Tagged: Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Law Is A Ass

Bob Ingersoll The Law Is A Ass #408


Sometimes I’m not here to tell you what went wrong with a story. Not what I usually do, but sometimes a story just gets the law right. Doesn’t stop me from writing about it. I can have as much fun explaining why the law works the way it was portrayed in a story as I can explaining why the law doesn’t work the way it was portrayed in a story. In fact, I can have more fun. When I write about why a story is right, no one gets mad at me.

Champions v2 #7 is one of those stories that got it right. For those who haven’t read it, the new Champions comic tells the adventures of some teenaged Marvel super heroes who teamed up after they became disillusioned with the behavior of the adult Marvel super heroes. Particularly their behavior in Civil War II.

I don’t blame them. I’ve spent long hours writing about how I’m disillusioned with the recent behavior of Marvel’s heroes. Only I didn’t limit it to Civil War II. There’s also Standoff, Death of X, Inhumans v X-Men, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and just about every crossover this side of Marvel’s first Civil War story. Or the other side of Marvel’s first Civil War  story, for that matter. (I’m looking at you Heroes Reborn.)

Anyway because they were disillusioned, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man (the un-Amazing Miles Morales version), and Nova left the Avengers to form the Champions. Other young super heroes joined them. Their goal was to become heroes who would not use excessive force or unnecessary death to accomplish their goals. (I presume Champions will still use necessary death; like when the book needs a sales boost, but maybe that’s just the cynic in me.)

After their first adventure, Ms. Marvel made a speech laying out the team’s manifesto. “We’re in a war for a better tomorrow. Join us. Help us to not take the easy road, and – I promise we’ll fight every fight they can throw at us. Help us win the hard way – the right way – not with hate, not with retribution, but with wisdom and hope. Help us become champions.” Videos of the speech went viral and made the Champions’ mission public giving them a manifesto destiny.

It also inspired other young people to do good things such as clean up beaches or build low-income housing. These people tagged their activities with the Champions’ C logo to show solidarity with the Champions’ agenda. So the Champions put their copyrighted logo into the public domain. That way anyone could use it when doing a good deed and promote the cause.

Now as this is a comic book story, we know no good deed – especially the good deed of a super hero team – goes … Well, I was going to say goes unpunished, but Frank Castle wasn’t anywhere near this story. Let’s say goes unopposed by a super villain team.

The super villain team du jour was the Freelancers, a team of super powered juvenile delinquents for hire. Usually by big corporations looking for someone to do their dirty work. Like shutting down protesters who were trying to block Roxxon from building an oil pipeline. Or displacing homeless people who were living in tents on land where some other corporation wanted to build luxury condos.

The Champions and Freelancers fought a couple of times until the Champions finally won a decisive victory. Or as decisive as any comic-book victory can be in an era where writers have discovered the phrase “To be continued!”

After their victory over the Freelancers in Champions V2 #7, the Champions learned two things. First, they learned there’s a SPOILER WARNING! coming. (As in I’m about to reveal the cliffhanger of Champions Vol 2 #7, so if you don’t want to know what it is, you might want to read something else; like Marvel’s original Champions series.) The second thing the Champions learned was that while they had put their copyrighted logo in the public domain, the Freelancers had received a trademark on the Champions’ C logo. Now the Freelancers were licensing the Champions logo for “huge amounts” of money to companies making, “Luxury goods. Gated communities. Cigarettes,” to undermine the Champions’ crusade and make themselves a fortune.

How could the Freelancers trademark the Champions’ logo, when the Champions had the copyright on it? Because like a lot of people, the Champions didn’t realize there’s difference between copyright and trademark. While both are part of what the legal profession calls Intellectual Property Law, they cover and protect entirely different things.

Copyright grants the creator of any creative endeavor the right to control who can make or distribute a copy of the work. Copyright is an IP protection for creators.

Trademark, on the other hand, is an IP protection for businesses. It means someone established a mark they use in their trade and have the right to dictate who can use the mark in their business. They can. Anyone they license it to can. But other businesses can’t.

Under current copyright law in America, a person gains a copyright in a work of art as soon as the artwork is completed. However, to obtain a trademark, someone must apply to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the mark. If the Office feels that the requested trademark is valid, it can award the applicant the requested mark.

Some things can be trademarked, even though the original copyright associated with the property has fallen into public domain. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s original novel Tarzan of the Apes fell into public domain in the United States many years ago. But Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. https://www.edgarriceburroughs.com still holds a valid trademark on the name Tarzan. So while anyone is free to reprint a copy of the novel, ERB, Inc. can prevent that reprint from using the trademarked name Tarzan on the cover.

