Posts Tagged ‘Rocketeer’

Copyrights, Trademarks and Comics, Oh My!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The legal forrest that the Yellow Brick Road travels through on the way to success as an independent comic creator or publisher just became a scarier place.

Gary Friedrich

It is probably fitting that the demonized Ghost Rider character has lit the torch with his blazing skull.

Regardless of your opinion as to wether Gary Friedrich should be compensated for his contribution to the creation of the character of Ghost Rider and the unfairness of the court’s ruling against him, it is Marvel’s victory in a countersuit against him that has turned the hourglass on end and the sand is running out.

In a brilliant facebook entry written by the esteemed Stephen Bissette he raises the alarm for artists in artist alley that sell sketches of trademarked characters without consent. In the blog he explains the legal necessity of Marvel’s enforcement. They have a responsibility to actively protect their trademarks or risk losing them.

From the cover of Comico Primer #2

This practice of due diligence is nothing new. When we had just published our second issue of Comico Primer back in 1982 we received a Cease and Desist letter from Will Eisner referring to a character featured in the comic whose name was Spirit. Spirit was a female robot that had absolutely no similarities whatsoever to Eisner’s character The Spirit.  We had never even considered that there would or could be a conflict.

Will Eisner appreciated that we were young and naive and explained that he paid lawyers to protect his properties. Their job was  to seek out potential conflicts and he had a responsibility to follow through on their findings to protect his interests. Needless to say we were embarrassed and humbled by the graciousness of this man that we already had great respect and admiration for. We were sure to honor his simple request that we not use the name Spirit especially not on a cover of one of our comic books.

It strikes me that it was a lot easier for a comic artist like Will Eisner to police the comic industry for copyright and trademark infringement in 1982 than it would be today. Thirty years ago there were just a few publishers in the market and a handful of fanzines. There was no internet with a seemingly endless selection of web comics and there were surely not the tremendous number of comic creators that exist today.

The Friedrich vs. Marvel case has magnified the necessity of protecting one’s trademark. If a huge corporation like Marvel/Disney finds it necessary to hassle Gary Friedrich over $17,000  because those sales of prints he sold in artist alley at comic book conventions could jeopardize their claim to trademark, how safe can the trademarks of smaller companies be?

Should every small publisher, self publisher and comic artist be canvasing comic conventions and the internet, prepared to rifle out a C&D letter to every potential infringer? How can small publishers and creators afford to do it without the funds or the time to execute such an endeavor? How vulnerable are our intellectual properties?

Imagine if some guy is a big fan of your character and goes to every convention getting every artist he finds to draw a picture of your character. Proud of his collection he displays it all over facebook, and his website. Another company likes your character and discovers all these images that were created by unlicensed vendors, in this case artists in artist alley, and feel that they have deep enough pockets to argue that the trademark has been left exposed.

Marvel’s victory over their assertion that Friedrich’s sales in artist alley were a credible threat to their trademark establishes a precedent that will influence future rulings. Make no mistake, the big boys will go after the competition and will do whatever it takes to win.

The Forgettable's

Marvel took a shot at the insanely popular Rocketeer back in the 80’s claiming it infringed on characters that they had that were also called Rocketeers. Their characters were minor characters buried in a forgettable story. Dave Steven’s had to fight for years to defend his property tying up capital that could have been used more productively.

This may all seem like paranoia until it actually happens but who wants to be the first victim. The industry has been buzzing over piracy now for some time. The threat of piracy is nothing compared to the threat of trademarked properties being totally hijacked by unscrupulous competitors.

Comic creators, please get educated on copyright and trademark laws. They can be your friends or your enemies. Don’t let your ignorance on the subject make your property a hostage as you travel that long, arduous Yellow Brick Road to success.

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


The Greatest Collection of Interviews in the History of Comic Books

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

  

CO2 Comics announces that David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 is ON SALE NOW!  

