Comics Lowdown | Seuss settlement scotches mash-up

Plus: Politician under fire for threatening cartoonist, Al Plastino’s house is for sale, and more!

Detail of Cover Art for Oh, the Places You'll Boldly Go!

Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the creators of a Star Trek-themed parody of the perennial graduation gift Oh, the Places You’ll Go have settled out of court, and the news is not good for mash-up makers.

Johanna Draper Carlson has a quick summary, with links, at The Beat: Former Star Trek writer David Gerrold and artist Ty Templeton mashed up the Seuss book with Star Trek characters and themes to create Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, which was supposed to be published by ComicMix. The famously litigious Seuss estate sued on grounds of both trademark and copyright infringement; the courts dismissed the trademark case in 2017, and in 2019 a judge found the book was sufficiently “transformative” and met the conditions for fair use. The Seuss folks appealed, and the parties settled out of court this week.

Cover of Oh the Places You'll Boldly Go!

ComicMix publisher Glenn Haumann stated that they agreed to the settlement because Templeton was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer earlier this year. Under the terms of the agreement, the parties involved agreed not to publish the book, and the Seuss folks agreed to drop any claims for damages or attorney’s fees. As Draper Carlson noted, “The ruling sets a precedent that mash-ups may not have legal protection, as the court found that simply putting two properties together wasn’t transformative enough.” Haumann presents his own account at the ComicMix site and notes that the book will be available in 40 years, when the copyrights expire.

Freedom of Speech: Brazilian Security Minister Aníbal Fernández is getting heat not just from press associations and the opposition but also his own party after he stepped over the lines in a Twitter battle with the cartoonist Cristian “Nik” Dzwonik, the Buenos Aires Times reports.

New York Comic Con

Calvin Reid posts a thorough article on New York Comic Con at Publishers Weekly, talking to the con organizers as well as the handful of comics publishers who chose to exhibit this year. Since most of the big publishers, with the exception of Viz Media and Yen Press, stayed away, the smaller houses had an opportunity to shine. Attendance was down from 260,000 in 2019 to 150,000 in 2021. Milton Griepp gives his take, including a comparison of the feel of this show to GenCon, at ICv2. Johanna Draper Carlson has her own account at Comics Worth Reading, and if you want to hear what yours truly thought, along with Johanna, Deb Aoki and Heidi MacDonald, check out our Four Women in a Zoom Room podcast

There’s Always Someone: Multiple retailers and attendees chose to disregard the mask requirement at NYCC, Billy Henehan reports at The Beat, including Invasion Toys, who were expelled from the show and posted about it on Instagram. According to organizers, several other exhibitors were asked to leave as well. Henehan also noted that mask compliance started strong but was pretty weak by Sunday.

Below the Fold

Illustration from Prof. Ivan Pintor Iranzo's lecture on comics

Today’s Longread: Grab your beverage of choice, get comfortable, and enjoy Prof. Ivan Pintor Iranzo’s lecture on comics theory, with illustrations, at Comics Forum.

House for Sale: “When you walk in, you can actually smell the turpentine” is not usually a recommendation for a house, but it’s a lingering reminder of the late Batman and Superman artist Al Plastino, whose house is up for sale, according to Newsday.

Reviews and Recommendations

A page from Tunnels

At The Guardian, Rachel Cooke describes Rutu Modan’s Tunnels as “as Raiders of the Lost Ark as reimagined by a feminist Hergé, with a few light top notes of Raja Shehadeh thrown in for good measure.”

Travis flips through Previews at The Atomic Junk Shop, looking for some good reads and wryly commenting on the rest.

Stergios Botzakis reviews Our Stories Carried Us Here, an anthology of first-person graphic stories about coming to the U.S., at Graphic Novel Resources.

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