Pixel Scroll 4/9/17 Ruler of the Pixelgram

(1) SUCCESSFUL CHARITY EVENT. Tom Edwards, one of the best cover designers in science fiction, teamed up with Parkinson’s UK and Keystroke Medium to raise money for Parkinson’s research. Three premade covers by Edwards, as well, as an editing package by Ellen Campbell, went to auction on April 8 and brought in almost 4000 pounds / $5000 US.

Sample cover

(2) FAKE NEWS PIONEER. His role was created to encourage U.S. support for Britain prior to America’s entry into WWII — “Louis deWohl: The Astrologer Who Helped Foil Hitler”.

Then, in June 1941, one of de Wohl’s more detailed predictions seemed to come true. “A strong collaborator of Hitler who is neither German nor a Nazi will go violently insane,” he foretold. “He will be in South or Central America, probably near the Caribbean Sea.” Three days later, U.S. newswires proclaimed that the Vichy High Commissioner of the French West Indies, Admiral Georges Robert, had gone insane and had to be restrained by staff. The New York Post reported that newspaper editors across America “besieged de Wohl with requests for exclusive stories.” The astrologer possessed a mysterious ability to know the unknowable, and millions of Americans wanted to know more.

The way it worked behind the facade was masterful. The British spy agency first fed information to de Wohl, which he would write up in his column. In turn, MI5 would then feed the bogus information to the U.S. press. Unable to fact-check details with the Third Reich, the American press would report the news as real, which it was not. For example, the Vichy High Commissioner of the French West Indies never went insane.

(3) TINGLE TIME AGAIN. Almost a year ago, UrsulaV wrote a series of tweets in the style of Dr. Seuss after Chuck Tingle played Vox Day, who had slated him onto the Hugo ballot. File 770’s unofficial motto is “It’s always news to somebody” – usually me – and besides, this news is practically fresh again, with Tingle renominated and pranking the porn author who replaced him on Vox’s slate.

(4) NESFA STORY CONTEST. The New England Science Fiction Association is looking for entries in its annual story contest.

Do you like to write science fiction or fantasy stories? Are you an aspiring writer, but not sure if you’re ready for the big time? Then you’re just the kind of writer we’re looking for! The New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA for short) is running a writing contest. Prizes include free books, and a grand prize of a free membership to Boskone. More important though is that we offer free critiques of your work. Our goal is to help young & aspiring writers to improve their writing, so you can become our new favorite writer! Check out our website for details:

http://www.nesfa.org/awards/storycon.html

We welcome submissions from everyone, in every country in the world (as long as it’s written in English, please!). Women, people of color, LGBTQ writers, and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to enter the contest.

(5) AH ROMANCE. The shortlist for the Romance Writers of America’s 2017 RITA and Golden Heart Awards was announced March 21. Here are the finalists of genre interest.

The RITA Award – “the highest award of distinction in romance fiction” — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas.

Paranormal Romance

  • Bayou Shadow Hunter by Debbie Herbert Harlequin, Nocturne Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor
  • The Beast by J R Ward New American Library Kara Welsh, editor
  • The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant Self-published Mary Moran, editor
  • Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood Harlequin, Nocturne Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor
  • Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella Montlake Publishing Alison Dasho, editor
  • The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre Self-published Sasha Knight, editor
  • The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy Kensington Publishing Corp. Peter Senftleben, editor
  • Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper Pocket Books Abby Zidle, editor

The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.

Paranormal Romance

  • “Beryl Blue, Time Cop” by Janet Halpin
  • “Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses” by Heather Leonard
  • “Constant Craving” by Kari W. Cole
  • “Fire’s Rising” by Grace Adams
  • “The Mer Chronicles: Love’s Diplomatic Act” by Kate Ramirez
  • “Soul Affinity” by A. Y. Chao

Award winners will be announced on July 27 at the 2017 RWA Conference in Orlando, Florida.

(6) MESSAGE FICTION. Bleeding Cool reports “Marvel Artist Ardian Syaf Hid Anti-Christian And Jewish Messages In This Week’s X-Men Comic”. The political background to the references is:

In Indonesia, 212 is the number used to denote a specific mass protest from 2nd December last year. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims marched against the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok,, over allegations of blasphemy regarding his use of the Qu’ran in campaigning against opponents. The march was organised, in part, with the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa. It was pretty hardline conservative and the protest demanded the government prosecute and jail Ahok based on the council’s fatwa, declaring him to be a blasphemer. This year, a 212 2.0 march with similar aims was held on the 21st of February.

(You can see the artwork at the link.)

The information comes from sources including this public Facebook post by an Indonesian comics reader:

Dear Marvel Comics My name is Haykal, I am from Jakarta, Indonesia And I would like to inform you something about your recent comics, X-Men Gold.

