Superman’s Siegel & Shuster Spawn Shafted

And other Friday randomnessAction_Comics_1

Aw Geez, Not This S*** Again- Looks like the long, strange saga of Superman’s ownership is finally over. Or is it? This bit has been resurrected more times than… well, more times than Superman himself.

On Thursday, the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (long since passed) lost their final appeal to regain copyright ownership of Superman, and with it a truck full of cash. Apparently a deal they struck in 1992 wasn’t enough (not to mention a deal Siegel and Shuster made in 1975), and they tried to take one more trip to the well before the Ninth Circuit shot them down.

There’s no denying Siegel and Shuster were ripped off by DC. They sold the rights to Superman for $130, now he’s worth billions. They and Jack Kirby are the poster children for the wholesale greed in the comic book industry, and all involved deserved a lot more money and recognition than they ever got in life.

That said, Siegel and Shuster are both gone, and DC did end up apologizing and giving them some small remuneration at the end of their lives. What do their heirs deserve? Zip. It’s been a shameful spectacle watching the Superman kids pick over their grandparents’ bones for money they don’t deserve generated by something they didn’t create. I’m not crazy about copyright laws in this country, but good for the Ninth Circuit. They got one right.

When Ultimate Was Ultimate– For my birthday, I got the first two volumes of Ultimate X-Men. Yeah, I know, cool story bro. But reading them reminded me how exciting the Ultimate Universe used to be. I know Mark Millar isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he did bring a vitality to the X-Men they’d been lacking for years.

Started in 1999, the Ultimate Universe had a simple premise – restart the Marvel Universe from day one, with a modern sensibility unencumbered with the decades of continuity the main line of comics had built up. Titles like Ultimate Spider-Man and The Ultimates made you feel like you were meeting those characters for the first time, even though they were 40 years old.

Eventually the line crumbled under its own weight. It got too complicated for its own good, and some titles suffered under some terrible artwork and writing. When Magneto destroyed New York and half its heroes with a tidal wave, you kind of knew the end was coming.

Now it’s here. Word is, at the end of Cataclysm, the line is coming to a close as Galactus devours the Earth. That’s harsh. But it’s not unexpected.

Perhaps in due time Marvel will take the Ultimate idea off the shelf again. As a playground for new ideas and characters, the Ultimate Universe stood apart. Marvel could use a little more of that experimental spirit nowadays.                                                  

Wrap It Up– It’s long past time for Superior Spider-Man to take a bow. The Freaky Friday concept – Doctor Octopus switches brains with Peter Parker, while the Parker brain/Doc Ock body combo dies (try explaining that in 10 words or less)—was novel at first, but it’s growing old fast.

Everyone knew writer Dan Slott wasn’t going to keep this up forever, but it’s been way too long already. Yeah, we get it, Octavius is Spider-Man, but Superior. They drill it into every issue. We got the point a long time ago.

To be fair, some plot twists, like Spider-Man brutalizing and even killing his enemies, were genuinely shocking. But it’s getting tired, and it’s time to bring Parker back to pick up the pieces of his life. Luckily it looks like Slott is firing up the third act, with Carlie Cooper ready to blow the lid off Ock’s scheme.

Have to say, it was a welcome curveball bringing in Miguel O’Hara, aka the Spider-Man of 2099. Maybe time to bring back his own title? With Peter David? I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire– Anyone seen it yet? I probably won’t be able to see it for a while. Reviews please! Even if you know how the book ends, it looks like a hell of a ride. Can’t wait to finally catch it.


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