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...So you just ran into this Aug. , 2009 , news story now , then ?????????

  I had already seen , later on , that trying to sqee-ee-zzzzee some more pre-Siegel'd bucks out of the copyright for one last Warner'd payday was the reason Warners' had rushed the latest Superman movie into production , relatively few years after " Superman Returns " had , at the very least , financially underperformed...

If I inderstand this correctly, the Siegels have the rights of the 1938 Superman. So they can only license the character with his original power levels only. Or must they share the Man of Steel with DC/WB? Do they have any say in any portrayal? It seems a weak hand as far as seperately marketing "their" Superman. 
Sorry...should have looked more closely at the dateline.
Here's a follow-up from last week: "Judge Rules for Release of 'Superman' Documents"
Philip Portelli said:
If I inderstand this correctly, the Siegels have the rights of the 1938 Superman. So they can only license the character with his original power levels only. Or must they share the Man of Steel with DC/WB? Do they have any say in any portrayal? It seems a weak hand as far as seperately marketing "their" Superman. 

I saw another article about those points yesterday -- I'll look for it later -- that indicated that the Siegels own elements of the character that existed before any "work for hire" was done for the forerunner company of DC Comics. So, theoretically, they could produce their own "Superman" comics, or strike deals for movies or TV based on that...

... that is, a Superman who doesn't fly, but can leap an eighth of a mile, can change the course of mighty rivers and bend steel in his bare hands; who, in his guise as Clark Kent, is a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Star under editor George Taylor; who doesn't have Lex Luthor as an antagonist; who wears a less-stylized circus strongman suit; who still loves Lois Lane; who never had a Superboy career because he didn't grow up in Smallville and, thus, doesn't know Lana Lang; and doesn't have kryptonite as a weakness. It was thought to be iffy if this Superman can have a "Fortress of Solitude"; Doc Savage had one before he did, so that might fly, but it might not.

What I wonder is this: Okay, this 1938 Superman can't fly and doesn't have the array of other powers that the Superman we know and love today has -- but does that mean he can't gain more abilities over time, if a new creative team saw fit to do so?
I would think an enterprising creative team would love to take on the stripped down, Siegel-Schuster Superman in a new series. Since he would be somewhat under-powered compared to many of the other heroes on the scene, this "new" Superman would work best as a stand alone character, as opposed to being shoe horned into an existing comic book universe. Dark Horse Comics? Jim Shooter? Just wondering ...

I've tried to find that article, and it doesn't say quite what I think it did ("Hollywood Heist: How a Burglary May Impact the Future of 'Superman...). However, there are plenty other articles that support what I wrote above, on legal blogs.

 

In short:

  • A federal court ruled that the Siegel family has some rights to some aspects of the Superman character, as described above;
  • The Shuster family's rights, which are pretty similar (as I understand it) kick in later;
  • The preferred solution would be for Warner/DC, the Siegels and the Shusters all work out some kind of settlement;
  • That can't happen because the lawyer representing the Siegels is playing hardball;
  • Said lawyer is appealing the court ruling in the hope that the higher court might read the law in a way that means the Siegels have rights to more elements of the Superman story;
  • Warner/DC is suing the lawyer representing the Siegels, basically accusing him of standing in the way of a solution in a power grab rather than representing his clients.

 

Here's a summary from Variety"Can Superman Be Split In Two?"

 

Here's an older (2008) article from an intellectual property lawyer's blog that gives more history: "Superman and a Super Copyright Battle"

 

And here's a roundup from TechDirt: http://www.techdirt.com/blog.php?tag=marc+toberoff&edition=tech...

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

doc photo said:
I would think an enterprising creative team would love to take on the stripped down, Siegel-Schuster Superman in a new series. Since he would be somewhat under-powered compared to many of the other heroes on the scene, this "new" Superman would work best as a stand alone character, as opposed to being shoe horned into an existing comic book universe. Dark Horse Comics? Jim Shooter? Just wondering ...

I agree. Set it in the 1930s and run with it!
IDW and John Byrne.

... or Walt Simonson.

 

And I like the idea of doing it as a period piece. Superman seems more workable set in a pre-WWll world. Have to wonder though, would modern readers buy into a 1930's setting?

...Just to start with some background here , I believe there's three " canon " versions of the Superman origin published in the 30s:

  The version in Action #1 (June 1938) .

  The version in the first weeks of the Superman newspaper strip (January 1939) .

  The version in the first Superman issue (June 1939) .

...The newspaper strip version was drawn , finished , in 1936 , IIRC , and is the earliest surviving Siegel-Schuster story of Superman .

  The versions of the the first Super-story are about , oh , 60% the same - But , the version in SUPERMAN #1 is , in to-day's language , " a director's cut " , the version S-S originally turned in to DC before DC decided that a faster start to the story was needed , with the ACTION COMICS #1 version the result of this .- The Super-Number One versdion starts with a two-page explanation - Remember , this was the very first time it was going to be published - of the origin , followed by a set-up for Superman seeking that newspaper job , revealing himself as Superman , and trying to see if a woman who is slated for the electric chair , for murder , is not guilty , as she claims she is .

  He finds that a nightclub chantoozie is , in fact , the murdereress , and goes leaping off with her to save the innocent...which is where the Action #1 version of the story proper starts .

  The Superman #1 version re-adds that part , six?? pages - And , brings back the longer version , explanation , of the origin .

  A shorter , one-page , version of the origin is Action #1's origin , the two-page version of it was done first , but published later .

  There is a line I started a ways back about the early Superman that could be profitably revived here , methinkseth !!!!! ( Hey - If we can have TWO lines about the upcoming DC revamping...)

  Doc , it's okay that you made this mistake , it's a happy/random accident/event .

  I think this version told me more , more clearly , about the precise legal power of that , particular , part of the lawsuit ( IIRC , the Sigels had already gotten the " Superboy " name/concept back . ) .

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