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Falling Companies

Old 02-19-21, 03:08 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger
The rumor floating around is that it's a group fronted by Todd McFarlane pitching the idea of licensing DC characters wholesale for the comic book rights. He has DC's toy license, so the rumor does make a little sense. Nicolas Cage may be involved as well.
Am I the only one worried that McFarlane wants to get the license to Sandman to spite Neil Gaiman?

Originally Posted by ddrknghtrtns
If Image could license Superman / Batman or Hellraiser, I wonder if Alan Moore would be interested again in writing the books?
I would put this at zero chance. Not only does he seem to harbor disdain for mainstream superhero comics, but he has retired from writing comics. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tempest and that anthology he did at Avatar, Cinema Purgartario, I think, were the last comics he's going to write.
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Old 02-20-21, 01:45 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Well, for one thing, the source on that is Ethan Van Sciver, which should probably send up a red flag to most reasonable people.

But on the other hand, I've been expecting one of the big two, either Marvel or DC, to stop publishing comics for a long time now. They are owned by huge entertainment conglomerates (Disney and Warners), and comic book publishing is really small potatoes as far as their bottom line is concerned, and you're just waiting for some bean counter to say "Why are we still publishing these things" and drop the Sword of Damocles.

Since the IP of both companies does have a lot of licensing value, they aren't going to dump them entirely (Superman and Batman are two of the best-known fictional characters in the world), but it is very possible that they could cease publication and license the characters out to other publishers.

So you might see Dark Horse getting ahold of the Batman franchise, Dynamite getting Wonder Woman (and endless Wonder Woman/Vampirella and Wonder Woman/Red Sonja crossovers). Looking at the upcoming solicitations for DC Comics and the flood of Bat-related titles, it looks like the cohesive DC Universe is becoming a thing of the past anyway.
If DC can't make their comic books profitable, why would another company want to license these characters to produce their own comics? It would cost Dark Horse or another comic company more money to produce Superman or Batman comics since they would have to pay licensing fees on top of same production costs that DC had to pay. I don't think DC would want to give up creative control on what another comic company does with their characters since DC would still be licensing out for toys and other merchandise as well as making movie and tv series revolving around the characters. Dc and Marvel probably look at their comics more as a loss leader to keep their characters in the public eye as well as to get storylines for future movies, tv, and animation.
Old 02-20-21, 02:20 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by movieguru
If DC can't make their comic books profitable, why would another company want to license these characters to produce their own comics? It would cost Dark Horse or another comic company more money to produce Superman or Batman comics since they would have to pay licensing fees on top of same production costs that DC had to pay. I don't think DC would want to give up creative control on what another comic company does with their characters since DC would still be licensing out for toys and other merchandise as well as making movie and tv series revolving around the characters. Dc and Marvel probably look at their comics more as a loss leader to keep their characters in the public eye as well as to get storylines for future movies, tv, and animation.
The myth is that DC making comics isn't profitable. That simply is not true at all. Like I mentioned before, their weekly floppies make money and their young adult graphic novel makes more money. So making money isn't the problem. The problem is that AT&T believes that they could make even more money by licensing the characters to another company and not having to hire people to do the work. It's the simple corporate bullshit idea that outsourcing is better as is cheaper for the company. AT&T will still own the IP and be able to license the characters as they've always done. This is exactly why mergers suck for the most part, specially with public companies. They just focus on the bottom line and making profits for the shareholders, without caring about the art, ideas or people that make things work.

