TM symbol beside both Phantom Lady and Doll Man. Here is a close up:
And while DC owning the trademark to these characters makes sense (they did buy them after all.) There is another development in the Trademarking of Public Domain characters. Dynamite Entertainment has trademark the Green Lama, Black Terror, The Owl, The Arrow and Pyroman as of 2008.
And pursuant to that end, last week Dynamite published the first issue of a new series featuring their version of The Owl - I guess because during that spate of creating logos for their versions of characters during Project Super Powers, there was no cover using their Owl logo, which would make defending the trademark a bit difficult. It would be interesting to see someone try go to court in defense of a trademark without ever publishing a single issue of the property in question. ;)
Anyone read this? What did you think?