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DC Takes Legal Action Against Mark Millar's Nemesis

This really shouldn't be a surprise.


 Hmm...will anyone notice any similarities?
Back in December, details were revealed about Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's next project at Marvel entitled Nemesis.  The familiar looking new character was described as "What if Batman was the Joker?" and "What if Batman was a total c***?"  The image seen was a combination of Batman and Heath Ledger's Joker.  The question I had was what would DC think about this?
 
Now we know.  Bleeding Cool has reported that DC has taken legal action over the image.  In the March Solicitations for Marvel, a cover image for Nemesis #1 was not available despite the image having already been shown.  Apparently the cover had to be changed and there wasn't time to have it ready for the solicitations.  It's unclear how much of an affect this 'legal move' will have on the overall book.
 
Are you surprised by this move?  Do you think Mark Millar actually thought DC wouldn't have a problem with this image and description or was it part of a publicity stunt?  We'll have to check out the book in March to see if the character's nature remains true to his original description.
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Posted by Son_of_Magnus

Good for them

Posted by camodude

oh dont be such a pansy DC! not like there adding pointy ears

Posted by Decept-O

I think the issue was in the description:   "What if Batman was the Joker?"     and "What if Batman was a total c***?"      The images I don't think DC could really have said or done anything about, despite the obvious intentions.   
 
However this all plays out, its brought attention to Millar.  Maybe next time he should be a bit more careful with words.  He also could have brought this to DC as an Elseworlds book.  Interesting to see how this will end up.
Posted by sora_thekey

I don't get it? 
So this project was under Marvel? and Marvel let Millar get away with it? 
Titled: "What if Batman was the Joker?"? 
 
I thought this was DC's project!?
Moderator
Posted by TheBug

The batman fangirl within me is pleased.
Posted by johnny_spam

Although I don't read Marvel and find the DC heroes more interesting I don't think this was the right thing for DC to do. Superhero homages have been used time after time why is this the one time it needs legal recourse.

Posted by xerox_kitty

Is it wrong that this makes me laugh...? 

Moderator
Posted by G-Man
@sora_thekey: It wasn't an official description.  It was what was used to describe the character Nemesis.  This is what the solicit says:

 CIVIL WAR? Nothing. KICK-ASS? A warmup. What if the smartest, toughest costumed bad ass in the world was totally evil? Meet Nemesis. He’s systematically been destroying the lives of every police chief in Asia, and he’s now set his sights on Washington, DC. Between you and me, the police don’t have a chance. Do not miss the book that EVERYONE will be talking about by the creative team that made CIVIL WAR the biggest book of the decade.

Staff
Posted by CATMANEXE

i dunno. most of the time it seems like the courts dont care so good luck to them.

Edited by John Valentine
@G-Man said:

" @sora_thekey: It wasn't an official description.  It was what was used to describe the character Nemesis.  This is what the solicit says:

 CIVIL WAR? Nothing. KICK-ASS? A warmup. What if the smartest, toughest costumed bad ass in the world was totally evil? Meet Nemesis. He’s systematically been destroying the lives of every police chief in Asia, and he’s now set his sights on Washington, DC. Between you and me, the police don’t have a chance. Do not miss the book that EVERYONE will be talking about by the creative team that made CIVIL WAR the biggest book of the decade.

"
Why would that description warrant legal action?  Dark Knight similarity?
Posted by camodude

see what i think is interesting is that if you had released this before Dark Knight there might not have been a recogniztion of the Joker teaser.

Posted by G-Man
@John Valentine: Want brought their attention (I assume) is that the character has been described (not officially) as a cross between the Joker and Batman.  The image looks like Batman (without the pointy ears) and a red bloody smile (like Heath Ledger's in The Dark Knight).
Staff
Posted by John Valentine
@G-Man said:
" @John Valentine: Want brought their attention (I assume) is that the character has been described (not officially) as a cross between the Joker and Batman.  The image looks like Batman (without the pointy ears) and a red bloody smile (like Heath Ledger's in The Dark Knight). "
Ah, I see! I could understand DC's viewpoint if that were to be the case.
Without the red bloody smile, this Nemesis just looks like Red Robin, IMO, ha. 
Posted by GreenGriffin

"What if Millar was a good writer?" We will never know.
Edited by Hamz

I support our DC overlords in their decision. 
 