Any company that gets their hands on Batman will make money. Same as with Superman, Flash and Wonder Woman if the licensing fee is not too steep. The main problem that AT&T will have will be about ownership of the stories. Lets say IDW gets to do Batman and create a new character and does a best seller story. Who will own that new character? Who will own that new story? DC or IDW? What happens if that character or story is brought to TV or movies? This is the part that AT&T doesn't get and Disney does. Disney sees Marvel as a content creator company division. So far that has paid off with a multi-billion dollar profit and counting. AT&T doesn't get this for some stupid reason and this goes back to before the merger. Content creation is one of the most valuable assets today and AT&T sure is mishandling this by not understanding what they own, which is not only something that came from their company culture, but something that also permeated at WB. Until this idiots understand what they have, we will continue to see this struggle and rash decision making that keeps happening.
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Old 02-20-21, 06:21 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
The main problem that AT&T will have will be about ownership of the stories. Lets say IDW gets to do Batman and create a new character and does a best seller story. Who will own that new character? Who will own that new story? DC or IDW? What happens if that character or story is brought to TV or movies?
With licensed comics, the ownership usually falls to the owner of the property and not the licensee. That's the Marvel Star Wars comic books ended up at Dark Horse, then the Dark Horse Star Wars comic books ended up back at Marvel.

As far as new characters go, in the past a new character introduced in a licensed comic book would remain the property of the copyright holder and the licensee. That's why Marvel introduced the Circuit Breaker character in Secret Wars II before her appearance in Transformers, and why Marvel UK introduced Death's Head in a standalone strip before he appeared in the Transformers UK comic book.

I would expect all of this to be worked out beforehand in the contracts. I would expect that if a company acquired the rights to a DC property, then any comics they produced would remain the copyright of DC Comics/AT&T, and they would probably want to keep the ownership of any new characters introduced in those comics. They probably wouldn't allow a publisher to do the same thing Marvel did with Circuit Breaker and Death's Head, and only allow DC-owned characters to appear in non-DC produced comic books. So if, say, IDW created a new character called Circle Jerk and had him appear in their Batman titles, DC/AT&T would want to have ownership of that character. Not only could Circle Jerk become a popular character, but having non-DC owned characters in stories could complicate a future move to another publisher.

I do sort of wonder what would happen to the backlist. If IDW acquired the Batman license, would that also include the extensive backlist? Would they put out their own editions of Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke, and other stories? Or would DC/AT&T keep the backlist, since it's easier to keep backlist in print than it is to produce new content.

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Old 02-20-21, 06:55 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
I do sort of wonder what would happen to the backlist. If IDW acquired the Batman license, would that also include the extensive backlist? Would they put out their own editions of Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke, and other stories? Or would DC/AT&T keep the backlist, since it's easier to keep backlist in print than it is to produce new content.
How common is it for Marvel or DC to outsource the graphic novels/omnibuses to smaller third party comic publishers?

The only cases of originally published DC titles I'm aware of which had the graphic novels outsourced to another publisher, were marginal titles which were possibly owned by somebody else. For example, the old Dungeons & Dragons comic series from the late-1980s -> early-1990s.
Old 02-20-21, 07:50 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
With licensed comics, the ownership usually falls to the owner of the property and not the licensee. That's the Marvel Star Wars comic books ended up at Dark Horse, then the Dark Horse Star Wars comic books ended up back at Marvel.

As far as new characters go, in the past a new character introduced in a licensed comic book would remain the property of the copyright holder and the licensee. That's why Marvel introduced the Circuit Breaker character in Secret Wars II before her appearance in Transformers, and why Marvel UK introduced Death's Head in a standalone strip before he appeared in the Transformers UK comic book.

I would expect all of this to be worked out beforehand in the contracts. I would expect that if a company acquired the rights to a DC property, then any comics they produced would remain the copyright of DC Comics/AT&T, and they would probably want to keep the ownership of any new characters introduced in those comics. They probably wouldn't allow a publisher to do the same thing Marvel did with Circuit Breaker and Death's Head, and only allow DC-owned characters to appear in non-DC produced comic books. So if, say, IDW created a new character called Circle Jerk and had him appear in their Batman titles, DC/AT&T would want to have ownership of that character. Not only could Circle Jerk become a popular character, but having non-DC owned characters in stories could complicate a future move to another publisher.

