Felix? Felicissimus!

By John Hertz: (reprinted, mostly, from No Direction Home 29)  Also reaching a centenary this year is Felix the Cat, who arrived with The Adventures of Felix or, if as sometimes considered he continued Master Tom introduced earlier, Feline Follies (each 1919). He came from the studio of Pat Sullivan, created by Sullivan (1885-1933), Sullivan’s lead animator Otto Messmer (1892-1983), or both, the first animated-cartoon character to win international fame. In 1921 Winslow B. Felix (1890-1936), a friend of Sullivan’s, opened a Chevrolet automobile dealership in Los Angeles irresistibly called Felix Chevrolet; in 1958 new owner Nick Shammas (1915-2003) put up a giant Felix the Cat sign, still proudly maintained by the current owner, 3330 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles 90007. Everyone knew Felix’ pacing deep in thought during the cartoons (at left, from Oceantics, 1930). There was also a comic strip for newspapers (1923-1966). The fantasy element was broader, or something, than anthropomorphism; at a moment when a man might tip his hat, Felix might raise an arc with his ears from the top of his head; wanting to see at a distance, he might take off his tail and look through it as a telescope. Later, at the hands of Joe Oriolo (1913-1985) for television, Felix had a satchel Bag of Tricks; this may have been a weakening, or even a blandification, but it produced an object which an opponent could try to get. Joe’s son Don (1946- ), a painter, musician, and maker of guitars, inherited Felix, became known as the Felix the Cat Guy, and licensed him in the United States and abroad, particularly in Japan; dozens of Felix paintings by Don have appeared, some with guitars, at least one noting the resemblance of Felix and the Kit-Cat® Klock (invented 1932 by Earl Arnault 1904-1971, adopting a distinctive bow tie in 1954, or pearls for the Lady Kit-Cat in 2001). In 2014 rights to Felix were acquired by DreamWorks Animation, now part of NBCUniversal owned in turn by Comcast.

In 1925, Felix at his height, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) led a Vanity Fair article with him.

In the course of one of his adventures, my favorite dramatic hero, Felix the Cat, begins to sing…. little black notes hang in the air above him…. He reaches up, catches a few handfuls of them, and…. fit[s] them together into the most ingenious … scooter … the wheels … made out of the round heads of the notes, the framework of their tails. He helps his companion into her seat, climbs in himself, seizes by its barbs the semi-quaver which serves as the lever of propulsion and, working it vigorously backwards and forwards, shoots away…. What the cinema can do better than literature is to be fantastic…. A study of Felix the Cat would teach … many valuable lessons.

“Where Are the Movies Moving? The brilliant success of the cinema in portraying the fantastic and preposterous”; July, pp. 39, 78

Having spoken of a fictional black cat famous through graphics I must bring another, who started earlier, ended earlier, stayed mainly on the plain printed page (though there were 230 animations – half as many as Felix), was less widely known but perhaps greater: Krazy Kat, in the eponymous 1913-1944 comic strip by George Herriman (1880-1944). Fantasy element broader, or something, than anthropomorphism? The landscape is strange, and while the characters are stationary may change. Krazy has been called androgynous; sometimes she seems to be female, sometimes he seems to be male. The characterization, the layout, the language, the plot (if any) – is there anything that isn’t extraordinary? maybe the policeman, Officer Pupp? – no – maybe Ignatz Mouse’s bricks? yet if they are the anchor to reality, that is very strange. And William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) loved it. P. McDonnell et al. eds., Krazy Kat (1986) is a good overview. Bill Blackbeard while at Eclipse reprinted the 1916-1924 Sunday strips in nine volumes 1988-1992, then at Fantagraphics the 1925-1944 Sundays in ten more volumes 2002-2008.

Because Herriman illustrated the tales of Archy and Mehitabel by Don Marquis (“MAR-kwiss”; 1878-1937) we know Mehitabel, an alley cat with whom Archy the cockroach hung out, was also black. Starting in 1916 Marquis ran them in his column for the New York City newspaper The Evening Sun, then in the Tribune, then in Collier’s magazine, then The Saturday Evening Post. Archy, the protagonist, had been a free-verse poet in an earlier life; he took to writing stories and poems on a typewriter in the newspaper office after everyone had left, climbing onto the machine and hurling himself onto one key at a time; he couldn’t manage capital letters, which called for simultaneously pressing the Shift key (though once landing on the Shift Lock key he wrote CAPITALS AT LAST). Several collections have been published; Herriman is in them only, starting about 1932. Michael Sims edited The Annotated Archy and Mehitabel in 2006.