…I found out that on X-Men Gold comic, there’s a subliminal message of hatred towards minorities It was done by this person, a Muslim penciller from Indonesia https://www.facebook.com/ArdianSyafComicArt/

And he’s using your comics to spread hatred against non muslim minorities in Indonesia.

The “QS 5:51” on Colossus shirt refers to the Quran verse used by Muslim extremists to discriminate against the current governor which is also one of the governor candidates in the current election in Jakarta, Indonesia. https://quran.com/5/51

Bleeding Cool has since reported that Ardian Syaf was unwilling to discuss the issue with them.

Meanwhile, Marvel has made a statetment via Comicbook.com.

“The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings. These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken.”

Comicbook.com notes –

No further details were provided concerning how exactly Marvel will discipline Syaf. Preview art suggests that Syaf has already completed work on X-Men Gold #2, which releases on April 19. Syaf is also one of three announced rotating artists on X-Men Gold, along with RB Silva and Ken Lashley, so it may be some time before fans know for certain if he will returning to X-Men Gold.

And if you want to take a deep dive into this, Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson has a post up — Here is What Quran 5:51 Actually Says.

(7) TODAY’S DAY

Unicorn Day

What mythological creature has been more beloved over the centuries than the unicorn? Symbols of purity and enchantment, unicorns are loved by both children and adults alike and are integral parts of many fairy tales and legends. For all the roles they’ve played in literature, cinematography, and art as a whole, unicorns more than deserve their own day!

Unicorns were mentioned as far back as antiquity—ancient Greek writers believed they lived in the faraway and exotic country of India, which was then largely unknown to Europeans. However, the unicorn was then thought to be a powerful, fierce animal that was not to be meddled with. In the Middle Ages, the unicorn’s image was based greatly on Bible passages that were thought to speak of these animals, and unicorns slowly came to be seen as a symbol of strength, the purest kind of love, and the pets of virgin women. In fact, there is even a sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding a unicorn on her lap and patting it in Warsaw’s National Museum. Thus, unicorns have been appearing in works of literature for thousands of years. The most prominent more modern examples include Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Last Battle by S.C. Lewis. The whole immensely popular My Little Pony franchise is also based on unicorns.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 9, 1959 — NASA introduced the first seven astronauts to the press.

(9) BIG FINISH. The Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan interviews director Nacho Vigilando, whose film Colossal is a fusion of kaihu eige and romantic comedy that will be released this Friday.

Q: In that film [7:35 in the Morning], you critique the cliches of the movie musical by staging a song-and-dance number in a diner with seemingly ordinary people. “Extraterrestrial” plays with the tropes of the alien invasion movie. In “Colossal,” you do something similar with the genre of the monster movie. What’s so fascinating about genre cinema?

A: The moment in “Colossal” that sums up what you’re talking about is when Gloria calls her ex-boyfriend, because she wants to talk about this monster that is invading South Korea. And he responds by asking, “Why are you calling so late? That happened early this morning.” He thinks that means she has spent the whole day just sleeping. I’m really attracted to the idea of playing inside these sandboxes, in which everybody in the audience knows the rules. Our expectations of these films become part of the show somehow. I admire Superman, but am I a kind person all the time, the way Superman is? How can I relate to a character who has an “S” on his chest, since there are moments in my life when I behave like an a—— to other people?

(10) COUNTING THE PUPPIES. Greg Hullender has written up his analysis of the 2017 Puppy vote at Rocket Stack Rank“Slating Analysis: 2017”. He says, “I get a slightly higher number than you did: 88-118. I make up for that with some cool graphs.”

Now that the 2017 Hugo Awards Finalists lists have come out, we can estimate how many slate voters there were. By our calculations, there were between 88 and 118 of them. This is just slightly higher than Mike Glyer’s estimate of  “80 to 90”. When the detailed statistics are available in August, we’ll make a more precise estimate, using the methods we used in our article Slate Voting Analysis Using EPH Data: 2014-2016

(11) A THREE BLACK HOLE RATING. The Guardian shares Jay Rayner’s brutal review of Le Cinq, Paris, a Michelin 3-star restaurant.

Other things are the stuff of therapy. The canapé we are instructed to eat first is a transparent ball on a spoon. It looks like a Barbie-sized silicone breast implant, and is a “spherification”, a gel globe using a technique perfected by Ferran Adrià at El Bulli about 20 years ago. This one pops in our mouth to release stale air with a tinge of ginger. My companion winces. “It’s like eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocer’s,” she says. Spherifications of various kinds – bursting, popping, deflating, always ill-advised – turn up on many dishes. It’s their trick, their shtick, their big idea. It’s all they have. Another canapé, tuile enclosing scallop mush, introduces us to the kitchen’s love of acidity. Not bright, light aromatic acidity of the sort provided by, say, yuzu. This is blunt acidity of the sort that polishes up dulled brass coins.

Do you think we could get a Kickstarter funded if he turned his jaded eye in the direction of the Puppies Forbidden Thoughts anthology?