In our story, the Champions owned the copyright on their logo and allowed it to go into public domain so others could use it to promote the cause. However, they forgot to get a trademark on the logo. So, unlike ERB, Inc., they don’t control their own logo. Instead the Freelancers control the Champions’ logo and are licensing it to any business that wants to spite the Champions.

The lawyer in me is amused by this story. Not only because it was perfectly correct in its portrayal of the legal system, but also because I can’t help but think it was inspired by the real-life legal dispute between Marvel Comics and Hero Comics over the trademark on the title Champions.

What trademark dispute? I may write about that one of these weeks. Just as soon as I figure out a way to make the topic entertaining. Remember, I said the lawyer in me was amused. But only lawyers would find a trademark dispute amusing.

Ed Catto: A Guy and His Lion – Tarzan’s New Logo

ERB logo lo rezMosaic LogoHollywood embraces certain heroic brands time and time again. I think Dumas’ Three Musketeers (spoiler alert: there’s really four of them!) holds the record for movies most frequently adapted from a story. But another property has been capturing fans’ imaginations for over 100 years, and he’ll be swinging into theatres again this summer.

The Legend of Tarzan debuts July 1st. This movie stars Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie and Alexander Skarsgard. Fans are hopeful. Of note, this movie opens with a “civilized” Tarzan in the city London. But the hardcore Tarzan and Edgar Rice Burroughs fans know there’s always something rumbling in the jungle.

In fact, I recently wrote about Tarzan: The Beckoning. Dark Horse is re-issuing the 80s miniseries by master artist Thomas Yeates. You can read my column here. But right now, I’d like to put on my metaphorical jungle pith helmet and explore a fascinating little story about iconography and corporate branding.

Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) created many memorable characters, but Tarzan is the most well-known. In fact, when ERB purchased land in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles from a former LA Times publisher, he named it Tarzana. I’m sure you will agree it’s a much cooler name than Sherman Oaks.

Margot-Robbie-as Jane Legend-Tarzan-Movie-2016Way back when, the famous illustrator J. Allen St. John created an iconic image of Tarzan and the Golden Lion (ERB fans know the feline better as Jad-bal-ja) that became an icon, essentially offering up a visual shorthand to the sprawling adventure stories.

Years later, in the 60s, ERB commissioned Roy Krenkel to re-create the image as a corporate logo. It was used as a logo for years and years.

But there was one problem. In many instances, especially when used on letterhead and the like, it looked like Tarzan was riding the lion!

This just wouldn’t do for Jim Sullos, the President of ERB, Inc. During Tarzan’s centennial celebration in 2013, he enlisted longtime Tarzan artist Thomas Yeates to create another version of this classic pose. But this time, Tarzan would be standing in front of the Golden Lion – as he did in the original St. John version – so there would be no confusion.

And beyond letterhead, email signatures and corporate reports, it’s only fitting that this logo will live on in Tarzana. ERB, Inc., working very closely with the Tarzana Community and Cultural Center, has announced the creation of a mosaic logo based on Thomas Yeates’ illustration.

The new logo is from a California based company called Vita Luxury Mosaics, and the mosaic artist is Gail Rotstein.
It’s nice to see comics artist like Thomas Yeates have his work honored with such an enduring corporate image. And the updated logo is a beauty.

“It’s wonderful to see my art turned into a mosaic,” said Yeates. “Hats off to Roy Krenkel and J.P. Monahan for their earlier versions of this image. Now I wonder how else Burroughs Inc. will use the new logo?”

And you thought the Nike or Apple logos were iconic.

Oh, one more thing – Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg are doing great work on the online Tarzan strip at the official Edgar Rice Burroughs site. Stop by and check ‘em out!

Ed Catto: Man from Marz, Still Kicking at 103

JCWoMVol1-CovTemp4SOlicitThis month’s Fast Company has a great article on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, detailing the hard work and innovative rule breaking he and his team put into managing that brand. Their backstory is as impressive as their success. And that property is just a little over ten years old. It made me wonder … just what are the struggles of substantially older properties?

So this week we shine the spotlight on long-time comics writer (and all around good guy) Ron Marz. One of the projects he’s working on now is writing the adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars in the ongoing Dynamite comic series. Here’s what Ron had to say:

Ed Catto: The characters and mythology of John Carter of Mars have been around for over 100 years. What kind of challenges and opportunities does that present to you?