I do sort of wonder what would happen to the backlist. If IDW acquired the Batman license, would that also include the extensive backlist? Would they put out their own editions of Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke, and other stories? Or would DC/AT&T keep the backlist, since it's easier to keep backlist in print than it is to produce new content.
That's not necessarily the case. Also, Death Head appeared on a Transformers book (Transformers UK #113) before appearing on a Marvel UK one. Marvel has had issues before when they worked with licenses. For example, Bug from the Micronauts (and later Planet Hulk) seems to be co-owned by Marvel and Hasbro or something along those lines as James Gunn couldn't use him on the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Rom on the other hand is owned by Hasbro but all the stories from the Marvel run are owned by the company and that's why they haven't been able to reprint them at IDW. Same thing with the Marvel Godzilla run. Red Sonja was created by Marvel but they allowed the Robert E Howard state to acquire the immediate ownership of the character, which was then split into Red Sonja LLC and then purchased by company in the early 2000s. Marvel still has issues with the rights of Fu Manchu, which now has changed some reprints like the upcoming What if? Omnibus. Just look at the whole Mircacleman/Marvelman ownership issues. Marvel still hasn't been able to complete the reprint run of the Gaiman era. My point is that it's always been a case by case basis in regards to licensing and ownership in regards to characters and stories.

Originally Posted by morriscroy
How common is it for Marvel or DC to outsource the graphic novels/omnibuses to smaller third party comic publishers?

The only cases of originally published DC titles I'm aware of which had the graphic novels outsourced to another publisher, were marginal titles which were possibly owned by somebody else. For example, the old Dungeons & Dragons comic series from the late-1980s -> early-1990s.
Not clear on your question when you mentioned the DC D&D series. Marvel licensing graphic novels and collections is pretty common. For years they've been doing that with IDW as they have released the kids floppies and collections for Star Wars, Marvel and Disney properties. They also have licensed to IDW the newspaper collections for Spider-Man as well as the awesome Artist/Artisan Edition collections of many of their books. Marvel recently licensed back issue digest to Archie, which were the first Marvel books on newsstand in years. Disney also has licensed stories to Dark Horse for the Disney and Pixar properties and there's even a manga company that does a Nightmare Before Christmas comic book, although they haven't been released in a while.

Before the AT&T purchase, DC didn't do that much third party license with the exceptions of Artist/Artisan Editions to IDW as well as the newspaper collections for the Batman and Superman comic strips. The licensed to Graphitti Designs something similar to the Artist Editions called Gallery Editions. On the other hand, DC has collaborated much more with third parties like IDW, Dark Horse, and Dynamite in doing inter-company crossovers. In the past 10 years, DC has worked with Dark Horse multiple times, even releasing several Dark Horse crossover collections that are now out of print after Marvel acquired the licenses of Alien and Predator. DC also has worked with IDW in the incredibly successful Batman/TMNT crossovers as well as in the recent Batman/Maxx crossovers.
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Old 02-21-21, 03:10 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
My point is that it's always been a case by case basis in regards to licensing and ownership in regards to characters and stories.
In this day and age, I would expect any kind of agreements about ownership of new characters in licensed works to be worked out well in advance with an ironclad legal agreement just to avoid another scenario like Miracleman or Bug.


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Old 02-21-21, 07:57 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
With licensed comics, the ownership usually falls to the owner of the property and not the licensee. That's the Marvel Star Wars comic books ended up at Dark Horse, then the Dark Horse Star Wars comic books ended up back at Marvel.

As far as new characters go, in the past a new character introduced in a licensed comic book would remain the property of the copyright holder and the licensee. That's why Marvel introduced the Circuit Breaker character in Secret Wars II before her appearance in Transformers, and why Marvel UK introduced Death's Head in a standalone strip before he appeared in the Transformers UK comic book.