(12) CRETACEOUS TASTINESS. When you hear a bell, think of tacos — TriceraTACOs, that is.

(13) THE PLANE TRUTH. John Scalzi does not get enough credit for his restraint.

(14) IN MEDEA RACE. “The Ballad of Maui Hair” is practically a companion piece to “The Anthem Sprinters.” These tweets just begin to set the scene:

(15) SONG AND DANCE MAN. In 1993, Christopher Walken appeared on Saturday Zoo with Jonathan Ross (who later got uninvited as toastmaster of the 2014 Worldcon in historic record time.) Walken gave an inimitable reading of “The Three Little Pigs.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, and Rev. Bob for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]

224 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/9/17 Ruler of the Pixelgram

  1. On noping out of things partway through…

    My classic example of how full consumption can change one’s mind about initial impressions is C.J. Cherryh. It took me years to figure out that it was worth continuing to slog on through the first half a C.J. Cherryh novel because the second half would make the slog have been worthwhile. But I’m not going to fault anyone whose reaction is, “Nope, not going to bother” even though I think they’ll be missing some truly fabulous books.

  2. @Aaron: “They are not Marvel properties any more because Marvel literally sold them to someone else.”

    False. As rcade points out, Marvel has licensed certain rights (movie and sometimes television – Legion is part of the X-Men franchise) to certain companies, but Marvel retains ownership and all other rights. Go to a comic shop and pick up an X-Men comic – is 20th Century Fox represented anywhere? No, because they don’t own any piece of that.

    Now, go watch the opening of any X-Men movie. In fact, I just pulled up X-Men: Apocalypse, since it’s currently available through HBO On Demand. (I literally put the iPad down for a few minutes to check.) Hmm, there’s the Fox logo up front, then a couple more production logos, and right after the Bad Hat Harry one… listen! Hear that sound of rustling paper? Look, up on the screen – it’s an image of comic book pages flickering past, resolving into the Marvel logo. Whyever could that be?

    It’s because Marvel Comics owns the X-Men intellectual property. Fox just licenses it. If Fox abandons the franchise, the screen rights will revert to Marvel – just like they already have with Daredevil, Punisher, and Ghost Rider, all of which are now part of the MCU via Agents of SHIELD and the Netflix shows.

  3. I wouldn’t say they were “literally sold.” The characters were licensed to a studio, just like all Marvel super-hero movies before the company became a moviemaker.

    The arrangements are a little bit more than just licensing deals. Marvel sold the movie rights to those characters. The deals were literally “you now own the movie rights to these properties”. Spider-man, for example, was not originally sold to Sony, but ended up with them after the rights were repackaged and sold a few times between a few other buyers. Fox does not merely own the movie rights to the Fantastic Four characters, but also owns the movie rights to any new characters created in the “Fantastic Four universe”. The same is true for the X-Men franchise in which Fox not only owns all the X-Men and other mutants and any new characters created in that universe, but also essentially owns the term “mutant”, leading to Marvel engaging in all kinds of verbal contortions to avoid saying it in their properties.

    As I said before, it is a pedantic point, but it is kind of important. The Fantastic Four movies (and the recent Spider-Man movies) have, in part, been so slapdash because the studios owning them were contractually obligated to make them. There is a noticeable difference in quality between the movies produced by Marvel Studios and the movies produced by many of the various other production companies. Certain characters won’t appear together in movies because their rights are held by different rights holders, and so on.

  4. Airboy –

    I don’t understand how Ghostbusters got nominated for any reason over Miss Peregrines. Fantastic Beasts and Suicide Squad were much better than Ghostbusters. Leslie Jones’ character was the only one that was even likeable. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Ghostbusters was a movie that seemed to be beloved by critics far more than the movie going public.

    More people saw and enjoyed Ghostbusters than Miss Peregrines based on ticket sales (it was the highest grossing movie for Sony last year). Fantastic Beasts I haven’t seen yet but most Potter fans I know thought it was only okay. Suicide Squad though, really? Sorry bro but that movie sucked. Margot Robbie and Will Smith tried their hardest but it managed to screw up everything from plot to action sequences and had no flow to it, but it was also recut and reshot so much that’s not really a surprise.

    Both my wife and I found Ghostbusters fun, didn’t like it as much as the original but thought it was better than Ghostbusters 2. Not enough that I would’ve nominated it but others apparently enjoyed it enough to. One fun thing to note is that as Ghostbusters movies go, more ghosts were busted on screen in the move last year than the original two films combined! They managed to outwork their male counterparts and made less money doing so in the end 🙂

    But as far as SSF movies go I would’ve rather seen 10 Cloverfield Lane, and while I enjoyed Deadpool I’d put Captain America Civil War over it any day. But there’s also people who’d see those choices and go ‘How could someone nominate X over Y’.

    Different tastes.

