Tuesday, October 07, 2008

News: How the West was won?

According to Comic Book Resources Devil's Due Publishing will be independently distributing issues 16 and 17 of their guilty-pleasure horror hit Hack/Slash as Diamond will no longer touch those two issues. The reason:

The decision follows Diamond’s receipt of a Cease and Desist letter regarding the issues from an unknown, recently registered company, Re-Animator, LLC, in connection with Dynamite Entertainment’s Nick Barrucci.

Hack/Slash is featuring Lovecraft's famed mad scientist, Herbert West, in its latest story arc. Apparently Re-Animator LLC felt this infringed on their ownership of the character.

Re-Animator LLC, a company that seems to exist solely as a Delaware PO Box, was the company that sold the rights to Dynamite Entertainment when Dynamite was featuring West in their Army of Darkness comics. However, R-A LLC seems to have been created solely for the purpose of snatching up what may be a public domain figure, the character of West, and then "selling" it to Dynamite.

This comes as a bit of a surprise to horror director Brian Yuzna, who helmed the second and third installments of the Re-Animator film franchise. Yuzna was pretty sure that he owned the character of Herbert West. Here's an annoyed Yuzna from the article:

"It may seem crazy to Re-Animator fans to think that a company that had nothing to do with the classic films could actually claim ownership of the "Re-Animator" brand and threaten to stop anyone else from creating comics, films or merchandise with the word 'reanimator' or 're-animator' in it- even the actual producer of the films that created the brand—but in this wacky world that is exactly what has happened."

According to CRB, Yuzna has owned the Re-Animator film franchise, on which both comics based their respective Wests, for more than twenty years.

All of this might be moot: various factions of Lovecraft's estate have fought for years to close off his works from the public domain. Many argue that, under existing laws, the various feuding parties claiming to speak officially for the Lovecraft estate have long since blown their chances to keep the famed author's work under copyright. However, this nebulous claim hasn't prevent these groups from behaving as if their ownership was a given. They regular cut deals with publishers, threaten web sites posting Lovecraft's works, and so on. If any of these groups were to somehow gain the force of law for their currently BS claims, then DDP, Dynamite, Yuzna, and the flimsy R-A LLC would all be screwed.


Anonymous said...

lawyers.. always where there's money at stake.

CRwM said...

Screamin' Sassy,

They're like giant crocs and tourists that way - they make a b-line for the blood in the water and don't split until all the corpses have been thoroughly picked over.