CO2 Comics has entered into an agreement with David Anthony Kraft and Fictioneer Books Ltd. to publish the complete collection of all 150 issues of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW. The collection will consist of eleven huge volumes each over 600 pages in length released one at a time on a regular schedule.  

  

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 has been spontaneously released with this press announcement and is available exclusively at comicsinterview.com a website built and powered by CO2 Comics.  

Comics Interview Standard Edition

Four editions of the volume are available; The Standard Edition featuring an updated platinum version of the traditional COMICS INTERVIEW logo is available in paperback and hardcover. A Premier Edition that is available only for a limited time features a platinum version of the original classic COMICS INTERVIEW logo that was constructed of type from various popular comic logos is also published in both paperback and hardcover. The Premier Edition will be pulled from the market at midnight on New Years Eve 2010. Each of the eleven volumes of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection will be released with a Premier Edition that will have limited availability. Paperback editions are now available and will list for $34.99 and Hardcovers will list for $54.99. Paperback editions are available now. The release of Hardcover editions will be announced soon.  

Comics Interview Premier Edition

Gerry Giovinco of CO2 Comics exclaims. “Bill Cucinotta and I are extremely excited and honored to be able to publish this collection of David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW. We believe that Dave’s work is the most significant gathering of interviews of the greatest comic minds of the 20th century.” This work will be the greatest collection of interviews in the history of comic books”.  

Dick Giordano Interview

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW, which was published from 1983 to 1995 featured interviews with creators, publishers, distributors, marketeers, fans and more. The timing of the original publications is significant because it allowed for interviews with comic legends from the dawn of comic books as well as interviews with young creators who are legends today. COMICS INTERVIEW effectively examined the mindset of the greatest talents responsible for the comics that we have come to revere over the last seventy years.”  

Alan Moore Interview

“Because David Anthony Kraft is a writer editor himself he had the unique ability to interview creators from the position of a respected peer. This perspective is relevant throughout COMICS INTERVIEW where the subjects share their thoughts openly and frankly. ”  

Dave was an editor at Marvel and writer on such features as The Defenders, She-Hulk, Captain America, and Creatures on the Loose. He has the distinction of scripting the very first story drawn by John Byrne for Marvel Comics: “Dark Asylum,” published in Giant-Size Dracula #5 and of being the editor of FOOM, Marvel’s popular, self-produced fan Magazine.  

Bill Griffith Interview

CO2 Comics is a web based comics publisher developed by former Comico publishers Gerry Giovinco and Bill Cucinotta. CO2 Comics has been growing in popularity since it first appeared on the web in the summer of 2009. About 700 pages of comics from twenty creators populates the site which is designed and maintained by Bill Cucinotta and features a popular blog by Gerry Giovinco that has been examining the history of Comico and comic book production.  

Comico was the 1980’s Independent juggernaught that published such memorable titles as Grendel, Mage, The Jam, Elementals, Rocketeer, Robotech, Starblazers, Gumby, Space Ghost and Jonny Quest along with many other significant comics and graphic novels.  

David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 will be our first work in print as CO2 Comics,” says Bill Cucinotta. “It’s publication as a POD (Print On Demand) product provided by Lulu.com will define our commitment to marketing direct to the customer through our web site with high quality productions that have always been our legacy. We plan to redefine how print comics are delivered to readers. We couldn’t have picked a better project than this one, that through its content outlines the history of the comics industry as we know it, to usher in what we expect to be the beginning of a new and successful model for the future.”  

Comics Interview #5

Giovinco reminisces, “Dave was there for us as a mentor when we began publishing as Comico, offering moral support, insight and inspiration. His willingness to trade ad space with us as fledgeling publishers allowed us to grow and establish a significant presence in the dawning days of the direct market.  

His interview with us as Comico in issue #5 of COMICS INTERVIEW was a moment that signified to us that we had arrived as publishers of comics. It is only fitting that we come together again at the forefront of a new era for the comics market and the continual development of the foundation for CO2 Comics, the hottest new place to read comics on the web and, now, in print.  


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