  5. Go to a comic shop and pick up an X-Men comic – is 20th Century Fox represented anywhere? No, because they don’t own any piece of that.

    Because that isn’t a movie. Marvel sold the live action rights, not the print rights. This isn’t a licensing deal. They sold the live action rights to those characters and related material. The fact that those rights would revert to Marvel if they are not used doesn’t make it any less of a sale of those rights.

  6. @Aaron:

    Consider what you just said. First:

    Marvel sold the movie rights to those characters. The deals were literally “you now own the movie rights to these properties”.

    Quickly followed by:

    The Fantastic Four movies (and the recent Spider-Man movies) have, in part, been so slapdash because the studios owning them were contractually obligated to make them.

    Think about that. “Contractually obligated” – or what, exactly? What happens if the studios decline to make more X-Men and/or FF movies? (Spider-Man, as you appear to have forgotten, is a special situation.) I’ll tell you what happens: the movie/TV rights – the same ones you say the studios own – revert back to Marvel.

    Because the contract that specifies the obligation is a licensing deal. Not a permanent sale of rights. This is why, as I pointed out above, Marvel Studios (the ones who make the MCU movies and TV shows) has recovered the rights to Daredevil, Elektra, the Punisher, and Ghost Rider. The rights reverted.

  7. Because the contract that specifies the obligation is a licensing deal. Not a permanent sale of rights.

    You are now revealing just how little you actually know about property law. You should look up reversionary clauses in property sales before you try to speak on this topic again.

    This is why, as I pointed out above, Marvel Studios (the ones who make the MCU movies and TV shows) has recovered the rights to Daredevil, Elektra, the Punisher, and Ghost Rider. The rights reverted.

    That doesn’t make it any less of a sale. You seem to think a reverter can only exist in a licensing agreement. You are, quite bluntly, dead wrong.

  8. The deals were literally “you now own the movie rights to these properties”.

    I would still call that licensing. I appreciate that it’s a complicated contractual situation, particularly since it is having an impact on the comic books when Marvel is unhappy with a studio, but it doesn’t sound like ownership to me. John Scalzi wouldn’t stop being the owner of Old Man’s War if a studio bought the movie rights forever.

    Since you are well-versed on the Marvel movie situation, I’d like to ask a question: Is Marvel Comics downgrading the X-Men and mutants in favor of the Inhumans because it doesn’t own X-Men movie rights? As a comics fan going back to the ’70s I find it amazing that the X-Men don’t seem to be the company’s flagship property any more.

  9. @Aaron:

    At this point, I fail to see the difference between what you claim and what I claim, except in the words used.

    Fox has the rights to make X-franchise movies and TV shows. If they stop exercising those rights for a long enough period of time, Fox will lose those rights and Marvel Studios will gain them. The same is true for the Fantastic Four, and some variant of it is true with Spider-Man, although Marvel and Sony have a special deal going at present that makes that hard to unravel in more detail.

    You refer to that as a sale. I call it a licensing arrangement. Other than the term used to describe the arrangement, where do we disagree?

    Edit, @rcade:

    There is some speculation that Marvel is deliberately manipulating their comic properties to make the movie rights that are no longer in-house less valuable, thereby making it more likely that those rights will revert and Marvel Studios can incorporate the affected characters into the MCU. With the Fantastic Four, that seems to be the case; the team has been disbanded and the book is not being published. With Spidey, definitely not the case. With the X-Men, I doubt it. They’ve just launched a pair of new books, for one thing: X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold.

  10. @lurkertype

    90% of the hatred for “Ghostbusters” is because it stars women and doesn’t give a crap about the male gaze, let’s face it. If you didn’t like it for other reasons, good for you. If you claim you didn’t like it for other reasons but have shown a pattern of male chauvinism before, you may be lying. If you thought it was worse than “Ghostbusters II”, you have terrible taste in movies.

    A lot of the pre-release online complaints were just because of the all female casting and it sort of became a cause that had nothing to do with the movie. However there were many people that had other problems with it such as they did not want a sequel made at all or did not want a reboot or thought the director was a bad choice or did not like the casting because of non-female reasons or many other things. Also the movie failed to bring in women at the box office so it was not just men not wanting any women-folk in their movies that sunk it.

    As for the movie itself I would say it had one and a half good characters and a few funny jokes but that was not enough to carry the other two-thirds of mostly harmless pap. And I would say I liked it less then “Ghostbusters II” because I already had a connection with the characters even though the movie was a bit worse then “Ghostbusters 2016” which had to stand on it’s own.

  11. Since you are well-versed on the Marvel movie situation, I’d like to ask a question: Is Marvel Comics downgrading the X-Men and mutants in favor of the Inhumans because it doesn’t own X-Men movie rights?