I would expect all of this to be worked out beforehand in the contracts. I would expect that if a company acquired the rights to a DC property, then any comics they produced would remain the copyright of DC Comics/AT&T, and they would probably want to keep the ownership of any new characters introduced in those comics. They probably wouldn't allow a publisher to do the same thing Marvel did with Circuit Breaker and Death's Head, and only allow DC-owned characters to appear in non-DC produced comic books. So if, say, IDW created a new character called Circle Jerk and had him appear in their Batman titles, DC/AT&T would want to have ownership of that character. Not only could Circle Jerk become a popular character, but having non-DC owned characters in stories could complicate a future move to another publisher.
I do sort of wonder what would happen to the backlist. If IDW acquired the Batman license, would that also include the extensive backlist? Would they put out their own editions of Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke, and other stories? Or would DC/AT&T keep the backlist, since it's easier to keep backlist in print than it is to produce new content.
Wouldn't Marvel have been the "licensee" and Hasbro have been the "licensor" in the case of The Transformers?
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Old 02-22-21, 06:24 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by movieguru
Wouldn't Marvel have been the "licensee" and Hasbro have been the "licensor" in the case of The Transformers?
Yeah, I typoed that.
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Old 02-22-21, 09:30 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
That's not necessarily the case. Also, Death Head appeared on a Transformers book (Transformers UK #113) before appearing on a Marvel UK one. Marvel has had issues before when they worked with licenses. For example, Bug from the Micronauts (and later Planet Hulk) seems to be co-owned by Marvel and Hasbro or something along those lines as James Gunn couldn't use him on the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Rom on the other hand is owned by Hasbro but all the stories from the Marvel run are owned by the company and that's why they haven't been able to reprint them at IDW. Same thing with the Marvel Godzilla run. Red Sonja was created by Marvel but they allowed the Robert E Howard state to acquire the immediate ownership of the character, which was then split into Red Sonja LLC and then purchased by company in the early 2000s. Marvel still has issues with the rights of Fu Manchu, which now has changed some reprints like the upcoming What if? Omnibus. Just look at the whole Mircacleman/Marvelman ownership issues. Marvel still hasn't been able to complete the reprint run of the Gaiman era. My point is that it's always been a case by case basis in regards to licensing and ownership in regards to characters and stories.
For Rom and Godzilla, the Marvel runs were set DEEP in their existing continuity. Unlike the original Conan-Red Sonja runs where they would occasionally dip into the Marvel Universe (either Marvel Team-Up or What If), Rom and Godzilla were treated like regular Marvel characters. Every issue of Godzilla had Dum Dum Dugan and SHIELD chasing after Godzilla like Javert tracking down Jean Valjean. In the end, Godzilla met the FF, Avengers and a Spidey cameo.

Rom also had frequent Marvel guest stars from the start. Dr. Strange, Jack of Hearts and eventually, the X-Men, Nova, Galactus, etc. It would be hard for IDW to reprint any of those stories without a major thumbs up from Marvel. Or skipping over issues that featured Marvel characters/situations.
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Old 02-26-21, 11:48 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by The Valeyard
For Rom and Godzilla, the Marvel runs were set DEEP in their existing continuity. Unlike the original Conan-Red Sonja runs where they would occasionally dip into the Marvel Universe (either Marvel Team-Up or What If), Rom and Godzilla were treated like regular Marvel characters. Every issue of Godzilla had Dum Dum Dugan and SHIELD chasing after Godzilla like Javert tracking down Jean Valjean. In the end, Godzilla met the FF, Avengers and a Spidey cameo.

Rom also had frequent Marvel guest stars from the start. Dr. Strange, Jack of Hearts and eventually, the X-Men, Nova, Galactus, etc. It would be hard for IDW to reprint any of those stories without a major thumbs up from Marvel. Or skipping over issues that featured Marvel characters/situations.
I'm glad that Toho allowed Marvel to reprint the run of Godzilla comics awhile back, and yeah, there were tons of Marvel superheroes/characters in that comic.

