Maybe we are all suckers!
Maybe I’m just one of those lousy conspiracy theorists. But one has to wonder what is going on over at DC Comics.
This week the new DC Comics logo was unveiled and, beside it being one of the most god-awful logos I’ve ever seen, I was impressed with the need for the change. DC Comics is covering their butt and making sure the new logo is protected when used on everything under the sun!
All this in light of losing a trademark infringement suit in 2008 against DC Shoes where it was revealed that DC Comics, because of their own lack of diligence, was the actual infringer!
It is obvious that DC had to come up with something that nobody in their right mind would consider using since the list of organizations that use those two letters on their letterhead extends all the way to our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C.!
With all this new sense of assiduousness toward their logo trademark it seems strange that DC Comics is working so hard to undermine the values of their most important trademarks, the characters themselves.
The concept of “Truth, justice and the American way!” that has exemplified the values of super heroes since the inception of Superman in 1938 has been completely thrown under the bus with the launch of the New 52.
We in the comics industry know that the medium has grown up and that comics haven’t been just for kids for some thirty years now but the general public still recognizes the values that established these characters as the trademarks they are, and those values are decidedly kid friendly!
The term Super Heroes and variations of it is a trademark shared by both Marvel and DC representing a particular brand of character that represents both companies specifically.
This is why a furor is created when a Fox News affiliate in Washington D.C. points out the sex, violence, blood and gore that is present in DC’s current lineup. This is why people outside of comics get upset when they see Batman schtupping Catwoman on a roof. What they see is an abomination of a trademark that they have come to trust and they react like they did when Coke changed its original classic recipe. As consumers, they feel a trust has been violated.
DC Comics, licenses their trademarked characters to a zillion licensees most of which make product targeted to children. DC has the right to approve every item produced, checking for quality and an assurance that the products represent their trademarked property well. Would they approve of bed sheets or a lunch box with Batman and Catwoman doing the nasty?
Let’s reverse the roles. Do the licensees want to see the trademarked characters that they paid top dollar for so they could put them on kids products have sex in comics, movies, or anywhere? Ask Tiger Woods. His indiscretions cost him plenty in lost endorsements to products targeted mostly at adults! Why shouldn’t Batman behave himself? At least Tiger made his own mistake. Batman’s blunder is made by a team of responsible editors and a huge corporation.
DC is so fast to hunt down and challenge any trash truck with the Superman logo on it or a restaurant with a bat in its logo regardless if that logo resembles theirs or not. They have created every possible bat logo imaginable in an effort to protect their franchised character yet they seemingly let parodies of their most significant trademark characters proliferate on the porn market with no opposition. Look at these YouTube trailers and ask yourself how does DC let this go? ?
These take-offs are so specifically exact to the characters and their films, is it possible that they go beyond parody? Even as legitimate parodies, a huge company like Warner Brothers could step up to the plate and buy them out just to protect their trademarks or do they have some kind of stake in the porn market that is not publicized.
So what’s the deal?
My theory is that DC has been systematically altering every character in its universe primarily to separate the copyright ownership of each character from the original creators and their heirs.
DC is attempting to put their characters in every possible situation, like their new logo, making their trademark characters viable in as many markets as possible, even the porn market, so that the idea of Batman having sex cannot be considered parody.
DC has realized that, unlike copyrights, which can revert eventually to originators, trademarks can last indefinitely so long as they are continually used to identify their goods and services.
DC Comics is on a mission that is borderline paranoia and the result will be a long list of bland, diluted characters paraded around as valuable trademarks of a huge conglomerate that has shot itself in the foot.
I can’t imagine that Disney will do the same with Marvel. If anything, expect Marvel/Disney to begin a very focused campaign, establishing a trademark paradigm that will be held as gospel and beware of anyone attempting to parody, lest they suffer the agonizing trials of the air pirates.
Speaking of pirates, I was intending that the blog this week be about the war on SOPA and PIPA but miraculously both have been indefinitely suspended due to public outcry.
WAY TO GO TO EVERYONE WHO SPOKE OUT!!!
Guaranteed that this is not an issue that is over. Get ready for the next proposed legislation the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN)
Now please excuse me while I delete all the porn cookies I had to incur while putting this blog together and don’t worry, I know Spidey and his friends are slinging the triple X’s too. Maybe CO2 Comics should get into the parody biz, we might get rich if we were prostituting our comics.
Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!