Maverick Is Their Name, by Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.

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30 Responses

  1. Jason Millet says:

    Listening to McCain in the debate refer to himself as a "maverick" makes me think that anyone who calls himself a "maverick" is automatically disqualifying himself from actually being one. Reminds me of George Costanza trying to get himself the nickname T-Bone…

  2. Rick Taylor says:

    Hey Martha, isn't it DENNY Colt?

  3. Brian Alvey says:

    Interesting trivia to learn that it's a family name, but very lame that they think they can pick and choose who gets to use what you said was a commonplace, unprotectable adjective that no one would ever imagine needed clearance to use.I want to hear the Banacek and MacGyver families griping next. What if someone did a show called Thomases?I think everyone named Earl needs to sue My Name Is Earl.

    • Martha Thomases says:

      I don't think they said they think they can pick and choose. They said they were "appalled." For myself, I can only say that when people refer to "Doubting Thomases," I feel kind of defensive.

    • Stephanie Chernikows says:

      The Mavericks never had any desire to sue! It is their right, even their duty, to point out the facts, and especially that the family does not support McCain. I suggest you look at the website and get your facts straight.

  4. Rick Taylor says:

    BTW – I know the Spirit is cast full of this weeks hot underfed tarts but I always thought young Eileen Brennan looked she was drawn by Eisner.

  5. Rick Taylor says:

    Speaking of state history. Growing up in Michigan, I used to really hate that we had to take state history in grade school but as an adult found it quite useful. I especially loved the native american stuff they taught us (imagine THAT! Someone seeing the importance in that). The map skills training came in useful, too. I have a pretty good sense of direction and seldom get lost.

    • Uncle Robbie says:

      Even when so advised?

    • Martha Thomases says:

      We had to take Ohio history and geography. I remember that Ohio was the 17th state to enter the Union, and there are these Indian mounds in the southern part of the state that look like snakes.

      • Rick Taylor says:

        I liked the native american legend that says the Great Spirit used his hand to steady the Earth when it was in turmoil that's why it looks like a mitt. How they knew what it looked like from space escapes me. I also liked the legend of the bear islands in Lake Michigan.

  6. John Tebbel says:

    When goods are falsely traded in the marketplace their value diminishes. If the public can be convinced that John McCain is a maverick, then a maverick isn't what it used to mean, and a user of English must fish farther from shore to find a word of real value. Who better to point this out in this case than the Maverick family?I know if my name were an adjective I would have a hard time not judging each public use and weighing it's accuracy according to my lifetime's association. And if it came into play in an election year, an important election year, I would have a hard time keeping silent. I for one appreciate their restraint in not letting us in on their opinion of Tom Cruise until now.That's all they're saying: "We're the maverick experts. This one's a counterfeit. Buyer beware."

  7. Chuck Neighbors says:

    Maury Maverick of San Antonio was an unreconstructed New Deal Democrat who served many terms in the House of Representative (see Wikipedia). For a knee-jerk GOOP (Grand Old Oligarch Party) like McCain to claim the name is worse than plagiarism; instead, it smacks of a form of hubris yet to be plumbed. And for "the great American hero" to claim his gibbering running mate Sarah Barracuda as a "co-maverick" isn't just laughable, it's bathetic.Chuck Neighbors, a reconstructed Texas Aggie

  8. mike weber says:

    And to make this a bit about comics, don’t you think the young James Garner should have starred in a Spirit movie? He looks exactly like Denny Colt.I certainly thought so, forty years ago…In fact, this is a lot about comics. Although I’m not current on the specifics of the law, I believe that the Maverick family does not retain legal ownership of their name for commercial use. By allowing it to be used so frequently and generically in the past, they’ve surrendered it to common usage.Actually, in the context that McCain is (incorrectly) using it, it's not a name, it's a noun derived from the name – if you didn't know, the original Texas Maverick (as Brett used to introsuce himself – "…of the Texas Mavericks.") was a rancher who didn't brand his cattle, and hence claimed ownership of all unbranded calves that turned up withhis unbranded cows. Which meant he got rather more calves than his cows produced. So an unbranded cow came to be called a "maverick", and hence the term means someone independent who doesn't automatically follow the herd…It’s not unusual for a political campaign to run afoul of a pop culture icon. Ronald Reagan famously angered Bruce Springsteen in 1984, when the president used The Boss’ “Born in the USA” as a theme song. Bruce was angry because not only did he not support the President’s campaign (and believed the use of his music implied support) but also because the President didn’t seem to know what the song was actually about.More recently, John Mellencamp and Jackson Browne have asked the McCain campaign to stop using their material. Browne took it to court.Not to mention the Wilson sisters complaining about the use of Barracuda at the Republican convention – apparently in a rather laboured reference to Palin's alleged nickname, "Sarah Barracuda".It's possible that Browne has a case, since using the song that way is much the same as using it in any other advertisement. If they used his actual performance of the song, then he almost certainly has a case; if they used a cover, it's a little shakier.Speaking of Barracuda (which is apparently about a record label exec), as with Born in the USA, i wonder if the RNC would have been so happy to use it if they'd known its genesis (from Wikipedia):In 1977 Heart's record label, Mushroom Records, fueled rumors that Ann and Nancy were lesbian lovers by running a full-page ad in Rolling Stone showing the sisters bare-shouldered and suggestively captioned, "It was only our first time". When a reporter suggested, backstage after a live appearance, that the sisters were sex partners, Ann returned to her hotel room and began writing the lyrics to "Barracuda" to relieve her frustration.

  9. Paul McCall says:

    I agree regarding Garner as the SPIRIT in the 50s or early 60s. Today I would have cast David Boreanaz (Seeley Booth on BONES). I don't even know who is playing Colt in the Miller film but the resemblance isn't there.

