Comics Lowdown: Businessman wins against Marvel, DC Comics to use  the word ‘superhero’

Plus: assistant principal fired for Pepe the Frog book, new Madefire/DC Comics digital deal, and the hunt for H. G. Peter photos

When Graham Jules (pictured above) wrote his book, Business Zero to Superhero, he had no idea he would end up in a battle against the two largest comic publishers in the world. When his book was about to be published in 2014, he received a letter from Marvel and DC Comics claiming the word infringed on their jointly owned trademark since 1979. Jules, who also studies law, decided to represent himself in the case. A two-and-a-half year legal case ensued and this week, the two comic giants decided to drop the case for “commercial reasons.” The entrepreneur estimates that he spent a total of £200 and 200 hours in writing letters.

“This is an amazing result. It shows that even the little guy can achieve something with determination.”

It will not be surprising if his next book is about being a superhero of trademark cases.

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Zatanna heads back to school in ‘Mystik U’

New miniseries by Alisa Kwitney and Mike Norton re-imagines several of DC’s mystical characters as college students.

Everybody’s favorite backwards-talking sorceress is gearing up a return to college in Mystik U, a prestige-format limited series by Alisa Kwitney and Mike Norton that “will reimagine the lives of four of DC’s magic users in spectacular new ways.” It sounds like it could the spiritual successor to Gotham Academy, which recently wrapped up.

Mystik U is about a sheltered show biz kid (Zatanna), a bitter rebel (Sebastian Faust, son of Felix), a split personality (Enchantress), a competitive premed student (new character Pia Morales), and an awkward prodigy (Sargon the Sorceror) all discovering that they have the capacity to perform real magic,” Norton said. “They’re enrolled at a university for the magically gifted, where the world’s most powerful practitioners of magic will mentor their fledgling talents…and try to discover which of them is fated to betray the others and become a powerful force of evil.”

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Seeley & Molnar’s ‘Imaginary Fiends’ is coming to get you this November

New six-issue Vertigo series features aliens, murder and the creepy ‘Polly Peachpit.’

Hack/Slash and Nightwing writer Tim Seeley returns to horror for a new miniseries from Vertigo, Imaginary Fiends, which pits a young woman against a “hungry spectral alien” parasite that made her try to kill her best friend. Seeley will be joined by Star Trek artist Steve Molnar on the title.

Imaginary Fiends is a return to horror for me … a chance to tell a story about a broken person and her monster friend,” Seeley said in a press release. “But Fiends is darker, scarier and more fanatical than anything I’ve ever done. Stephen Molnar is providing some amazing artwork, and his Polly Peachpit is one of the creepiest monsters I’ve ever seen. I’m proud to bring this book to Vertigo and work with my friend and editor Molly Mahan—who is, fortunately, as far as I know, not imaginary.”

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Comics Lowdown: All is revealed!

DC announces their Writers Workshop participants, First Second unveils their Spring 2018 books, Viz licenses some new media, and Mimi Pond talks about her new book—and getting dropped from ‘The Simpsons’ because she was a woman

The Big Reveal: DC announced the names of the six writers who will take part in this year’s DC Writers Workshop: Magdalene Visaggio (Kim & Kim, Quantum Teens Are Go), Sanya Anwar (1001), Joey Esposito (Pawn Shop, Captain Ultimate), Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Last Sons of America, Warlords of Appalachia), Robert Jeffrey (Route 3, Radio Free Amerika) and Ryan Cady (Big Moose). Batman writer Scott Snyder will lead the workshop.

“It’s 13 weeks, and we meet for two, two-and-a-half hours online in a Brady Bunch-style box of windows. I teach it in such a way that it’s all superhero writing for DC. I try and make each week a lesson about a particular technique,” Snyder told Heat Vision. “My job is not to teach you how to write by formula for DC. It’s for you to come in and write the stuff you’re passionate about in your own way. I don’t care if that’s funny political, light-hearted, dark, whatever. Your job is to come in and have something to say. My job is to help you fit it into the rubric of superhero calculus and to help you maximize that story: look at where you should beef things up, slow it down, be aware of pacing. You need to come here and have something to say.”

At the end of the workshop, DC works with the writers to place them in writing slots for DC comics.

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Comics Lowdown: We’re all doomed! Or not!

A writer predicts the demise of Marvel comics, but the DC honchos are bullish on their medium. Plus: Sitting down with Los Bros Hernandez.

Let’s kick things off with some doom and gloom! At the Disney theme park fan site The Kingdom Insider, Thom Pratt asks “Will Disney Stop Publishing Marvel Comic Books?” Pratt makes some good points: The Marvel universe most people are familiar with comes from the movies, not the comics; the comics themselves are not really accessible to most people, both literally (because of the uneven distribution and quality of comic shops) and figuratively (because the storylines cross over and the continuity is complex); and the profits are low relative to what a large corporation like Disney expects. Of course, this is all unvarnished speculation, with no insider knowledge, but there’s food for thought here—and as Pratt points out, Marvel is already outsourcing its digests to Archie and its young-readers Star Wars comics to IDW.

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Comics Lowdown: TSA vs United Airlines – are comic books banned from flights?

Plus: Big Hero 6, DC saves the day, Graphix winners, Best comic shops in the US, Todd Klein’s SDCC, and Spider-Man mows a lawn!

Fly the confusing skies: While at the San Diego airport on Sunday morning, Twitter user @AdiChappo sent out a warning to other Comic-Con attendees about a comic book ban on flights. Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) suggested passengers needed to remove books from luggage for inspection, so this idea wasn’t out of the ordinary. Despite the fact that the pilot project was trashed due to civil liberty concerns, this was the message that greeted travelers:

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Frank Miller, John Romita Jr. team up for ‘Superman: Year One’

Miller surprises panelists at DC’s “Master Class” panel today to break the news.

Following the theme of earlier panels hosted by Dan DiDio, co-publisher at DC Comics, their “Master Class” panel at Comic-Con International today had a surprise guest — Frank Miller, creator of Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns and many other classic comics.

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Harley Quinn takes over ‘Batman Day’ for her 25th anniversary

The Joker’s main squeeze takes over for the Dark Knight on Sept. 23 with special comics and more.

DC Comics has declared a day in late September as “Batman Day” for the past few years, but this year the Dark Knight’s taking a back seat to one of his villains — Harley Quinn, who celebrates her 25th anniversary this year. Harley Quinn Day is slated for Sept. 23.

DC Comics made the announcement at the Harley Quinn anniversary panel today at Comic-Con International. According to the panel report on Newsarama, a free Harley Quinn comic will be available in comic shops.

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Young Animal books to cross over with DC Universe

Doom Patrol to meet the Justice League in January, courtesy of Gerard Way, Steve Orlando and ACO.

At Comic-Con International today, Gerard Way, curator of the Young Animal line at DC Comics, announced that Doom Patrol, Shade the Changing Girl, Mother Panic and Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye will cross over into the DC Universe, starting with the Doom Patrol meeting Justice League of America.

The first of the four-part crossover, Doom Patrol Special arrives in January after the line takes a brief hiatus that starts in October. This issue will be co-written by Way and Steve Orlando, with art by ACO and cover art by Frank Quitely. It’ll also feature Milkman Man:

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