– After a two issue leave of absence, Jim Lee returns to art duty on JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 alongside series writer Geoff Johns, and he won’t return empty handed. A mysterious new villain has been designed by Lee and will debut in May in an arc titled “THE VILLAIN’S JOURNEY” according to the official solicitation (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/mystery-justice-league-villain-jim-lee-tease.html). A bit on the nose, isn’t it? A new rendition of Darkseid proved to be the series’ opening villain in the New 52 era. This character’s identity is unknown, but the design seems to vaguely resemble a White Martian, who have historically been evil and were featured at the start of Grant Morrison’s iconic run on JLA over a decade ago. This would be a bit odd as Martian Manhunter himself has been removed from JUSTICE LEAGUE and has instead been cast in STORMWATCH. JUSTICE LEAGUE has returned to being one of DC Comics’ best sellers every month, rivaled (or occasionally topped) only by DETECTIVE COMICS.
– The rights to Superman once again continue to spiral along in legal proceedings, with Warner Brothers seeking to appeal prior rulings in open court – seeking a full trial as opposed to settlements (http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/warner-bros-wants-rights-fight-with-superman-heirs-decided-in-court/#utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter). A 117 page appeal was filed with the 9th circuit court late last week which naturally seeks to challenge prior rulings regarding the ownership rights to Superman. The case has cycled along for roughly a decade, with the estate of Jerry Siegel capturing half the rights in 2008, with the estate of Joe Shuster set to do the same next year – the year “MAN OF STEEL” hits theaters. WB had sought to release the film before 2013, but that proved impossible. “This long-running dispute should be brought to an end,” were the stern words from WB’s appeal, which claim that Laura Siegel Larson, the heir to the Seigel estate, “reneged” on a copyright deal ironed out by WB. While this case will have no impact on the film next year or any sequels, it all boils down to WB (and DC Entertainment) continuing to haggle over royalties to the families of the creators of the iconic hero. Joanne Siegel, wife of Jerry Siegel who was also the inspiration for Lois Lane and kept calling on WB to treat the family fairly, died last February. WB won a legal round over first amendment rights with the lawyer to both estates, Marc Toberoff, and likely seek to roll the dice again. A trial in open court could be risky; it is difficult to imagine a jury of peers siding with a huge corporation over two long denied families during a historic recession. Neal Adams, who all but single handedly shamed DC and WB into paying out royalties to the families in the late 70’s after the first film debuted, could make for quite an interesting witness. Naturally, a threat of trial and added costs to it could also be a maneuver to force a new settlement proceeding which WB would favor. In August, this column will have run three years, and the Superman legal battle has been a reoccurring story for that entire time; it would be foolish to assume it will vanish anytime soon.
Last Week’s DC Comics News – http://nextooze.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-3-20-12-green-arrow-tv-pic-cartoon-trailers-wondercon-report
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://nextooze.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-3-27-12-womanthology-ongoing-tmnt-movie-outcry-rip-al-ross
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://nextooze.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-3-20-12-wondercon-new-capt-marvel-x-treme-x-men-more