Filers know a long run of photographs from people under the topic “Cats Sleep on Science Fiction”. Last September I sent a photo I took at the 2018 World Science Fiction Convention of Steven Barnes asleep on some SF he was writing. He was, I explained, one of the coolest cats I knew. Note that Our Gracious Host uses the spelling “SFF”, presumably to make certain-sure, in these days of uncertainty, that both science fiction and fantasy are included.

The KitKat candy bar, wafers coated in chocolate, was originally made in England by Rowntree’s of York; now by Hershey in the United States, by Nestlé elsewhere. When I went to Yokohama for the 2007 Worldcon (“The Worldcon I Saw”, File 770 152 [PDF]; “The Residence of the Wind”, Argentus 8 [PDF]), Terry Karney said I should be sure to try a green-tea KitKat, because they were strange. He was right. I had been brought from the U.S. by the Hertz Across to Nippon Alliance (hana meaning flower or blossom is a Japanese word much used in poetry), Chris O’Shea from the United Kingdom by the Japanese Expeditionary Travel Scholarship (JETS).

As I was going my way west
Farther than ever one day,
I met a traveler going east.
The world is round, they say.

                                            

Title, Felix Mendelssohn and His Times p. 1 (H. Jacob, 1963; J.L.F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy 1809-1847); felix in Latin means happy or fortunate, felicissimus is the superlative; fortunate lingers in English happy (which is mostly cheerful, contented, sunny), since hap is occur, and English still has happen, still allows e.g. “He had the happy knack of bringing people to like him”.

Titan Comics To Release Blade Runner 2019

Blade Runner 2019 #1 will be released July 17 by Titan Comics. The issue also will be available at San Diego Comic-Con. 

In the neo-noir city of Los Angeles, 2019, Ash, a veteran Blade Runner, is grappling with a new case: a billionaire’s wife and child, apparently kidnapped by Replicants for dark purposes … An all-new ongoing comic series from the pen of Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, Logan, American Gods) and longtime co-writer Mike Johnson (Batman/Superman, Supergirl, Star Trek), illustrated by Andres Guinaldo (Justice League Dark, Captain America) comes the first comic to tell original, in-canon stories set in the Blade Runner universe.

Issue 1 comes with 5 covers to collect:

  • Cover A: Stanley Artgerm Lau
  • Cover B: Syd Mead (Original Blade Runner movie concept artist)
  • Cover C: Andreas Guinaldo
  • Cover D: John Royle
  • Cover E: Blank Sketch Variant

Following the jump, below are the first 6 pages of interior art.

Continue reading

Marvels Epilogue Sneak Peek

Hitting comic shops this July – an all-new addition to the classic Marvels graphic novel written by Kurt Busiek and fully painted by Alex Ross. And it’s a “Marvels” look at the “all-new, all-different” X-Men of the 1970s!

In this 16-page story, Alex and Kurt bring Marvel’s world to brilliant, realistic life one last time, as the now-retired Phil Sheldon and his daughters, in Manhattan to see the Christmas lights, find themselves in the middle of a clash between the outsider heroes and the deadly Sentinels, giving them a close-up perspective on the mutant experience. Also featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this special story, and other bonus features.

For more information on Marvels Epilogue, visit Marvel.com.

Marvel Features Spider-Man’s Wardrobe in June

Celebrate Spider-Man with a series of variant covers that show off the webslinger in the many epic costumes he’s worn over the years, including his stealth suit, symbiote suit, webbing suit, cosmic suit, Fantastic Four suit, and more! Look for Marvel’s Spider-Man variants on these select titles this June:

  1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #23 by Stuart Immonen
  2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #24 by Olivier Coipel
  3. CAPTAIN MARVEL #7 by Mike McKone and Rachelle Rosenberg
  4. DEADPOOL #14 by Mark Brooks
  5. DOCTOR STRANGE #16 by David Yardin and David Curiel
  6. FANTASTIC FOUR #11 by Jay Anacleto and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
  7. FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #8 by Adi Granov
  8. IMMORTAL HULK #19 by Ema Lupacchino and David Curiel
  9. MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL #4 by Gerald Parel
  10. THANOS #3 by Nick Bradshaw and Morry Hollowell

Bounding Out of Facebook

Bounding Into Comics’ John F. Trent alleges Facebook administrators have taken down his site’s companion page there “due to the nature of the content we cover and post” — “CENSORSHIP: Facebook Completely Removes Bounding Into Comics’s 250k+ Strong Fan Page”.

