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Disney Sends Cease and Desist Letter to Creators of a Comic That's Already Ceased and Desisted

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Friday, December 07 2012 and posted in News with Benefits
Disney Sends Cease and Desist Letter to Creators of a Comic That's Already Ceased and Desisted

Was anyone expecting more Starstruck material? Apparently, Disney's lawyers were.

Source: Steven R. Bissette's blog

Comics history is littered with examples of creators and publishers engaging in disputes over who owns what. Characters and concepts, and the copyrights and trademarks that go along with them, seem to be claimed by just about anyone who can get a line on a couple of dollars they feel like they need to protect (usually, it's a publisher who ends up victorious in these cases). 

Earlier today, artist/creator's rights watchdog Steven R. Bissette pointed out an unusual claim made by Disney, who sent a cease and desist letter to Elaine Lee and Michael Wm. Kaluta who created Starstruck, a science fiction series once published by now-Disney-owned Marvel Comics. More specifically, the series was published by Marvel's Epic line of comics, their home for creator-owned comics (as well as some stories featuring Marvel's own stable of characters). Being that the series was creator-owned, Lee and Kaluta were able to bring the series to other publishers, including Dark Horse and most recently, IDW. According to Lee, the cease and desist letter asserted that the series is owned by Marvel and Disney, not the creators. Starstruck was published by Epic in the mid-1980's, but it originated a few years before that at a couple of other houses, including Heavy Metal, for a time. 

Bissette posits that the whole matter may stem from a trademark issue. Disney released a movie called Starstruck a couple of years ago, and a red flag involving a comic series with the same name that was briefly controlled by one of their subsidies before it was one of their subsidies was set off. It's as good a theory as any. 



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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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