Friday, April 04, 2008

Superman's returns

Now on eBay, one of those legendary items that seldom ever comes up for auction: a copy of Action Comics #1, the 1939 comic that introduced Superman to the world. While Bill Gates wouldn't have to mortgage his mansion to afford a copy, the seller can certainly afford to take a year or two off work with the proceeds since a mint edition copy fetches at least $1 million.

This sale comes the same week as the heirs of Clark Kent co-creator Jerome Siegel won a federal lawsuit for a stake in Warner Bros.' franchise. (Variety reports that the ruling may jeopardize a sequel to "Superman Returns" as well as "Justice League.") Turns out that Siegel sold the rights to Superman for $130 and, though DC Comics later gave him $35,000 per year, he was forever miffed at losing out on all money from the franchise.

Now, I don't know anything about the circumstances of Siegel's original sale -- I really must get around to reading "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" -- but I disagree with this lawsuit ruling. Consider this analogy: If I sold my house and then it greatly appreciated in value, I wouldn't sue the current owner for my lack of foresight in not holding on to the property. Granted, it's not quite the same thing as intellectual property, but you get the idea. That said, Warner could have potentially averted all this a long time ago if they had thought to pony up some of that lucrative lucre to the family. They might wanna cozy up to the heirs of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster now...

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