Trent displayed screencaps of messages from Facebook:

As you can see, Facebook did not provide us with any actual concrete examples of the alleged violation. In fact, the reason why we are writing this article today, instead of yesterday, is because we attempted to reach out to Facebook believing the removal of the page was inadvertent. However, Facebook has not responded to any of our Help Center inquiries. They stopped responding in an email thread with a Publisher & Media Support team representative once the page was identified.

Given recent reports of Facebook and Twitter removing pages that do not align with their views, I think it is safe to assume that Facebook is likely targeting Bounding Into Comics due to the nature of the content we cover and post.

Bounding Into Comics contributors are not afraid to offer a critical look at the current entertainment culture as it pertains to the comic book industry, Hollywood, and video games. We are on the front line of highlighting the behavior of a number of the executives in these companies whether it’s Marvel’s Sana Amanat who unabashedly stated that “Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, women, native America, the environment, science, and KIDS” are all things “TheRepublicansHate.”

Bounding Into Comics, which publicizes comics from JDA and Vox Day, and applauded Marvel firing Chuck Wendig from a Star Wars project last fall, often claims industry professionals are trying to silence them.

For example, in October when the RPG.net Forum Administrator declared a “New Ban: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration”, Trent responded:

…They also try to state they won’t be targeting Republicans and conservatives, but have openly banned support for the duly elected Republican administration. That sure sounds like targeting of conservatives and Republicans. They actively banned support for them!

However, as a culture warrior Trent does not confine himself to playing defense. Last month Jim C. Hines documented Bounding Into Comics’ deceptive criticism of Fonda Lee in “Bounding Into Comics vs. Fonda Lee”.

Her Tweets got a lot of attention, leading to an article by John Trent at Bounding Into Comics that derides Lee and accuses her, among other things, of criticizing Tolkien. Not that Lee ever did this. Her second Tweet in that thread said, “Before you @ me about the importance of classics, I love LOTR too, okay?” One might almost suspect Trent’s comment, “Lee isn’t the first person to criticize Tolkien,” of being an attempt to stir up shit.

Free Comic Book Day 5/4

May 4 is Free Comic Book Day, when 2,300+ participating comic book stores across North America and the world will be giving away comic books to visitors in their shops. Use the locator on the website to search for a store near you.

Click here to see the covers of 51 comics being handed out free.

And creator Jeff Lemire (Ascender, Gideon Falls, Black Hammer) encourages fans visit their local comic shops on Free Comic Book Day, and pick up his new Black Hammer story in the Stranger Things comic book from Dark Horse.

FCBD, in its 18th year, is the idea of Joe Field, proprietor of the Concord, CA-based Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff. Inspired by the success of ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, he suggested that giving away comic books would expose a new generation of readers to that magical world. Sellers adopted the idea, and publishers agreed to release special issues in honor of Free Comic Book Day. “Each year, we continue to push ourselves to bring fans the very best Free Comic Book Day experience,” says Field.

Here is the full list of FCBD 2019 books:

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2019: GOLD COMICS

  • Archie Comics | Riverdale: Season Three Special
  • BOOM! Studios | Welcome to the Whedonverse
  • Dark Horse Comics | Stranger Things & Black Hammer
  • DC Comics | DC Comics Top Secret Gold Book
  • IDW Publishing | TMNT: Casualty of War
  • Image Comics | Deadly Class: Killer Set
  • Marvel Comics | The Avengers
  • Titan Comics | Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor
  • TOKYOPOP | Disney Descendants: Dizzy’s New Fortune
  • Valiant Entertainment | Bloodshot Special
  • Vault Comics | Interceptor #1
  • VIZ Media | Pokemon: I Choose You! & Pokemon: Adventures