A homage 'Nemesis' may have been intended to be, but in the world of intellectual properties 'homage' is just another way of saying 'theft' which this project may not directly have been. But the similarities are just far too close for it to really be a legitimately acceptable homage.
 
The promotional art was hardly subtle in hiding the ideas they clearly took or 'stole' from the Batman and the Joker designs. And Millar actually coming out publicly and mentioning the character / series as being a Batman story turned upside down doesn't help either. 
 
I'm all for paying homage to great characters between publishers, but there is a fine line between wanting to show respect and just outright basing your whole idea on one already thought up and established for you. Whatever happened to originality? Couldn't Millar have perhaps described 'Nemesis' without having to mention Batman or the Joker? 
 
I'm sure many will disagree with me over this. But I can totally see why DC would be throwing a legal tantrum about it, the Joker and Batman are two of the most iconic characters in the history of comic books and very dear to them. Wouldn't you want to protect your money making babies if you had them?

Edited by johnny_spam
Edited by vuki

DC should ran his ass over. Are we allowed to say 'ass', btw ?

Posted by NightFang

omg reallY?

Posted by ARMIV

What're the rules to the homage game? The character should only have 60% resemblance to the original source?
 
I like Steve McNiven's work,but the design looks to me like it's Batman with the ears cut-off.

Posted by Son_of_Magnus


DC is just not gonna put up with it any more lol
Posted by castleking
ROTFLMAO ^
Posted by InnerVenom123

This is why you don't friggin mention the opposite publisher's character when describing your book. I mean, duh?

Posted by Marshal Victory
@G-Man said:
" @sora_thekey: It wasn't an official description.  It was what was used to describe the character Nemesis.  This is what the solicit says:

 CIVIL WAR? Nothing. KICK-ASS? A warmup. What if the smartest, toughest costumed bad ass in the world was totally evil? Meet Nemesis. He’s systematically been destroying the lives of every police chief in Asia, and he’s now set his sights on Washington, DC. Between you and me, the police don’t have a chance. Do not miss the book that EVERYONE will be talking about by the creative team that made CIVIL WAR the biggest book of the decade.

"

The bloody smile is more bloody kabuki similar to the crow.Will dc retro sue obar over it?The crow had that smile 1st :)  

Change something 7 difrent ways i was told back in the day in art class an its yours .It then can become a original work an get copy righted etc etc.Less Nemesis has bat like look other than a cowl with purpal an green in their some where DC is asking for a counter suit.Coat hanger an all.  

 Then again maybe they think they can pull the Captain Marvel trick again an steal Nemesis to?Will this be the sue any one with a cowl law suit? 
 
um he has a cowl to does any one see bat man their?
Posted by CATMANEXE
@johnny spam: 
same thing i was getting at. as well as Rob Liefelds Fighting American, the rights to Supermans Origin, ect.
after seeing the court cases over rights involved with comics, its obvious the courts either dont care or dont
read comics to even know, or both. so thats why i say good luck to DC. theyll need it.
Edited by Deadstroke

DC isn't going to win this case, the most that will happen is the cover will be changed. 
 
As long as the character has a different name and semidifferent look then it's considered to be a homage. They aren't making money off of Batman they are making money off a character that LOOKS simillar to Batman, that is were it'll fall flat. I can't tell you how many times i've heard someone say they were going to sue someone else, just because the characters looked simillar and in the end the company being sued rarely loses.  
 
