Aliens? Conan? Here?!

Now, I know all about “character rights” and why we’ll maybe never get sweet tpbs of marvel GODZILLA and ROM, but…scrolling thru the DCI books, we got Wonder woman/ Conan and one of the Superman/Aliens/ Predators books. And I’m thinkin there’s a Batman cross-over as well. How is this? Can someone PLEASE shine some ever-lovin light on me?

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CPI owns the copyright to the current Conan stuff and can do what they wish with it, which is why Marvel is currently reprinting the Dark Horse Conan books in their own Epic Collections line and Dark Horse reprinted the Marvel stuff when they had the license. Digital platform rights are a bit fuzzier, but I have to assume Wonder Woman gave DC some bargaining leverage. I’m also curious to know if anyone has details.

The whole question of the rights to Conan (both the copyright and the trademark) is one that we could take a deep dive on, but I really just want a chance to post one of my favorite legal decisions: Conan Properties Inc. vs. Mattel, Inc.:

Conan’s job is quite interesting, at least by today’s standards: a “mercenary swordsman, … hetman of the kozaki who dwell along the Zaporoska River,”

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Such a fuzzy property! Someone is doin a book called the “Cimmerian”(?) and its a Conan book but they can’t SAY its Conan.

I would read a book that is nuthin more than Conan sues He-man, a 6, maybe even 12 issue mini, courtroom drama with an occasional beheading before reading one more stinkin $5 Batman spin-off book. That’s just me, just sayin…

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Charles Soule, Stuart Immomen, some sweet Johnny Workman letters, and, of course, Steve Oliff on hues

Another thing to consider is the idea of reprints are a relatively recent phenomenon – late 80s to early 90s – with digital even more recent than that, obviously. Lots of stuff was licensed with the understanding that comics were a largely disposable medium so reprinting the work was never considered in the contract. Many older licensed properties have run into this, but Wonder Woman/Conan is recent, so I assume someone thought about it and put it in a contract.

And Conan is a trademark, but most of the original Howard stories are public domain. So you can adapt them freely, but you cannot necessarily sell them as Conan™ stories because that’s a brand now, basically.

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