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2019: SILVER COMICS

  • AfterShock Comics | Animosity Tales
  • AHOY Comics | Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1
  • Albatross Funnybooks | Grumble vs The Goon
  • American Mythology | Casper’s Spooksville
  • Antarctic Press | Punchline #1
  • Arcana Studio | Go Fish!
  • Benitez Productions | Lady Mechanika #1
  • BOOM! Studios | Lumberjanes: The Shape of Friendship
  • Chapterhouse Publishing | Captain Canuck: Equilibrium Shift #1
  • Dark Horse Comics | The Incredibles 2 & Minecraft
  • DC Comics | DC Top Secret Silver Title
  • Drawn & Quarterly | Little Lulu in the World’s Best Comic Book
  • Dynamite Entertainment | Bob’s Burgers
  • Dynamite Entertainment | Vampirella #0 50th Anniversary
  • Epicenter Comics | Zagor: The Alien Saga
  • Fantagraphics Books | Our Favorite Thing Is Our Favorite Thing Is Monsters
  • Golden Apple Books | Blastosaurus Annual #1
  • Graphic India | Christiano Ronaldo’s Striker Force 7
  • Graphix | Wolfie Monster and the Big Bad Pizza Battle
  • Humanoids | H1 Ignition
  • IDW Publishing | Star Wars Adventures: Droid Hunters
  • Image Comics | Spawn #1
  • Kodansha Comics| Kodansha All-Ages Manga Sampler
  • Lion Forge Comics | A Sheets Story
  • Marvel Comics | The Amazing Spider-Man
  • New England Comics | The Tick
  • Oni Press | Ghost Hog #1
  • Papercutz | Gillbert FCBD
  • Random House Children’s Books | Lucy & Andy Neanderthal: Big and Boulder
  • Rebellion | Treasury of British Comics Presents: Funny Pages
  • Red 5 Comics | The Dark Age/Afterburn One-Shot
  • Scout Comics | Scout Comics Presents: Midnight Sky
  • Source Point Press | Hope #1
  • Starburns Industries Press | Starburns Presents
  • Titan Comics | Robotech
  • UDON Entertainment | Street Fighter: Sakura vs Karin #1
  • Vertical Comics | Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World Sampler
  • VIZ Media | My Hero Academia/The Promised Neverland
  • YouNeek Studios | Malika: Fire & Frost

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2019: EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT TITLES

  • Comic Book Legal Defense Fund | Defend Comics
  • Gemstone Publishing | The Overstreet Guide to Collecting – FCBD 2019

Some of the linked cover samples also include preview pages (like Lucy & Andy Neanderthal: Big & Bolder.)

Quick Rec for The Tick Season 2, on Amazon Prime

By Daniel Dern: Since I have been buying my comic books at The Outer Limits in Waltham for the past 30+ years, rather than at New England Comics, I was not exposed to NEC’s newsletter mascot, the Tick, nor the ensuing comic books, nor the 1994-1997 animated TV series, although we did watch the 2001-2002 live action, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Miller’s Crossing, When Harry Met Sally, A Series of Unfortunate Events — the TV series and the movie), etc., starring Patrick Warburton as the loveable big blue goof.

(Disclaimer: I remember watching it, but only vaguely remember the episodes, although browsing web articles is jogging my memory.)

In 2017, Amazon rebooted The Tick as a 25-minute series. It’s arguably grittier than the previous live-action (although, of course, I’d have to rewatch that to verify)… but it’s also got a lot of heart and humanity. And great characters. And speaking to the nature of comic books and superheroes, as large-font subtext, as it were.

Season 2 went up about a week ago, and while I didn’t quite binge it, I did prioritize it over some other things, like (some) reading. (At 10 25-minute episodes, that wasn’t that big a commit.)

Enjoyable. Some surprises. Like Expanse book #8, Tiamat’s Wrath, it both starts and wraps up a hornets’ nest of plotlines (including some from the previous season), and positions us (and the various characters) for what looks like should be one heck of a Season 3 (assuming there is one, hope hope).

Two comments:

(1) John Hodgman (who some may remember from The Daily Show), who’s been on various other movies and TV shows I mostly haven’t seen (hmmm, including 1 episode of Battlestar Garlictica Galactica) (and Amazon’s Red Oaks, which we did see), has a role throughout this season.

(2) The producers/writers have clear [ROT-13] gur 1978 FHCREZNA zbivr n srj gvzrf, cre gjb ovgf/fprarf. (I don’t think this is a spoiler, but just in case…)

Two big goofy thumbs up!

Ms. Marvel Digital Director’s Cut Deal Offered Til 3/26

[From the press release.] Ms. Marvel is BACK! But it’s not business as usual in Jersey City. Aliens are wreaking havoc in Kamala’s corner of the world, and they seem weirdly interested in Ms. Marvel…and her family. Eisner Award-winner Saladin Ahmed (Black Bolt, Exiles) and rising star Minkyu Jung (Batgirl, Nightwing) take the reins of one of Marvel’s most beloved new characters! And, for a limited time, you can get a behind-the-scenes peek at Kamala’s groundbreaking ongoing!