Ron Marz: I think it’s seen by some people as an “old” property, but that’s almost entirely because of when it was written. That’s like saying “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” and “The Three Musketeers” are old properties. They’re all classic, archetypal properties that are evergreen, and I honestly believe John Carter is no different. It’s the basis of so much of our science fiction and fantasy tradition, even if people don’t realize it. I’ve said before that writing these characters was a lifelong dream, so I couldn’t be happier than to be mining this material.

EC: The whole world knows about Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “other” creation, Tarzan.  But John Carter has never enjoyed that level of recognition. Why is that?

JCWoM12-Cov-C-LupacchinoRM: Tarzan crossed over into the movies not long after his creation, and has stayed a movie staple ever since. There’s a new big-budget Tarzan film coming next year. Everybody has seen Tarzan movies, because that concept was a lot easier to translate to film than John Carter was. Any character becomes much more a part of the popular consciousness when it crosses over into mass media. I think Tarzan, along with Sherlock Holmes and Batman and Superman, are the most recognizable fictional characters in the world.

EC: I always thought the secret of John Carter was that these stories allow the reader to imagine himself as the new kid at a new school, but as the best athlete and with the prettiest girl. What do you think makes John Carter and Barsoom so enduring?

RM: Sure, there’s a big aspect of wish fulfillment to these stories, which is why so many people discover them at that magic age of 12 or 13 years old. But I do think there’s also an amazingly rich imagination to the stories. They’re a century old, but they’re not quaint or time capsules of a bygone era. They’re still vital because there’s so fantastical, in the true sense of the word, which is why you can see John Carter’s fingerprints on everything from Superman to Star Wars to Avatar.

EC: In your first story arc, you cleverly created a bad guy who was sort of the anti-John Carter. Can you tell us about that, and does this property suffer from not having stronger antagonists?

RM: That’s why I created John’s opposite number for the first arc. Even when reading the original novels, I felt like John didn’t often get a credible challenge. He didn’t have his Doctor Doom or his Joker. So in addition to introducing the characters and concepts, that was a main goal for the initial arc. I felt like we needed someone who was John’s equal on Mars, so the obvious answer for that was another Earthman. I’m really happy with the Captain Joshua Clark character. Who knows, maybe we haven’t seen the last of him.

EC: Dejah Thoris is a wonderful character but always seemed like the adolescent idea of a beauty – to be placed upon a pedestal. The way you present the relationship between Dejah and John Carter, especially in issues 7 – 9, comes across as a much more mature relationship. Is that your intent and does that come from being a middle-aged guy?

JCWoM01-Cov-E-LupacchinoRM: I think it comes from knowing strong women all my life, and wanting to portray that realistically, despite the fantastic setting. Dejah is still an ideal, she’s still the one everyone wants to marry, but hopefully she comes off as a little bit more of a real woman. She’s every bit the hero and warrior that John is.

EC: I really like the variant covers that are evocative of the old Marvel Comics. Can you tell us how that came about?

RM: Honestly, I have no idea. It was something that Dynamite put into place from the first issue. I’m a fan of the Marvel run, I have all of the original issues, and I actually have two copies of the omnibus hardcover collecting everything. Maybe those aren’t the best comics ever published, but they hold a place in my heart. I can remember picking one of the annuals off a spinner rack as a kid. So I’m glad the covers pay homage to that era.

EC: Are there any plans to continue this with covers that pay homage to the old DC, Dell/Four Color etc. covers?

RM: Not that I know of, but I like the idea. There’s such a rich history of Edgar Rice Burroughs in comics, reflecting that seems like a natural direction to pursue.

EC: I know you are working on some other Edgar Rice Burroughs properties. Can you tell us about them, how fans can get them and what your plans are?

RM: I’m doing weekly strips for the official Edgar Rice Burroughs site. I’m adapting The Mucker novels with Lee Moder on art, and writing new stories of Tarzan’s son, Korak, with Rick Leonardi on art. Both strips are being colored by Neeraj Menon. They’re Sunday-style strips, updated weekly on the site, along with almost 20 other strips based on Burroughs material, everything from Tarzan to John Carter. The first four episodes of each strip can be viewed for free, and then a monthly subscription is only $1.99, so it’s a pretty amazing bargain. People can get the strips by going to http://www.edgarriceburroughs.com/comics/

EC: Great stuff, Ron. Thanks for your time!


