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Thursday, May 07, 2020

Comic Cuts - 8 May 2020

5 comments:

  1. Two questions for you, Steve, if you feel like addressing them in a future post. First involves copyright. Dez Skinn renamed some IPC strips back in the mid-'80s to avoid copyright problems - for example, Cursitor Doom was renamed Amadeus Wolf and The Steel Claw's Louis Crandell was renamed Lewis Randell - similar, I suppose, to what you're doing with the strip you mention.

    My question is - how does this sidestep copyright problems? Lewis Randell was still called The Steel Claw, and surely the artwork is copyright as well as the names? Perhaps you could enlighten me, if you can be bothered.

    Second question is about Johnny Future. Was his change from Hulk knockoff to superhero planned from the beginning, or did Marvel complain about his similarity to The Hulk? Early episodes were resized, so was it originally intended for another UK comic of more traditional dimensions, before being put into Fantastic? Also, there seems to be a date of '64 after Bermejo's signature on a couple of pages, so could it have been an earlier (unpublished) strip that was dusted down for Fantastic? Any light you can cast on these matters would be much appreciated.

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  2. I can't speak for Dez and why he changed the name of the Steel Claw, but I'm doing it simply to avoid even the slightest hint of a question of who owns what character names. The artwork itself does not grant you copyright over a character, or there would be a rush to reprint the contents of Look-In. While I'm not talking about a TV series, the character I have in mind appeared in more than one title, only one of which I have permission to reprint from. So to avoid any problems, I'm falling back on the age old tradition of renaming the character.

    As for The Missing Link, I suspect he was inspired by the Hulk but different enough to avoid copyright infringement. I don't think a change was planned from the outset, but maybe, after a dozen or so issues, maybe Wallace - who was managing editor of Fantastic as well as the writer of the strip - was reacting to feedback from the readers in turning Link into Johnny Future.

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  3. Forgot to say that Bermejo's signature has a little squiggle in it after the big 'O' (sometimes in a line underneath) which I've seen in other strips. It isn't a date.

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  4. Thanks for the info. I spoke to Dez about his reprinted strips years ago and he said the name changes were to avoid copyright problems, but I couldn't see how that would get around potential problems concerning The Steel Claw name as he still used it. I'd have thought he'd have changed it to The Iron Hand (or Gauntlet) or something. Thanks again for your help.

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  5. Dear Steve, Sixty years ago this month the Air Ace Picture Library series was raised to the level of great Art in my opinion by the publication of No. 10 in the series, Objective Destroyed, by Ian Kennedy, who would go on to even greater heights of superlative artistry by adding a further 30 titles over the following eight years. As a fan of the great man yourself, would you do his many other admirers a great favour by celebrating this in one of your forthcoming columns [which have been my first port of call every morning since as long as I can remember]? Yours with thanks, Malcolm.

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