Those who have preordered or purchased a digital copy of Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 before 3/26, 11:59 PM ET, will instead receive the Director’s Cut edition of Magnificent Ms. Marvel (2019-) #1!*

This exclusive content will feature a draft of #1’s script, inked pages, color pages, a variant cover gallery, never-before-seen character designs and MORE! Not only will you receive this landmark issue – you’ll get to see the building blocks of its creation! Limited time offer, act now!

Buy Magnificent Ms. Marvel (2019) #1 in the Marvel Comics App or Digital Comics Shop Today and receive a Behind-the-Scenes Extras at no extra cost!

Court Rules Star Trek/Seuss Mashup Is Copyright Fair Use

ComicMix was the winner today when a Federal judge decided the remaining copyright issues in Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ suit to stop the Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go! project.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) had claimed the crowdfunded book, featuring the writing of David Gerrold and the art of Ty Templeton, infringed their copyright and trademark for Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go! A court ruling in May 2018 disposed of DSE’s trademark claims, but the copyright claims remained to be litigated.

In granting ComicMix’s motion for summary judgment U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino explained: “Summary judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied that there is ‘no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’”  

ComicMix argued there was no copyright infringement because Boldly is fair use, and under applicable caselaw “the doctrine of ‘fair use’ shields from infringement particular uses of a copyrighted work.” 

Judge Sammartino wrote that Congress set forth four non-exclusive factors for use in evaluating whether a particular use of a copyrighted work is fair: 

(1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner explained the judge’s analysis of this factor in his story:

In an attempt to foreclose a successful fair use defense, Dr. Seuss Enterprises pointed to the Federal Circuit’s 2018 decision in Oracle America, Inc. v. Google. That case deals with copyrighted Java API code and whether Google infringes when it makes its own version intended to allow software programs to communicate with each other. It’s a high-stakes battle that has a good shot of being taken up by the Supreme Court. When it comes to the purpose and character of Boldly, Dr. Seuss analogizes the book to what Google did with Java.

“The Court does not find Oracle persuasive,” responds the judge, addressing what she sees as the key distinction. “in Oracle, the Defendants copied the 37 SE API packages wholesale, while in Boldly ‘the copied elements are always interspersed with original writing and illustrations that transform Go!’s pages into repurposed, Star-Trek-centric ones.’ Defendants did not copy verbatim text from Go! in writing Boldly, nor did they replicate entire illustrations from Go! Although Defendants certainly borrowed from Go!—at times liberally—the elements borrowed were always adapted or transformed. The Court therefore concludes, as it did previously that Defendants’ work, while commercial, is highly transformative.”

(2) The nature of the copyrighted work;

The judge finds that the factor of the nature of the copyrighted work — Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go — slightly favors the plaintiff before addressing the amount and substantiality of the portion used.

(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;

Judge Sammartino said that she considered the situation in the current case to be comparable to a suit about a poster created to advertise Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult:

Although the Court ultimately concluded that Boldly was not a parody, the Court concludes that this csse is most analogous to the situation in Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp. In Leibovitz, the defendant was alleged to have infringed a famous photograph of a nude, pregnant  Demi  Moore  that  appeared on the cover of the August 1991 issue of Vanity Fair. The photo of Ms. Moore was itself “a well known pose evocative of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.”

As part  of  an  advertising  campaign  for  an  upcoming  movie,  the  defendant  commissioned  a  photographer  to  take  a  photo  of  another  nude,  pregnant  woman  in  a  similar  pose,  and  “[g]reat effort was made to ensure that the photograph resembled in metic ulous detail the one  taken  [of  Ms.  Moore]  by  [the  plaintiff],”  from  the  model’s  posture  to  her  hand  placement to the use of a large ring on the same finger.  The defendant’s photograph was then digitally enhanced using a computer to make the skin tone  and body shape more closely resemble that of Ms. Moore in the plaintiff’s original photo.  Leslie Nielsen’s face was superimposed on the model’s body, “with his jaw and eyes positioned roughly  at  the  same  angle  as  Moore’s,  but  with  her  serious  look  replaced  by  Nielsen’s mischievous smirk.”  The finished poster advertised that the movie was “DUE THIS MARCH.” 