  10. Tyson Durst says:

    I'd say the Republicans and Democrats both care a lot about IPs because the US now has a cabinet-level copyright czar courtesy of recently passed legislation with some help from your friendly neighbourhood RIAA and MPAA.Didn't Dave Gibbons have a hand in crafting Watchmen? What about all the other artists Moore has collaborated with? I'm not a lawyer but I'm not sure if a writer could claim full rights on any project drawn by someone else.And if Moore didn't want films made, why'd he sign the contract? I support creator rights but at the same time shouldn't modern creators be expected to take a larger responsibility in protecting whatever their interests are and understanding the rules and conditions of a specific situation before jumping in?Isn't that kind of like blindly diving into an empty pool, breaking your neck, and then blaming the pool for being empty rather than simply opening your eyes in the first place and avoiding it entirely?

    • Alan Coil says:

      Tyson, when Alan Moore signed a contract for Watchmen with DC, it was to last for the time the book was in print. At that time, books didn't stay in print all that long, maybe a couple years tops. Watchmen is so good ans therfore so popular that DC hasn't let it go out of print.Oops.Oh, and by the way, did you see they are making plans for Watchmen II?

      • mike weber says:

        If they are making such plans, it sounds as if it won't be with the production team from this film.

    • mike weber says:

      Actually, the Copyright Czar legislation had only passed the Senate, so far, i believe.I think it was Will Rogers said we have the best government money can buy.

      • Tyson Durst says:

        Here's a link on the story.…It doesn't appear as if it will be held up at all as it's received bipartisan support and the RIAA and MPAA may very well be the most powerful lobby right now not only in Washington but in Canada and abroad. I'm just waiting for a series of ads starring Troy McClure telling us how AM/FM radio is evil piracy (something the RIAA actually believes) and public libraries are destroying the fabric of our society. And that breathable air should be subject to copyright.

  11. Tyson Durst says:

    But why is Watchmen and his other work treated as if Alan Moore alone is the only one who has a stake? Doesn't Dave Gibbons' opinion matter in the saga surrounding Watchmen?And you mean Watchmen 2 as a standalone movie? I think they should focus on getting the first one released and then the Internet can implode again when and if the exclusive movie sequel is officially announced. I've got lots of Moore's stuff on my bookshelf and I think he's a great writer but some things always bother me in a lot of Moore-related discussions. 1) Comics are a visual medium and he's worked with some fantastic artists to help realize his great scripts but it seems like it's only Moore's rights that are ever at issue when people are talking about his work.2) Reading about Len Wein (speaking of screwed, he created some guy named Wolverine) leaving editing duty during the original Watchmen run because, according to Wein, the ending was apparently borrowed from an Outer Limits episode that Moore allegedly admitted but didn't want to change. 3) Lots of Moore's work uses characters created by others and takes plenty of liberties with them; public domain technically but still characters created by others. But he then throws temper tantrums at the idea of other people interpreting his work into other mediums when a good chunk of his own catalog is based on doing just that.

    • Alan Coil says:

      1. Moore never demeans the artists. In fact, Moore hand picks his artists and shares with them the financial gains. If other people do not mention the artists, that is not the fault of Alan Moore.2. As I know nothing about this, no comment.3. The point is precisely public domain. Anybody can use public domain characters, but when a creator has used them in a specific way, the character has become a new character, and is thus out of the public domain. All the Watchmen characters are characters designed by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. They should have total control over those characters…except for that 'Oops' part of the contract, a contract that Moore feels is unfair. (I agree that the contract is legal.) The characters in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are variations on public domain characters, and thus should be protected from change by others. Except for another 'Oops' contract. Anybody is free to use the public domain characters, but not as Moore (and Kevin O'Neill) used them. The movie used Moore's characters, and added another. That is Moore's beef with that movie. Alan Moore's mistake was not getting iron clad contracts, a fate that befalls many creators.

      • mike weber says:

        In Green Lantern's case, Hal Jordan has to overcome his selfishness and self pity over the death of his father Martin Jordan which takes place early in the script. Hal Jordan for the first 20 pages or so is a prick.Did someone tell him that either his signature or his brains would be on that contract in five minutes?

  12. Tyson Durst says:

    1) That's why I said in discussions regarding his work. I completely agree with you that Moore supports his artists and is not at fault if they don't get mentioned. This is the small part that I took issue with:"Similarly, Alan Moore signed a contract that allowed DC to sell the movie rights to his works, Watchmen. Moore didn’t want the films to be made. Legally, he can’t stop the production. However, the graphic novel is his, the story and the characters are his…"That strongly implies that even if DC relinquished the rights to Watchmen that Alan Moore would get full rights with Dave Gibbons getting nothing and having no say. I don't think that would happen legally and I don't think it would be right in terms of creative rights in general.2) Wizard did a piece a few years ago interviewing Wein. I have yet to read accounts from others on the original Watchmen run that may refute or support Wein's claims.3) In 100 years, in a hypothetical scenario, should future creators be allowed to take the copyrighted stories and characters of today which have become public domain and then put another layer of copyright on their own takes? Would making the movies in 100 years make a difference? Should public domain exist at all? I’m not opposed to modern creators using public domain characters and stories; I just think there’re some interesting questions to consider because the concept of pubic domain in various mediums today is largely rooted in the past because the game has completely changed and continues to change.Realistically, media conglomerates change the equation quite significantly from previous centuries so it's unlikely that anything will fall into public domain as long as they exist to renew copyrights as legally defined "persons". Or maybe ideas and stories will evolve into something like open source software where stories are molded and remolded around the web by various people which is already happening to a limited extent. I dunno. Anybody have a time machine?