You can add Micronauts to the list as well, there were lots of interactions with Marvel characters in that run. It would have been amazing to see Bug in GOTG but the rights are just so damn convoluted. The characters that Mego created, Baron Karza, Biotron, Microtron, etc. are now firmly owned by Hasbro, but no one can seem to untangle the rights to Bug, Marionette, etc (the characters that had no existing Mego toys and were created by Marvel creators). I guess that's why instead of the Microverse in the MCU, we have the "Quantum Realm". I so wish we would have had the Microverse and the Micronauts showing up in the Ant-Man films, but alas, it's not to be.
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Old 02-26-21, 03:44 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

I forgot to mention that one of the properties that Dark Horse is making a lot of money on is with Avatar: The Last Airbender. With the announcement that Paramount + and Nickelodeon are going to develop more series and films, it led to DH to make a celebratory post on social media about their partnership.
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Old 04-04-21, 08:14 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
The company that is failing right now even though they are putting out a great product is IDW. Their finances have been in the red for the past 4 years. They spend too much money in licensing to Hasbro, Marvel, DC and others. They truly don't have that much IP themselves which puts them in a bad position. If they continue in this trend, I don't see them lasting more than 5 years as they need to make a profit at some point.
Hmmmmm .... interesting.

Recently I was thinking of ordering an IDW graphic novel which compiled three limited series, that was published a year ago. I went through the reviews on amazon of this particular title, and noticed tons of complaints about the binding falling apart and pages falling out.

If IDW in indeed in the red, it sounds like they may very well be cutting corners on some books to reduce costs.

There's another IDW graphic novel which I was thinking of doing a preorder on, which compiled an entire series of around 16 issues. Though in light of too many complaints about binding + pages falling out problems, I'll be taking a pass for now.

Old 04-04-21, 12:57 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by morriscroy
Hmmmmm .... interesting.

Recently I was thinking of ordering an IDW graphic novel which compiled three limited series, that was published a year ago. I went through the reviews on amazon of this particular title, and noticed tons of complaints about the binding falling apart and pages falling out.

If IDW in indeed in the red, it sounds like they may very well be cutting corners on some books to reduce costs.

There's another IDW graphic novel which I was thinking of doing a preorder on, which compiled an entire series of around 16 issues. Though in light of too many complaints about binding + pages falling out problems, I'll be taking a pass for now.

Which book is the one that has the binding falling apart? That used to be an issue with the first several Omnibus that Marvel and DC were releasing around 15 years ago. The issue with those books was that there were hundreds of pages in each but both companies decided to glue the pages to the binding instead of stitching them. The heaviness of the books led to the binding ungluing from the pages. The IDW book you are talking about may have the same issues.
Old 04-04-21, 01:10 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
Which book is the one that has the binding falling apart? That used to be an issue with the first several Omnibus that Marvel and DC were releasing around 15 years ago. The issue with those books was that there were hundreds of pages in each but both companies decided to glue the pages to the binding instead of stitching them. The heaviness of the books led to the binding ungluing from the pages. The IDW book you are talking about may have the same issues.
"Dungeons & Dragons: Days of Endless Adventure"

It's a 376 pages softcover book. The pictures on the amazon reviews, looks like it might be all the pages glued to the binding.

Old 04-04-21, 01:13 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

The preorder I passed on is a 432 pages softcover: "Dungeons & Dragons: Fell's Five".

I have the first arc of Fell's Five and the "origin story" issue floppies, but stopped buying the monthly floppies abruptly at the time.
Old 04-04-21, 01:28 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Tangentially related, recently I thought about playing Dungeons & Dragons again and looked at buying the current edition's basic three hardcover books: player's handbook, dungeon master guide, and monster manual.

What abruptly changed my mind, was coming across a youtube video where somebody is talking about rebinding the current player's handbook and how the binding was horrible. The player's handbook is used extensively, especially if one is playing a mage/wizard spellcaster type of character.