The Second Circuit stressed that, “[i]n assessing the amount and substantiality of the portion used, [the court] must focus only on the protected elements of the original.”  Consequently,  the  court  reasoned,  the  plaintiff  “is  entitled  to  no  protection  for  the  appearance in her photograph of the body of a nude, pregnant female,” but rather  only  “the  particular  way  the  body  of  Moore  is  portrayed.”   

The  court  clarified that, “[e]ven though the basic pose of a nude, pregnant body and the position of the hands, if ever protectable, were placed into the public domain by painters and sculptors long before Botticelli, [the plaintiff] is entitled to protection for such artistic elements as the particular lighting, the resulting skin tone of the subject, and the camera angle that she selected.” The court ultimately concluded that the defendant “took more of the [plaintiff’s] photograph than was minimally necessary to conjure it up, but” that there was “little, if any, weight against fair use so long as the first and fourth factors favor the” defendant. 

As in Leibovitz, the Court must take care in distinguishing precisely those elements of the Copyrighted Works to which Plaintiff is entitled copyright protection.  Examining the cover of each work, for example, Plaintiff may claim copyright protection in the unique, rainbow-colored  rings  and  tower  on  the  cover  of  Go!  Plaintiff,  however,  cannot  claim  copyright over any disc-shaped item tilted at a particular angle; to grant Plaintiff such broad protection would foreclose a photographer from taking a photo of the Space Needle just so, a result that is clearly untenable under —and antithetical to—copyright law.  But  that  is  essentially  what  Plaintiff  attempts  to  do  here.    Instead  of  replicating  Plaintiff’s rainbow-ringed  disc,  Defendants  drew  a  similarly-shaped  but  decidedly  non-Seussian  spacecraft—the  USS  Enterprise—at  the  same  angle  and  placed  a  red-and-pink striped planet where the larger of two background discs appears on the original cover. Boldly’s cover also features a figure whose arms and hands are posed similarly to those of Plaintiff’s narrator and who sports a similar nose and eyes,  but Boldly’s narrator has clearly been replaced by Captain Kirk, with his light, combed-over hair and gold shirt with black trim, dark trousers, and boots. Captain Kirk stands on a small moon or asteroid above the Enterprise  and,   although  the  movement of the moon evokes the tower or tube pictured on Go! ’s cover, the resemblance is  purely  geometric.   

Finally,  instead  of  a  Seussian  landscape,  Boldly’s  cover  is appropriately set in space, prominently featuring stars and planets. In short, “portions of the old work are incorporated into the new work but emerge imbued with a different character.” 

(4) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The Hollywood Reporter summarized the court’s take on the last factor:

When it comes to Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, the judge concludes that it isn’t likely usurp its predecessor’s position in the children’s book market because ComicMix has targeted those familiar with both the Seuss and Trek canon with a work that includes some sexual innuendo (hello, Captain Kirk). The derivatives market is called a “closer question,” but the judge notes that Dr. Seuss has “introduced no evidence tending to show that it would lose licensing opportunities or revenues as a result of publication of Boldly or similar works.”

Judge Sammartino, finding this factor did not favor either party, invoked the Supreme Court’s statement in Fogerty v. Fantasy Inc. to justify ruling for ComicMix:

The Supreme Court has admonished, “[t]he primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.’   To this end, copyright  assures  authors  the  right  to  their  original  expression,  but encourages  others  to  build  freely  upon  the  ideas  and  information  conveyed  by  a  work.”   

Following the ruling an attorney for the losing side, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said the group was “considering all of its options, including an immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit.”

The text of today’s decision also revealed ComicMix originally planned to follow up Boldly with two other Suess/Trek mashups, “Picard Hears A Q” and “One Kirk, Two Kirk, Red Shirt, Blue Shirt,” whose fate is now uncertain.

[Thanks to Eric Franklin for the story.]

Philip K. Dick’s Life in Comics

PKD would have loved it — NBM Graphic Novels released Philip K. Dick, A Comics Biography on January 1.

Philip K. DICK: A Comics Biography

Laurent Queyssi, writer, Mauro Marchesi, art

One of the greatest writers in SF history, Philip K. Dick is mostly remembered for such works as Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall. His dark fascinating work centered on alternate universes and shifting realities in worlds often governed by monopolistic corporations and authoritarian governments. His own life story seems a tussle with reality, going through five wives and becoming increasingly disjointed with fits of paranoia and hallucinations fueled by abuse of drugs meant to stabilize him. His dramatic story is presented unvarnished in this biography.

NBM has a sample page online where Dick is in conversation with Harlan Ellison about Dangerous Visions.