Mike Gold, Stripper – An Occasional Series

Wow, that sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? But as you might surmise from the accompanying artwork, those of us who are into newspaper comics strips are often called “strippers.” This is either self-deprecating or sophomoric. But there must be a lot of us, because there seems to be about a half-dozen high-quality reprint books being issued every month. Which means I am: a) happy, and b) broke.

In order to protect my ever-shrinking finances, I was going to pass over Titan Books’ Tarzan In The City of Gold, reprinting Burne Hogarth’s work from 1937 to 1940. This is because NBM reprinted all of Hogarth’s Sunday Tarzans (and the Hal Foster stuff that preceded it) back in 1994. I have those books, although I don’t fault Titan for putting the material back in print twenty years later. Besides, the NBM books were limited to 300 copies. But Titan fooled me and sent me a review copy, bless them. They truly understand the fanboy’s middle initials are “O.C.D.”

I’m glad they did. The book starts with Hogarth’s first effort, sort of mid-story although a thorough recap is provided. The reproduction is sharper, the volume is bigger, the cost is much lower, and the design is more attractive. The indicia says this is part of “The Complete Burne Hogarth Library,” which implies eventually they’ll be reprinting his short-lived, hard-to-find but even more amazing adventure series, Drago, as well as his even harder-to-find humor series Miracle Jones.

Tarzan has attracted the efforts of a great many of comics’ finest artists, including (in politically convenient alphabetical order) Neal Adams, John Buscema, Frank Frazetta, José Louis Garcia-Lopez, Mike Grell, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Joe Jusko, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, Roy G. Krenkel, Russ Manning, Grey Morrow, Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, and Tom Yeates. That is breathtaking. That is amazing. That is adjective-defying. And, in many circles, Hogarth’s work is regarded as the best of the lot. Personally, I couldn’t make a choice if my life depended upon it.

Hogarth is properly regarded as a true master of the medium, and even though it reprints his earlier work, Tarzan In The City of Gold shows us how he earned that reputation. He revisited the property in 1972 with an original hardcover graphic novel (thereby stirring up the “who did the first graphic novel” debate decades later) adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ seminal Tarzan of the Apes. Four years later, Hogarth did a sequel adapting four of Burroughs’ prequel short stories published as Jungle Tales of Tarzan. Perhaps these titles will be part of this series as well.

Be warned. I’d kill for Drago.

Tarzan In The City of Gold by Burne Hogarth with Don Garden, Titan Books, 208 pages, $39.95 hardcover.



Free Burroughs Strips

You can now Free Sample Strips of each of our All New Comic Strips Series – written and drawn by well known artists/writers.  Strips include THE WAR CHIEF™, CARSON OF VENUS™, TARZAN™, ETERNAL SAVAGE™ and CAVE GIRL™ all for FREE! Check ’em out HERE and see what you’re missing if you’re not yet a subscriber!

All New Strips are created just for the site, added to weekly, and available when you subscribe for only $1.99/month. Click on any sample strip to see full size. Subscribe now to receive Bonus Materials: Original drawings and sketches from all our artists.

Tarzan Swings in the Funny Pages

With Tarzan’s adventures beginning their second century, Dark Horse Comics and IDW Publishing are bringing back some of the Jungle Lord’s greatest comic strips in new collected editions.

Arriving in comic shops July 31:
George Carlin (Writer) and Hal Foster (Art)

Beautifully restored and printed at giant size, this first volume in Dark Horse’s comprehensive collections of Hal Foster’s Tarzan Sundays reprints over one hundred strips on high-quality paper and in eye-popping color, replicating their appearance when they were brand new! Featuring historical essays on Tarzan and Foster, this astonishing volume is a must for every collector! Collecting every Tarzan Sunday strip from September 1931 through September 1933!

* From Hal Foster, creator of Prince Valiant!
* Introduction by Mark Evanier!

Hardcover, 15″ x 20″, 120 pages, $125
Age range: 12
ISBN-10: 1-61655-117-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-61655-117-9

Learn more about Dark Horse Comics’ Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan: The Sunday Comics 1931-1933 HC here.

Coming December 2013:

IDW Publishing is proud to announce that the Library of American Comics will be collecting comics legend Russ Manning’s classic run with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ King of the Jungle in 2013! TARZAN: THE COMPLETE RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS is a four-volume series. The first three volumes will chronologically collect all of Manning’s daily black & white and full-color Sunday strips from 1967 to 1974, while the fourth volume will collect the remaining Sunday strips, which Manning continued to do until 1979.

