Isn’t that nice to see DC and Marvel working together?

It appears that Marvel and DC finally agree on something: that they jointly invented and own the term “super-hero.” And if they get their way, no one else gets to use it, including Image Comics, or anyone self publishing a super-hero book.

This is a nasty language real estate grab, and while I’m not at all surprised, it does really irk me.

There would be more fallout from this I assume, which we would see in the lack of super-heroes in video games and comic strips for example. After losing the City of Heroes battle, you’d think Marvel would hold off for a bit. I guess with their new bestest buddy, they’re feeling lucky.


  1. …It doesn’t seem like they should even be able to DO that. That word has been in the public domain for at least 60 or so years. Sure, Superman and the Human Torch pioneered the use of this phrase, but look at how many buisness are using it now: City of Heroes, Image, Top Cow, all sorts of indie books, and people who make their own comics on the web using the term.

    It just doesn’t seem like the courts or the copyright offices will be allow Marvel or DC to trademark this phrase. With it being used so often in general media (Newspapers, SNL, etc. etc.), and of course in the comics industry itself by companies OTHER THAN the two big hitters, it would totally mess up the way we could use the word. And I mean…I’m pretty sure you can’t copyright something that’s been in public domain for so damn long.

  2. It’s also funny to me that some of Marvel’s “Super-Hero’s” are Thor and Hercules. I wonder if they even remember that they didn’t even come up with the basis for those characters in the first place?

    I can see it now, Avi Arad going nuts that someone used the name Thor in a book without his permission and his staffers all having to meekly say “um, you know that’s not really our name exclusively”…

    On a similar note:
    Anyone remember when the San Diego Comic-Con tried to copyright the term Comic-Con and say they invented it? There were similar results.

  3. Dead on! Lots of characters are co-opted from ancient mythologies. They’d put Neil Gaiman out of business.

  4. You know, this shit irritates me. It’s two words. What the fuck harm will it do to either of them if anyone else in the world puts them together? Huh?

    Will owning the words “super hero” up their sales? No, it just means they can sue the fuck out of anyone who uses it. It means people can pay for the right to use it.

    This is nothing but executive corporate crap. I understand that there is some business in art, but doesn’t it have to eclipse the art?

    You know, why don’t these fuckers figure out how to get a wider distribution base so they can draw in younger fans instead of this happy horseshit?