So… I’m sure that all of you have been pouring over the most recent Patent,Trademark, & Copyright Journal (vol. 75 No. 1862) and immediately noticed the article (beginning on page 591) by Anandashankar Mazumdar entitled “Superman Co-Creator’s Heirs Successfully Terminated 1938 Assignment of Rights."
No? Well me neither, but a good friend of mine was kind enough to send me a copy of the relevant pages. Here’s a link to the article on the court decision at Scribd.com: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2386369/Superman-Jerome-Siegel-Copyright-Decision
As I understand it, there is another level or two of appeal possible before anything really happens and assuming the end result puts things in the hands of the Siegel and Schuster heirs, I’m quite sure that DC/Time-Warner will wind up paying a ludicrously large sum of money to keep the man of steel in the DC Universe, but it got me thinking… what if they didn’t?
What if Marvel found a way to top their offer? What if Superman joined the Avengers?
Imagine the first issue of the Avengers in which Superman is tossed through the boundaries separating the Marvel and DC universes and lands in New York. How do you work that conversation so as not to tread on DC copyrights?
Superman: I’ve got to contact those friends of mine back at that satellite where we watch over everything. Surely my friend… oh, what’s his name, the bat-themed detective... will be looking for me. Maybe that chap with the brown hair with white side-burns, the one the with the green… ring could use his… ring and the green powers it gets from the… little powerful blue midgets to create a portal of some sort… Or perhaps my lady sorceress friend in the top hat and fishnet stockings could use magic. She could say “Bring Superman back home” backwards or something.
Iron Man flies up.
Iron Man: Oh crap! It’s another Skrull and it’s a copyright violation to boot. Now we’re in real trouble.
After a brief discussion with top SHIELD legal experts, Iron Man realizes that Marvel owns Superman.
Iron Man (thought balloon): I OWN SUPERMAN!!! BWAHAHAHA!!!
Iron Man: Hi, Superman. Sign here. I need you to register your powers and then I’ll put you to work leading the Avengers. And I'm sorry about your wife, but I’d like you to hook up with Ms. Marvel as quickly as possible. I want to franchise your children.
Iron Man (thought balloon): SO WHAT IF I GOT STEVE KILLED! I’VE GOT FRICK’N SUPERMAN!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!
Superman: I’ve got to find other members of... that team to which I belong. The one based in America that fights for justice… or the society with similar goals.
Iron Man: Yeah, that’s getting a little too close for copyright reasons, Clark. I’ll need you to stop referring to your old reality. Would it be okay if I had Professor X edit your memory? Maybe you could have Sentry’s wife. Now that you’re here, I don’t need him anymore…
Superman: What?!? I’ve got to find the really quick guy, the one in red with the lightning bolts on his costume? Maybe he could use the treadmill that he has to come pick me up. I wonder if that wonderfully powerful woman I know could ask the gods…
Iron Man: Wonderfully powerful woman? Do you realize how close to infringement that is?
Superman: What are you talking about?
Iron Man (thought balloon): I wonder if I could team him up with Bucky… I mean the new Captain America and call it America’s Finest… or maybe World’s Most Excellent… Universe’s Finest? Too close? Think of the marketing. BWHAHAHAHA!!! I wonder if this means we own kryptonite?
Superman: It’s a longshot…
Iron Man (thought balloon): Wait! No… no, it’s okay. He can say Longshot. We own Longshot.
Superman (continues): I’ll have to travel to… Atlantis…
Minutes Later. Superman is underwater staring at Namor.
Superman: You’re not blond. Where the heck is bat-themed detective guy that I trust so much, because he can do anything and still just be a human?
Meanwhile, Iron Man still hovers above New York.
Iron Man (thought balloon): I wonder if this means I own Lois Lane…?
Wouldn't that be just crazy?