Comics Lowdown | Marvel creators suit, CEO’s legal wrangles

Catching up with the Marvel court case, plus the latest on Ike Perlmutter, Scott Adams and Ben Garrison.

Cover of Marvel-Verse Black Widow, showing the title character wielding a glowing sword.

Marvel: In case you haven’t had time to digest the news that Marvel has sued several creators who had taken legal action to get the rights to their characters back, here’s the scoop from The Hollywood Reporter. If you have access, the New York Times talks to the lawyers on both sides.

Meanwhile, Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter has had a busy week. On Monday, the Military Times reports, the House Oversight Committee stated that Perlmutter and two others had “violated the law and sought to exert improper influence over government officials to further their own personal interests.” At the time, the three were “unofficial advisors” to Trump on Veterans Administration Affairs. Things went better for Perlmutter on Tuesday, when he succeeded in fending off a lawsuit by a neighbor, with whom he had quarreled over tennis courts, and who subsequently accused him of sending poison-pen letters to their neighbors and 1,000 prison inmates. If you like true-crime stories where all the crimes are petty misdemeanors, get comfy and settle in with THR’s coverage, which has plenty of links to the various tentacles of this story.

But wait! There’s more!: There’s another bizarre comics/politics story in the news lately: As Politico explained last week, Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams has somehow gotten tangled up in the Matt Gaetz sex-scandal-shakedown thing.

Cartoon of Uncle Sam looking sick and holding an American flag decorated with skulls and hypodermic needles. Caption: Vacci-nation: It's time to end the insanity. Cartoon is by Ben Garrison.

COVID skeptic gets COVID: The Daily Cartoonist has an update on the health of the right-wing political cartoonist Ben Garrison. Garrison, a Trump admirer and vaccine denier, told Gizmodo on Monday that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus, although only one of the four family members who had symptoms had actually gotten the test. Garrison is not vaccinated and said he was taking several treatments, none of which are shown to be effective and some of which are not safe either. Despite that, he announced on Wednesday that he and his wife “are 100% well and now have total natural immunity!”

Madness across the pond: The UK paper The Telegraph has suspended editorial cartoonist Bob Moran, the Press Gazette reports, after he insulted a palliative care doctor on Twitter and encouraged his followers to verbally abuse her, because she advocated wearing masks on public transit.

Cover of Third Planet vs. Crowne Plaza Hotel comic

Comic briefs: Comics are everywhere – even in court pleadings. The owners of Third Planet Sci-Fi and Fantasy Super Store sued the neighboring Crowne Plaza Hotel after fire extinguishers thrown out the windows by guests damaged their roof. And the pleading included a comic book setting out their side of the case – which, as writer Joel Jacobsen points out, is appropriate because telling their client’s side of the story is exactly what lawyers do.

The Biz

Cover of Spider-Man #5 showing Spider-Man running up the side of a building, being chased by a flying villain with claw-tipped tentacles.

Marvel moves on: IDW will lose its license to publish middle-grade Marvel comics and graphic novels at the end of the year, ICv2 reports. The kid-friendly Marvel Action line launched in 2018.

Elsewhere: Congratulations to The Comics Journal on their new, mobile-friendly web design!

Reviews and recommendations

Cover of Medal of Honor: Roger Donlon, showing the head and shoulders of Roger Donlon in uniform.

Local hero: The Leavenworth Times notes that a new graphic novel, published by the Association of the United States Army, profiles Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlon, who lives in Leavenworth. The comic is available digitally now and will be included in an anthology to be published later this year.

Expert opinions: At New York Magazine, Arielle Avila asks critics and librarians to name their favorite graphic novels and memoirs; the result is a list of 11 must-read titles.

Cover of Yummy: A History of Desserts, showing three sprites frolicking around an elaborate ice cream sundae.

Blatant self-promotion: I wrote a piece for SLJ about nonfiction graphic novels for kids that stray far from the usual topics. The concept in the back of my head was “Atlas Obscura, but comics.” Anyway, it was fun and I got to talk to some cool creators and read some good books. And at Publishers Weekly I took a look at graphic adaptations, which are huge and seem to be mining the 1980s and 1990s for source material – a Bunnicula graphic novel is in the works for next year!

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