DC/Warner Bros. Shut Down Childhood Cancer Fundraiser

Rick Marshall

Rick Marshall was Online Managing Editor for ComicMix before joining MTV's SplashPage. Previously, he was Online Content Manager for Wizard Entertainment. He has written for several daily newspapers, alternative weekly newspapers, trade magazines and online media, and was named "Writer of the Year" by the New York Press Association in 2005.

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14 Responses

  1. Mike Gold says:

    Back in the days of the Chicago Comicon, we used to run a charity auction of original art to raise money for the Literacy Volunteers. Then-DC publisher Jenette Kahn was one of the auctioneers on a couple occasions. Then-Superman artist donated literally dozens and dozens of pages of Superman art. Frank Miller donated a half-dozen pages of work published by DC.I can't imagine what was going through their minds when they shut this effort down. I don't want to hear any bullshit about copyrights and trademarks; DC could have easily given them a license in exchange for a single dollar. Superman doesn't hate kids with cancer, but Time Warner certainly does. This is more than embarrassing. I can't imagine the folks at DC had anything to do with this; this had to be a Time Warner deal.

  2. Russ Rogers says:

    I think this article dovetails nicely with Elayne Riggs' column today about the color pink and charity. In the Pink, by Elayne Riggs http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/05/14/in-the-pi…Is this just synchronicity or do you folks coordinate this stuff?What sort of hoops would a person need to jump through to have DC sanction a charity auction like the one that got shut down? What charities does DC officially support, sponsor or endorse?By the way, if you go to the HERO Initiative web site, DC is conspicuously absent from their list of sponsors and partners. Why is that? http://www.actorcomicfund.org/ What would it take for ComicMix to become one of the HERO Initiative's esteemed partners? Does ComicMix have any charities that it officially supports, sponsors or endorses?

    • Mike Gold says:

      Good question, and a fair question.It's a little early for us to do that, but we've been discussing which and who quite a bit. Hero Initiative and CBLDF are at the top of the list, but when the time comes we'll do our due diligence. I've had a LOT of experience with 501(c)(3) organizations, and, like everybody else, we'd want to help out where we can do the most good.

      • Russ Rogers says:

        It might be early to discuss making a financial contribution to a charity. It's hard to be generous with the profits in a start-up company that hasn't made any yet! But I don't think you should underestimate the assets that ComicMix has! ComicMix has a growing library of the BEST free comics on-line. It has a growing fan-base. ComicMix is a cadre of insightful comics writers and artists, a battalion of columnists and reporters and a crack team of tech-wizards! Oh yeah, there must be some kind a right-thinking editorial guidance behind all this and charting the way toward even better things.For now, at the least you have a "bully pulpit" and I don't think you should be afraid to use it in support of whatever causes or charities you choose.A nice example of this is Rick Marshall's article: Gene Colan's Health Issues Prompt Industry Fundraising Efforts. http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/05/14/gene-cola…It's not just a news article, but there is a call for action there too. Thanks, Rick!

        • Mike Gold says:

          First, thanks for the kind words. They're really gratifying for us all — and virtually all of the ComicMix contributors read these comments… even, ahem, those who are on deadline… and we talk about 'em all the time.We've never been shy around here. Our columnists, myself certainly included, use the bully pulpit all the time. And Rick Marshall's made many excellent calls on news stories with an advocacy bent. We always endeavor to be fair and even-handed (Rick, Martha and I, at the very least, have been trained in the concepts of journalistic morality), and we strongly encourage people to comment on our stories. Even when you think we're full of it. Particularly when you think we're full of it.

    • Rick Marshall says:

      Russ,I was thinking about the timing of all these articles as I was writing them, but decided that it was better to get the info out there as early as possible than to delay them for the sake of spreading out what was somewhat overlapping subject matter. It was really just a matter of me coming across these stories and finding the time to write them all at once, and that moment just happened to be the same day Elayne wrote her column.Things work out that way sometimes, I guess.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    Kill the lawyers!

    • Mike Gold says:

      Kill the bureaucrats.Either artists own their artwork or they don't. If they own it, they can sell it or give it away as they please. And it can be resold or given away at whim. Appropriate copyright and trademark notices should be provided, but if you can't advertise the work you have for sale or auction, the artwork isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

  4. mike weber says:

    Peter David's story, in his "…but I Digress" column some years ago, about the DC types getting Very Upset when they discovered that the "Catwoman" they'd been posing for pictures with at a con was, in fact, a guy comes to mind…

  5. Rick Taylor says:

    Gotta love that!

  6. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I remember that column, but I don't think this is the same thing. That was a case of the folks at DC not wanting to be associated with something that is still considered a little…let's say "not quite family friendly", and over-reacting. All it would take is one easily offended Person With Morals to hear about it, and there's be another controversy.And you know this isn't DC either. This is somebody at WB being very literal and covering their ass. This is the same company that sent cease-and-desist letters to ten-year-olds for their copyright-infringing Harry Potter websites. The legal and corporate wizards do not understand fandom, and do not care to. They do not grasp the subtle distinction between the guy drawing a picture or writing a story because they like the characters, and the guy engaging in wholesale paracy. It's far easier, safer and cheaper to paint with a broad brush. Also, they fear all it takes is the WB turning a blind eye to one guy writing a Superman story for his fanzine for another person to claim they're not enforcing their copyright, and bang, they're in another court case.All this would take is a properly worded press release simply announcing the cancellation of the auction and a slow news day, and this problem would vanish like the morning dew.I can imagine that there have already been conversations about con sketching between DC and WB. Since they are still being done, I must assume that nothing has been demanded. Again, one artist drawing ten or twenty pieces of art at a con, not a plausible threat. But when they start getting sold on the web, now the market is much wider.It's another casualty of the Internet. Fanzines with a print run of a hundred or so are small potatoes, and can slip under the radar (or be plausibly denied) safely. But when a website with Superman art gets thouands of hits a day, that becomes a potential threat to copyright, and has to be addressed.I've always said they should draft a "fannish license" for lack of a better word, similar to Mike's suggestion. Pay us a dollar, include this paragraph on your story or website, follow these basic rules on income levels and general tone of art and story, and bang, copyright protected. A lot of movie sites make up web kits, which is close to that idea. Here's a library of art to use on your site, all permissioned and everything, go nuts.

  7. Russ Rogers says:

    Could Thomas Denton appeal to Jerry Siegel's heirs to use Superman's image for a charity auction? Do Siegel's heirs just get money out of the recent settlement, or do they have a share of control too?

    • Mike Gold says:

      Right now everybody's headed to settlement discussions so it's a sort of scary status quo.