    There isn’t absolute confirmation on this front, but that does appear to be what Marvel is doing. I have seen quotes from some Marvel writers saying they were told not to create any more characters in the Fantastic Four books, although those were anonymous. What we do know is that Marvel discontinued the Fantastic Four title in 2015. Could they be doing something similar with X-Men? Possibly. Chris Claremont went on record saying that Marvel had said not to create any more X-Men characters, but other Marvel writers disagreed. Marvel does seem to be de-emphasizing mutants in favor of Inhumans – ten of fifteen years ago, Ms. Marvel probably would have been a mutant, now she’s an Inhuman. Basically, the situation is such that such a shift is plausible, but it has not necessarily been confirmed.

  12. @ Rev. Bob

    Marvel can not afford to completely tank the X-men comics like they could with the Fantastic Four. However they have been trying to make the Inhumans take their place so they could be able to. So far it has not worked but they keep trying.

  13. Other than the term used to describe the arrangement, where do we disagree?

    You seem to think that Marvel owns something that they do not.

  14. @Aaron:

    If all we’re nitpicking is the use of the word “sale” to describe a transaction where the “seller” will get the property back if the “buyer” stops using it, pardon me while I laugh in your face. I couldn’t care less what word you care to use for that arrangement: “license” or “sale” or something else. It’s a temporary arrangement of indefinite length which will terminate under certain conditions, and when it does, the “seller” recovers the property. To me, “temporary” says it all: sales are permanent if left alone, so this isn’t a “sale” as normal people would use the term.

    Otherwise, if you perceive that we actually disagree on something of substance, please take care to explain in detail what that is and how the situation differs from this summary:

    1. Fox and Marvel made a deal in which Fox forked over some cash to Marvel, and in exchange Fox gets to make X-movies.
    2. If Fox stops making X-movies for a certain amount of time, they forfeit their ability to do so permanently. (Unless there’s a new deal, of course.)
    3. If Fox thus “abandons” the X-franchise, Marvel Studios will (re)gain the rights to make its own X-movies. This has already happened with the Daredevil/Elektra, Punisher, and Ghost Rider rights.
    4. Marvel’s name and logo is on every Fox X-movie, because the characters are owned by Marvel and not Fox.
    5. The X-movies are Marvel movies. They star Marvel characters and use the Marvel brand. Regardless of who writes the script or which studio shoots it, the core intellectual property on which it is based belongs to Marvel.
    6. The X-movies are not part of the MCU; they are not made by or in coordination with Marvel Studios.

  15. I used to think I owned my home.

    After 20 years and all the front-loaded interest payments it feels more like the bank owns me.

  16. To me, “temporary” says it all: sales are permanent if left alone, so this isn’t a “sale” as normal people would use the term.

    Well, then, you can go ahead and laugh, but it just shows you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. In fact, you’ve demonstrated quite ably in this thread that you are a complete ignoramus on this topic. Really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone be so certain of something they were so wrong about as you have been in this thread.

    The X-movies are Marvel movies.

    No. They are Fox movies. The fact that you don’t understand this tells me you are something of an idiot.

  17. No. They are Fox movies. The fact that you don’t understand this tells me you are something of an idiot.

    Why are you hammering him on this point when it’s a perfectly reasonable difference of opinion? If someone saw The Hobbit and called it a “Tolkien movie” no one would call them an idiot because MGM produced it. The property is, was and will forever be more associated with J.R.R. Tolkien than the movie studio that made an adaptation of it.

    Hell, there will probably be a new version of it within a decade, since Hollywood keeps making the same genre blockbusters over and over.

  18. @Aaron: “Well, then, you can go ahead and laugh, but it just shows you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. In fact, you’ve demonstrated quite ably in this thread that you are a complete ignoramus on this topic. Really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone be so certain of something they were so wrong about as you have been in this thread.”

    I asked you to show where our assessments of the operative facts differ, and all you can respond with is “HURR HURR YOU SO STUPID.” So, I’m gonna take that conspicuous absence of, y’know, facts and evidence to mean that we do not, in fact, disagree on anything of substance on this subject.

    You may go now. Try not to stain the carpet on your way out.

  19. @aaron
    They are not Marvel properties any more because Marvel literally sold them to someone else.

    Why isn’t “rented” or “leased” a more accurate term than “sold” here?

  20. If someone saw The Hobbit and called it a “Tolkien movie” no one would call them an idiot because MGM produced it.

    Yes. They would. Because it is not a Tolkien movie. It is an MGM movie. Christopher Tolkien, for example, would likely be incredibly annoyed if one were to call MGM’s adaptations “Tolkien movies”. Literary rights are different from movie rights.

  21. Why isn’t “rented” or “leased” a more accurate term than “sold” here?

    Because leasing a property is a different legal arrangement with different legal parameters than a sale. Among other things, every jurisdiction that I am familiar with requires that a lease (or rental agreement) be for a determinate term. The sale of the live action rights from Marvel to Fox (and various other holders) was not for a determinate term and so it cannot be a lease in most of the world.