“The addition of Tarzan to the Library of American Comics amplifies even further that the imprint is the premier archival home for comic strip reprints and collections,” says IDW’s President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein. “Russ Manning’s Tarzan run is one of the real highlights of the modern age of adventure strips and we are extremely excited to be the home of its long-anticipated return to print.”
The series of hardcover volumes will commence May 29th with Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, Vol. 1: 1967 – 1969. Fans will be treated to the first-ever collection of a historic turning point in Tarzan history: when Russ Manning was handpicked by the Burroughs estate to return the strip to its creator’s original vision. Manning put together a dream team of assistants in this historic endeavor, including future comics greats Dave Stevens, William Stout, and Mike Royer, creating one of the most loaded rosters in comics history, and a perfect opportunity for new fans to discover the adventures of Viscount Greystoke.

In his introduction to Volume One, William Stout writes, “Russ Manning was a natural storyteller. He may also be one of the most underrated writers in comics. His beautiful art is so captivating that it’s easy to understand how it might overshadow his scripts. He was as adept with telling Tarzan tales in contemporary Africa as he was setting Ape Man stories in dinosaur-infested Pal-ul-don.”

Reproduced from the Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. file copies, fans can expect TARZAN: THE COMPLETE RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS to receive the same critically acclaimed, award-winning treatment that Dean Mullaney, The Library of American Comics, and IDW Publishing have become renowned for.

Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips, Vol. 1: 1967 – 1969
HC, B&W, $49.99, 288 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-61377-694-0

Learn more about IDW Publishing’s Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Volume 2 (1969-1971) here.

Learn more about Tarzan here.
Learn more about Edgar Rice Burroughs here.


Who’s That Girl?

Art: Diana Leto

Artist Diana Leto shared in-progress preview art for the upcoming Cave Girl online comic strip, premiering Friday, July 19th and coinciding with the ERB Inc. San Diego Comic Con panel and the original novel’s centennial celebration. Diana Leto and writer Martin Powell will have promo cards, sketch cards, and a painting to raffle off at the convention.

Don’t miss the debut of THE CAVE GIRL by Martin Powell and Diana Leto, from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Subscribe now at http://www.edgarriceburroughs.com/comics/

The War Chief Premiers!

Art: Nik Poliwko

Art: Nik Poliwko

THE WAR CHIEF premieres LIVE from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Incorporated!

New Pulp creators, Martin Powell (writer) and Nik Poliwko (artist) bring Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The War Chief to the internet. The first strip is now live.

Tune in now for the start of a new weekly comic strip based upon Edgar Rice Burroughs’ historical novel of life and death during the final days of the Apache Wars. It is the fascinating adventure of Shoz-Dijiji, born as Andy MacDuff, and raised as a proud Apache. An honest and sympathetic portrait of Native Americans, ERB drew from his real experience living among them during his early years before becoming the world’s best-selling author. Burroughs himself considered THE WAR CHIEF his best and personally favorite novel among his nearly one hundred books.

Art: Nik Poliwko

Also Featuring the All New Weekly Comic Strips:
TARZAN OF THE APES™ by Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg
CARSON OF VENUS™ by Martin Powell, Thomas Floyd, and Diana Leto
THE ETERNAL SAVAGE™ by Martin Powell and Steven E Gordon
THE CAVE GIRL™ by Martin Powell and Diana Leto — Starting in July!


Art: Nik Poliwko


Art: Nik Poliwko

Starting June 29th, writer Martin Powell and artist Nik Poliwko bring Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The War Chief to life in a new webstrip from Edgar Rice Burroughs Comics.

For only $1.99 per month you can subscribe to Edgar Rice Burroughs comics, featuring these All New Weekly Comic Strips:
TARZAN OF THE APES™ by Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg
CARSON OF VENUS™ by Martin Powell, Thomas Floyd, and Diana Leto
THE ETERNAL SAVAGE™ by Martin Powell and Steven E Gordon
THE CAVE GIRL™ by Martin Powell and Diana Leto — COMING IN JULY!

Don’t miss the Adventure at www.edgarriceburroughs.com/comics.

Art: Diana Leto


Art: Nik Poliwko

Starting June 29th, writer Martin Powell and artist Nik Poliwko bring Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The War Chief to life in a new webstrip from Edgar Rice Burroughs Comics.

For only $1.99 per month you can subscribe to Edgar Rice Burroughs comics, including the all-new Tarzan comic strips by Roy Thomas and Tom Grindberg, Carson Of Venus by Martin Powell, Thomas Floyd, and Diana Leto, and The Eternal Savage by Martin Powell and Steven E Gordon.

Don’t miss the Adventure at www.edgarriceburroughs.com/comics.