The latest round of DC Comics related news and announcements circa January 21st – 23rd, 2013!
DC Comics and DeSanto unite for a creator owned series!
With the end of DC Comics’ “Wildstorm” imprint several years back as well as the recent diminishing of their “Vertigo” imprint, creator owned series of the sort that launched the careers of Brian K. Vaughan or Jeff Lemire are becoming more rare at DC Comics. Yet this month, one such creation has risen to the fore. Writers F.J. DeSanto and Todd Farmer team up with artist Federico Dallocchio to launch a six issue mini series called “Insurgent”. Once originally planned as a Wildstorm production, it is a standard DC Comics series even if it is not set in their mainstream superhero universe. The first issue debuted last week and a full rundown of the series was presented on January 21st at Comic Book Resources.
Described as “Blade Runner meets G.I. Joe”, the series is set in a near future in which the President has been assassinated, secret government technology and military programs have been unearthed and there is a real home grown threat against the union. Among them is the “Insurgence Program” which used nanotechnology to create a squad of super-soldiers, who have now gone off the grid. It is now up to lead character John Ravane to track down the soldiers one by one after his adopted daughter is kidnapped. The series will naturally expand on this world as well as the other super-soldiers, and one mysterious villain. Considering the ugly reputation DC Comics has gained over the past year in terms of the treatment of some creators, it is good to see the major company embrace an original work such as this.
Will Jimmy Olsen be a girl in “Man Of Steel”!?
Yesterday, January 22nd, website Digital Spy ran a rumor which stated that the film based website IMDB had listed actress Rebecca Buller as “Jenny Olsen” for its official page for Zack Synder’s “Man Of Steel” film. While the film hits this summer and Buller has been confirmed as appearing in the film, her role has been unknown. IMDB has been notorious for posting false rumors and casting confirmations, although the film – directed by Synder and produced by Chris Nolan – has been willing to make some interesting casting decisions thus far. Casting Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White was considered one by some.
Red headed photographer Jimmy Olsen has been a mainstay of the Superman franchise since his debut in the golden age. An unnamed office boy is seen in Action Comics #6, circa 1938, but the character of Jimmy Olson was originally created for the serialized radio program for Superman in 1940. The radio program of the time was influential in shaping the Superman myth; his weakness to Kryptonite is among the show’s most major innovations. Olsen thus appeared in Superman #13, circa 1941 and the “office boy” from 1938 was retroactively stated to be him. He’s appeared in virtually every Superman adaptation from radio to film to TV (live action and animation) and even had his own spin-off series which ran for three decades (1954-1974). Recasting the character as a brunette girl may offend some long term fans, but may be an attempt to add some diversity to the film’s major cast.
Warner Brothers has yet to confirm or deny this rumor. The irony of it was that among the many story tropes of Jimmy Olsen’s old spin off series was his ability to seamlessly go undercover for a story dressed in drag; was that the genesis of such a casting decision?
WB wins critical legal decision for Superman ownership!
The legal battle between DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers against the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel has taken a dramatic turn. Back in 2008, the Siegel’s attorney Marc Toberoff won a key copyright reversion decision which would have brought the rights to many of the Superman elements back to the estate of the Siegel estate. This would have meant more control and ultimately higher royalties. In a decision from January 10th, the 9th circuit appeals court has ruled that an agreement between DC Comics and Joanne Siegel – wife of Jerry who died last year – back in 2001 regarding ownership and royalties to Superman superseded the 2008 legal victory, making it meaningless.
While the financial rewards of this victory are huge – DC has less to fear about future lawsuits and splitting more cash with the heirs of Siegel and Joe Shuster – it has crippled their reputation a bit with some creators in the industry. This case has, if anything, inspired future creators to retain more control of their properties and even publish them elsewhere. DC’s “purchase” of Superman from Shuster and Seigel in the 1930’s for a paltry sum has often been debated and derided, and led to a 70 year legal struggle. With this ruling, that struggle may finally be nearing an end.
The ramifications of this proceeding have led the estates of other comic book creators – some represented by Toberoff – to consider similar legal proceedings, such as the estate of Jack Kirby. The results, however, of such proceedings have usually not fared much better for the creators.
Read last week’s DC Comics news here!