  22. 3. If Fox thus “abandons” the X-franchise, Marvel Studios will (re)gain the rights to make its own X-movies. This has already happened with the Daredevil/Elektra, Punisher, and Ghost Rider rights.

    You keep harping on this, but it is entirely meaningless. The fact is that Fox owns those rights now, and that means that the movies they make now are Fox movies. Whether Marvel will own the rights again at some point in the future is entirely irrelevant. The fact that you keep coming back to this tells me that you really have no idea what you are talking about.

    Suppose you own a piece of land called Bob’s Farm. Suppose you sell it to someone else with a clause in the deed of sale that says if they don’t grow crops on that land for five years, it reverts back to you. Suppose they grow crops on the land, and sell them as “Crops from Bob’s Farm”.

    Are those your crops? Do you think that the fact that at some point in the future you might regain ownership of that land means that the crops grown now are yours?

    If not, why do you think the movies Fox makes now are Marvel movies?

    4. Marvel’s name and logo is on every Fox X-movie, because the characters are owned by Marvel and not Fox.

    No. They are on Fox’s movies because Fox bought the right to put that logo there.

  23. @Aaron Among other things, every jurisdiction that I am familiar with requires that a lease (or rental agreement) be for a determinate term.

    I have rented apartments on a month-to-month basis, with no determinate term.

    Black’s law: LICENSE “In the law of contracts. A permission, accorded by a competent authority, conferring the right to do some act which without such authorization would be illegal, or would be a trespass or a tort.”

    This strikes me as a much more accurate term than “sell” for how Marvel lets other companies use their characters in movies. Marvel has not “sold” (your word) the “properties” (your word); Marvel still holds copyright and trademark rights to them and they still own them. They licensed certain rights to other companies to make movies.

  24. Aaron, do you even understand the difference between licensing and selling rights? Because Fox can put logos on movies if they have the license for that logo. They don’t own it; they’re effectively leasing it. If the owner decides to license to someone else, they can.

  25. I have rented apartments on a month-to-month basis, with no determinate term.

    The determinate term in a month-to-month lease is one month. You have no rights that extend past one month and neither does your landlord. You can leave the property at the end of one month, and your landlord can kick you out at the end of one month.

    This strikes me as a much more accurate term than “sell” for how Marvel lets other companies use their characters in movies. Marvel has not “sold” (your word) the “properties” (your word); Marvel still holds copyright and trademark rights to them and they still own them.

    Not for live action movies. Marvel’s trademarks and copyrights for those characters do not currently extend to live action works, and arguably don’t extend to promoting or profiting from live action works. Sure, Marvel could have licensed the properties, but based upon the publicly available information (and the behavior of the parties involved), that’s not what they did. What they did was a sale of rights with a right of reversion. For example, Marvel has to share the revenue they gain from selling toys made from characters in the X-Men movies – which is one reason why Marvel has been making fewer toys related to those movies. If Fox had simply licensed the right to use those characters in movies, this probably would not be an issue.

    The key here is that Marvel does not own the live action rights to many of its print characters. These rights are currently owned in every legal sense of the word, by other entities. Marvel can’t make them give them back, take them back, or use those properties in a live action production in any way without the consent of the current rights holders.

  26. Aaron, do you even understand the difference between licensing and selling rights? Because Fox can put logos on movies if they have the license for that logo.

    Sure. The point here is that the Marvel logo isn’t on Fox’s X-Man movies because they are Marvel movies, but rather because Fox paid Marvel for the right to put it there. What do you think a license is if not a purchase of the right to use something?

  27. @Aaron:

    Let me make this as simple and clear as I can.

    I don’t care whether the correct legal term for the Fox/Marvel deal is “sale” or “lease” or “loan” or “cheeseburger with a side of onion rings.” It’s completely irrelevant. I get that the precise legal distinction is of paramount (Paramount?) importance to you for some reason, but I really don’t give a shit.

    Fox is making movies with some of Marvel’s characters. Those movies don’t interact with the Marvel Studios properties that have come to be known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

    For me, and for a whole bunch of other people, what makes a film a “Marvel movie” has nothing to do with who made it. We care that it’s a movie with Marvel Comics characters. That encompasses the MCU, Fox’s X-Men movies, Sony’s Spider-Man movies, the Punisher movies, the Blade trilogy, Fox’s Fantastic Four movies, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Elektra, Hasselhoff’s Nick Fury, the rubber-eared 1990s Captain America movies, Lucas’s Howard the Duck, and even the made-for-TV Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk stuff. They’re all Marvel movies. Even the lame ones.

    Because we care more about the characters than we do about the studios or the accountants. Marvel character equals Marvel movie. Simple as that.

