TCJ 300: Journal Datebook

Posted by on December 31st, 2009 at 3:26 AM


Warner Bros. and DC Win Ruling Against Siegel Heirs in Superman Lawsuit

July 8: U.S. Judge Stephen G. Larson has ruled in favor of Warner Bros. and DC Comics on one aspect of a lawsuit brought by the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, according to Variety. Siegel’s heirs had contended that the license fees that DC Comics received from its parent company Warner Bros. for the movie rights to Superman amounted to a “sweetheart deal.” The judge ruled that the payments Warner Bros. made to DC Comics for the 2006 movie Superman Returns instead amounted to “fair market value.” The judge set a Dec. 1 trial date for a hearing to determine the allocation of profits to the heirs, according to the pop-culture website ICv2. Last year, a judge ruled in favor of Siegel’s heirs and awarded them a share of the Superman copyright.


Mexican Editorial Cartoonist Mario Robles Wins Courage Award

July 8: Mexican editorial cartoonist Mario Robles has won this year’s Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning from the Cartoonists Rights Network International. Robles currently works for the Oaxaca, Mexico, newspaper Noticias Voz e Imagen. CRNI is a free-speech and human-rights organization that is dedicated to the needs of editorial and political cartoonists. According to Editor & Publisher, Robles is the first Latin American artist to win the award. CRNI cited the assault of Robles on April 19th as a factor in deciding the award. Robles was attacked for a cartoon that made fun of a Mexican political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had cracked down on public demonstrations. Robles has 30 years of experience as a cartoonist and has won the top journalism award in Oaxaca six times.


2009 Comic-Con International — San Diego

July 23-28: What distinguished the San Diego Comic-Con this year was that the show had sold all of its passes by the end of May and, despite recent additions to the San Diego Convention Center, has reached its official capacity (determined by the fire marshal) of 125,000 attendees. The city of San Diego and convention planners are discussing possibilities such as moving the convention to another city or expanding the convention center. In Comic-Con promotional materials, much was made of the event’s 40th anniversary, but most of the media buzz centered on the Hollywood panels in Hall H, such as the premiere of footage from the upcoming Avatar film and a panel composed of the actors in the film adaptation of the Twilight books. Also noteworthy was that the Eisner Awards Ceremony was moved to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront adjacent to the convention center.

— Kristy Valenti

2009 Eisner Award Winners

  • Best Short Story: “Murder He Wrote,” by Ian Boothby, Nina Matsumoto and Andrew Pepoy, in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #14 (Bongo)
  • Best Continuing Series: All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
  • Best Limited Series: Hellboy: The Crooked Man, by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
  • Best New Series: Invincible Iron Man, by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca (Marvel)
  • Best Publication for Kids: Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)
  • Best Publication for Teens/Tweens: Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Best Humor Publication: Herbie Archives, by “Shane O’Shea” (Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse)
  • Best Anthology: Comic Book Tattoo: Narrative Art Inspired by the Lyrics and Music of Tori Amos, edited by Rantz Hoseley (Image)
  • Best Webcomic: Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil
  • Best Reality-Based Work: What It Is, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Best Graphic Album—New: Swallow Me Whole, by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
  • Best Graphic Album—Reprint: Hellboy Library Edition Vols. 1 and 2, by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
  • Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips: Little Nemo in Slumberland: Many More Splendid Sundays, by Winsor McCay (Sunday Press Books)
  • Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books: Creepy Archives, by various (Dark Horse)
  • Best U.S. Edition of International Material: The Last Musketeer, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
  • Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Japan: Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
  • Best Writer: Bill Willingham, Fables, House of Mystery (Vertigo/DC)
  • Best Writer/Artist: Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Acme)
  • Best Penciler/Inker or Penciler/Inker Team: Guy Davis, BPRD (Dark Horse)
  • Best Painter/Multimedia Artist: Jill Thompson, Magic TrixieMagic Trixie Sleeps Over (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Best Cover Artist: James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
  • Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien: The Drowning, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse); Body Bags (Image); Captain America: White (Marvel)
  • Best Lettering: Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #19 (Acme)
  • Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland
  • Best Comics-Related Book: Kirby: King of Comics, by Mark Evanier (Abrams)
  • Best Publication Design: Hellboy Library Editions, designed by Cary Grazzini and Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)
  • Hall of Fame: Judges’ choices: Harold Gray, Graham Ingels; Voters’ choices: Matt Baker, Reed Crandall, Russ Heath, Jerry Iger

Other Awards

  • Will Eisner “Spirit of Comics” Retailer Award: Tate’s Comics, Fort Launderdale, Florida, USA
  • Bob Clampett Award: Denis Kitchen
  • Russ Manning Award: Eleanor Davis
  • Bill Finger Award: John Broome, Frank Jacobs


Vanguard Beats Famous Monsters of Filmland Lawsuit

Aug. 4: Warren Publishing Company and James Warren sued J. David Spurlock and Vanguard Productions over the use of Famous Monsters of Filmland covers in Famous Movie Monster Art of Basil Gogos, arguing that it was a copyright and trademark violation and that it could potentially derail a planned coffee-table book about his stable of magazines. On Aug. 4, 2009, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson ruled “the fact that the Gogos book is inherently biographical renders it so fundamentally transformative in nature, coupled with the fact that Spurlock utilized such a quantitatively and qualitatively minor portion of the magazines, requires this court to conclude that Spurlock’s use is fair use and to grant Spurlock’s motion for summary judgment on the copyright claims.”


Disney Buys Marvel

Aug. 31: At press time, it was announced that The Walt Disney Company had bought Marvel Entertainment for 4 billion dollars in stock and cash. CEO Ike Perlmutter will remain in charge of Marvel properties for the House of Mouse, and Disney CFO Tom Skaggs explained that Marvel’s previous Hollywood Studio deals (regarding films such as Iron Man) will still hold. It is speculated that the acquisition was to capture the boys’ demographic for Disney, which has already secured the girls’ market with its successful Disney Princess and Hannah Montana properties.


Kodansha Cuts off Licenses to Tokyopop

Aug. 31: Kodansha, the largest publisher in Japan, has decided to let its licenses with Tokyopop lapse, disrupting series such as Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad and preventing Tokyopop from reissuing popular out-of-print series such as Love Hina. Kodansha has U. S. distribution through Random House.


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