If pages are falling out so easily out of the basic three D&D books (on the market since 2014), then I'm guessing these 320+ pages hardcover books have all the pages glued to the binding. (With no stitching).
Old 04-04-21, 01:49 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by morriscroy
"Dungeons & Dragons: Days of Endless Adventure"

It's a 376 pages softcover book. The pictures on the amazon reviews, looks like it might be all the pages glued to the binding.
Not surprised that this is happening to that book. A lot of IDW releases from 2019 and 2020 have had either printing issues or binding issues. Don't know if it has been corrected as the pandemic hit and IDW has been a little quit about this.
Old 04-04-21, 02:02 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

TPBs falling apart isn't something new.

I remember in the 90s that TPBs from Caliber Press were notorious for coming unglued from their binding. While glued bindings aren't ideal in any circumstance, it comes down to the printers using substandard materials and/or binding methods. I've even seen a couple from other publishers that came detached from their covers over the years.

I've seen more than a few mass market paperback novels either come detached from their binding or shed pages.

I have heard that you can fix these books by heating up an iron and running it along the spines of these books (with the loose pages replaced, or course). Always meant to try it with my two Baker Street TPBs from Caliber.
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Old 04-04-21, 02:59 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
Not surprised that this is happening to that book. A lot of IDW releases from 2019 and 2020 have had either printing issues or binding issues. Don't know if it has been corrected as the pandemic hit and IDW has been a little quit about this.
I suspected this ^ wasn't just a one time recent botch with that "Dungeons & Dragons: Days of Endless Adventure" compilation.

I was also thinking about picking up the Gears of War graphic novels, until I saw that they were published by IDW over 2018 to 2020. Two omnibus volumes which reprinted the entire DC/Wildstorm series, and two more recent limited series published by IDW. (All softcovers).

Pass (for now).
Old 04-06-21, 05:18 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
In this day and age, I would expect any kind of agreements about ownership of new characters in licensed works to be worked out well in advance with an ironclad legal agreement just to avoid another scenario like Miracleman or Bug.
Marvel outright owns Bug and any other characters specifically created for their Micronauts series, FYI.
Old 04-07-21, 09:26 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by John Pannozzi
Marvel outright owns Bug and any other characters specifically created for their Micronauts series, FYI.
That's what I thought 10 years ago when Bug was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy but when James Gunn tried to have him on the first movie, he was told that Marvel doesn't own him and he couldn't be in it. I'm still not clear on who owns them.
Old 04-07-21, 10:03 AM
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Re: Falling Companies

At this time, I'm holding off on buying any further graphic novels and other scifi / fantasy type books. I was thinking of ordering an 800+ pages softcover omnibus published by Dark Horse, but decided against it for now.

I looked further at D&D books published over the past two or three years, where there were tons of complaints and user submitted photos on amazon reviews about crappy binding, pages falling out, misprinting, ink that smudges easily, etc .... due to a lack of quality control. Somewhat surprising considering D&D is owned by Hasbro, with its Wizards of the Coast subdivision doing almost everything in-house (and not outsourced). My older D&D books from the 2000s decade had decent binding and not many botched printings.

I'll wait until after I get fully vacinated and everywhere is open again, so that I can take a look for myself what an actual book looks like in person at nearby gaming/comic shops. (Some D&D books had special editions exclusive for gaming/comic/hobby stores).
Old 04-07-21, 12:51 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by Red Hood
That's what I thought 10 years ago when Bug was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy but when James Gunn tried to have him on the first movie, he was told that Marvel doesn't own him and he couldn't be in it. I'm still not clear on who owns them.
Did Gunn actually say that Marvel doesn't own Bug? I'd like a citation. From what I understand, Bug was recently used in the 2015 Secret Wars event.
Old 04-07-21, 01:17 PM
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Re: Falling Companies

Originally Posted by John Pannozzi
Did Gunn actually say that Marvel doesn't own Bug? I'd like a citation. From what I understand, Bug was recently used in the 2015 Secret Wars event.
https://www.cinemablend.com/new/Marv...axy-69024.html

Maybe Marvel can use him in comics but not in other media for some reason? I think the Micronauts comics that were non Marvel didn't have any of the Marvel characters.

He couldn't use the Badoon either because they are Silver Surfer characters and at the time licensed to Fox.

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