    Deadpool‘s a Marvel movie. Watch the beginning; it’s got the animated comic-flip Marvel logo right there. Marvel movie. Not a Marvel Studios movie, not a movie that’s part of the MCU – but it’s a movie about Marvel characters, so it’s a goddamned Marvel movie nonetheless.

    You are free to disagree with that categorization. You can limit your definitions however you wish. Hell, you can probably find some way to define “Batman movie” so that it only includes the live-action 1960s movie with Adam West, and not even the recent animated movie where he and Burt Ward reprised their roles through voice acting, let alone the Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney franchise.

    By all means, you pen yourself in as narrowly as you wish. Just don’t tell me I’m “wrong” for using a broader definition. You don’t get to dictate my opinions or criteria.

  28. For X-Men, at least, the trademark for “Motion picture films about comic book characters in live action or animated adventure” is still owned by Marvel.

  29. That’s a renewal of an existing registration that I suspect predates Marvel’s deal with Fox. I traced it back to 2000, but the language suggests that it is considerably older than that.

  30. @Aaron: “Do you claim that the Dresden graphic novels are a Roc Books product even though they are currently published by Dynamite Entertainment?”

    Not once, in any of these posts, have I claimed that Marvel Studios made any of the X-Men live-action movies. 20th Century Fox made them. No disagreement there. Never was.

    What you just can’t seem to grasp is that you’re telling me I can’t call Ghoul Goblin a “Harry Dresden book” because Roc publishes the books and that’s a graphic novel. And that’s bullshit. Yeah, the Roc/Dynamite divide exists, but it’s still a book about Harry Dresden! Who cares whether the story is told in prose or with artwork?

    You’re equating “Marvel movie” with “movie made by Marvel Studios.” I get that. However, I’m equating “Marvel movie” with “movie starring Marvel Comics characters,” and that’s at least as valid a definition as yours.

  31. Rev Bob –

    You’re equating “Marvel movie” with “movie made by Marvel Studios.” I get that. However, I’m equating “Marvel movie” with “movie starring Marvel Comics characters,” and that’s at least as valid a definition as yours

    I can see that both ways, though mentally I’m like Aaron and if someone says we’re going out to a Marvel movie I’m thinking Marvel Studios. If it’s not a Marvel Studios pic than I usually like some warning to dial down my expectations 🙂

  32. @Matt Y:

    As I recall, what kicked this whole thing off was someone expressing surprise that there wasn’t “a Marvel movie” on the Hugo ballot this year. Someone opined that they didn’t think any of the three MCU movies merited it, someone else mentioned Deadpool, and suddenly we were off to the No True Mutant races over whether a movie about a Marvel character counts as “a Marvel movie” if it was made by 20th Century Fox rather than Marvel Studios.

    As far as I’m concerned, Marvel character means Marvel movie, regardless of studio. The Marvel Studios/MCU subset tends to be better, in my opinion, but I thought Deadpool was a blast. I loved that puppy right from the opening credits.

  33. @aron
    That’s a renewal of an existing registration that I suspect predates Marvel’s deal with Fox. I traced it back to 2000, but the language suggests that it is considerably older than that.

    But the point is, that at least up until 2012 (when the registration was renewed), Marvel owned the film rights to X-Men, despite Fox having made X-Men movies since 2000 (and per wikipedia, having had the rights to do so since 1994). If they had sold these marks to Fox, Fox would be listed as the owner.

  34. If I were still TAing classes in linguistic categorization theory, I would assign analysis of this entire comment thread to my students as homework. Instead, I simply suppress the urge to ask, “And is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?”

  35. Only in fandom would there be a 50-comment argument about whether a non-Marvel movie made using Marvel characters can technically be called “a Marvel movie”. 😀

  36. rcade: I asked Steve Rzasa on Twitter whether the “Saint Kurtzweil” reference indicated that he wrote Corroding Empire. His response.

    “editorial flourish”

    *snort*

    That’s some pretty intrusive editing.

    Interestingly, the earliest reference to “Saint Kurzweil” I have been able to find online is in the novella “Jury Duty and Appeals Court” by those dirty pinko commies Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, published in Argosy Magazine in May-June 2004 (although I believe that the two stories were actually published separately online prior to that).

  37. “Only in fandom would there be a 50-comment argument about whether a non-Marvel movie made using Marvel characters can technically be called “a Marvel movie”.”

    But IS it a non-Marvel movie? o.O

  38. They are on Fox’s movies because Fox bought the right to put that logo there.

    I haven’t read the contracts, but I’d be willing to bet that Fox did not buy the right to put Marvel’s logos on their movies, but rather agreed to the obligation to do so. It would be part of the compensation side of the contract — the credits — not the purchase of rights.

    In addition, it’s fair to call a temporary purchase of rights a license, even if there’s not a calendar end-date; most book deals work like this, for instance. Insisting that “sale” is the proper term rather than one of multiple functional terms is pretty shaky — is also bet that the contracts don’t say sake, but “grant of rights,” in part because of the implications of permanence in the word “sale.” [Note: a grant and a sale can both be permanent or temporary, but contract language evolves for quirky reasons.]

    A rights deal like these usually starts out with saying that party one desires to do X and party 2 has the rights to Y so they agree that Party two will grant to party one certain specified rights to Y for the purposes of doing X under certain conditions and in return for certain obligations and compensations. The result can be called a sale or a lease or a license or a variety of other things, and insisting only one of those is accurate is incorrect.

    It’s also true that people can talk about Tarzan movies or Star Wars movies even though neither Tarzan nor Star Wars are movie studios, and under that construction calling movies about Marvel characters “Marvel movies” makes sense, and so does calling movies based on Tolkien works “Tolkien movies.”

    And it’s true that, now that Marvel has its own studio division, calling movies made by Marvel Entertainment “Marvel movies” and movies made by other studios something else is also a reasonable use. Both are constructions that make sense.

    What doesn’t make sense is insisting only one of these constructions is true, like the guy who tried to tell me years ago that it was not accurate to call COMMANDO an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie because he didn’t direct it.

    AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is a Joss Whedon movie and a Disney movie and a Marvel movie and an MCU movie and a Robert Downey Jr. movie and a lot of other things; it depends on context.

    In the context of talking about movies featuring Marvel characters, DEADPOOL is a Marvel movie. In the context of talking about movies produced by Marvel Entertainment, DEADPOOL is also a Marvel movie, because they’re one of the production companies that made it, albeit not the primary one. In the context of talking about movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DEADPOOL currently isn’t a Marvel movie, but who knows what the future might bring? Universes are malleable things.

    But there’s nothing wrong with calling DEADPOOL a Marvel movie. It features Marvel characters and Marvel Entertainment helped make it. Insisting that the term “Marvel movie” only be used for movies set in the MCU only works if that’s the specific distinction that’s being made at present; it’s not the only functional use of the term. All of us old enough to remember a time before the existence of Marvel Entertainment’s MCU film slate can attest to that.

    More generally: As to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, is suggest people not draw too close a parallel between how Marvel handles them. Despite the fact that the deals are with the same movie company, they’re not the same deals, and so Marvel reacts to them differently. They involve different obligations, different compensation and so on.

    Marvel isn’t publishing an FF comic right now for reasons that are related the terms of the FF movie deal that don’t exist in the X-Men movie deal, so that’s why those terms affect FF but not X-Men.

    And Marvel isn’t boosting the Inhumans in hopes that by doing so they’d be able to cancel X-Men — they’d gladly rake in profits from both. They’re boosting the Inhumans in hopes of having another profitable franchise, this one free of entangling film deals, that they can use for popular comics, films and TV series licensing. And toys and computer games and so on.

    If it worked, they’d be glad, and they’d look around for another property to boost.

  39. The first actual movie I recall from Marvel studios was Iron Man in 2008.

    So when I saw the Marvel flicky-pagey logo before Blade in 1998, ten years before Iron Man, that was a only Marvel movie because Marvel Studios had never made a Marvel movie at that time.

    And then Hulk, Spiderman, X Men…

    And suddenly, when Marvel Studios starts making Marvel movies, those moves stop being Marvel movies. Marvel making Marvel movies has had a paratime effect, changing the earlier Marvel movies into Fox or Sony or New Line or whatever.

    It’s a chronoclasm.

  40. Lego is a mass noun, so has no plural. The plural of ‘Lego brick’ is ‘Lego bricks’.

  41. @Heather Rose Jones: “And is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?”

    It sure is.

    @Mark: “plural of Lego”

    According to the company, LEGO is a modifier, not a noun, in that context. Thus, “LEGO bricks”, “LEGO mini-figures”, et al. (And yeah, they do get formal about Lego vs. LEGO.)

    That said, I’d be willing to consider calling multiple elven minifigs a LEGOlas.

    @Kurt: “most book deals work like this”

    Excellent point. The last book contract I reviewed was open-ended in that respect. It specified a seven-year grant of rights that would auto-renew, but either party could withdraw with a 30-day notice.

    I think I’m gonna have to carve out time to rewatch Howard the Duck this weekend. Just because. 😀

  42. Lego(s) and the Hands of Fate.

    @Andrew M

    I could disagree on some spurious grounds, but that would be a brickman argument.

  43. The only appearance of Howard the Duck in a Marvel movie is in Guardians of the Galaxy.

  44. Legos as a plural of Lego seems to me to be an Americanism.

    The Supreme Eurocratic Bureaucracy tried to tell us that Euro the currency also does not pluralise as Euros, but we mostly ignored them in Ireland. Although people do call them yo-yos a lot, which may be a reaction.

    Back when they announced the name, I was disappointed, I was hoping for a more scientifictional currency: 3 Stars for a beer? Only 90 Planetesimals back on Pallas!

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