 
Posted by castleking
tell that to shazam and its original comic publisher
Posted by Deadstroke

Also If they are having problems with the cover, why don't they just use the same cover but edit out the bloody smile and just have his hand bloody?
Posted by sora_thekey
@John Valentine said:
" @G-Man said:
" @John Valentine: Want brought their attention (I assume) is that the character has been described (not officially) as a cross between the Joker and Batman.  The image looks like Batman (without the pointy ears) and a red bloody smile (like Heath Ledger's in The Dark Knight). "
Ah, I see! I could understand DC's viewpoint if that were to be the case.Without the red bloody smile, this Nemesis just looks like Red Robin, IMO, ha.  "

Still that doesn't seem enough reason for legal measures... 
 
I could say Iron Man riped off Batman (Playboy Billionare who is secretly a superhero) 
or that Sentry is a rip off of Superman 
 
Yet those reasons didn't bring legal action
Moderator
Posted by castleking
or lobo being a rip off of wolverine.. or Deathstroke being a rip off of captain american also DC throughout the yrs has had various rip offs of cap like the guardian and all star and various otherflag patriot heroes.
Posted by Crazy Pan
@Son_of_Magnus: Doom Patrol was there first.
Posted by Son_of_Magnus
@Crazy Pan said:
" @Son_of_Magnus: Doom Patrol was there first. "
I know that was my point DC is not gonna take Marvel's Sh!t anymore
Posted by Caligula

This is retarded. I'm a DC fanboy, and even I don't see why they are suing, I don't think Nemesis will in ayway come close to Batman's stature and even, if he does you can still claim that you inspired an iconic character. I really don't understand why everyone is such babies of copyrights, so what some jacked a character/idea from you as long as they aren't calling him batman, I don't really see an issue here.
Posted by The Lobster
@Deadstroke said:
" DC isn't going to win this case, the most that will happen is the cover will be changed.  As long as the character has a different name and semidifferent look then it's considered to be a homage. They aren't making money off of Batman they are making money off a character that LOOKS simillar to Batman, that is were it'll fall flat. I can't tell you how many times i've heard someone say they were going to sue someone else, just because the characters looked simillar and in the end the company being sued rarely loses.     "
I have to agree with this guy, As long as a character doesn't share the same name and looks only 80% like the original character, it shouldn't be a problem. You're also right about the cover.....

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Problem Solved
Posted by Kid_Zombie
@Son_of_Magnus:  Ha ha it was first by 3 months.
 
Ya this is stupid. I mean i can see where they are coming from, but they are just feeding into millar's publicity machine, hes known for this.  the more DC makes this a big deal the more issues he will sell.
Posted by Nyogtha
@G-Man:  Arguably he looks like alot of masked heroes but the mention of Batman and that is the automatic assumption. Legally all you have to do is change the image by 10% and it's not copyright infringement. The ears aren't there, the color is white. Plus, I don't think DC can copyright the Glasgow grin. I don't see any grounds on it.
Posted by reaper2923

JOKER, wait no it isn't

Posted by Rabbit Tots

Its just like how Deadpool is a ripoff of Deathstroke. But I still love him.
Edited by Gank

I'm a Millar fan, but DC's got a point. The images are maybe too close to Batman and the Joker.  Maybe he's just trying to create some buzz. Didn't Millar previously get in trouble when Wanted was optioned as a movie when he started the false rumor that Eminem was playing the part of The Killer (which was based on his likeness anyway)?

Speaking of legal issues - I wonder how Millar got away with calling the book "Nemesis". There are already more than a couple of comic book characters with that name. Maybe it's just the name of the book and not the main villain character? Not sure how that stuff works...either way, alot of people will buy this book regardless.

Edited by OmegaDynasty

This makes me laugh, although there is some truth about people being to sue-happy now and days, especially over copyright. I mean how would Marvel get Gladiator or Sentry, etc withouth Superman. Perhaps they should have stopped with Superman and Batman and called it quits. * Add sarcastic eye roll*

Posted by goldenkey

Then they should have sued him for WANTED.  Everyone knows that book is a D.C. multi-verse version of The Joker vs Lex Luther.  It also had Marvel villians painted another color in it.  Eminem is Wesly Gibson, what about him?  You don't see Marvel freaking out, no they had their artists including one of thier top guys Joe Quasada do one page spreads for dossiers on the villians.  Marvel didn't even get a penny it was a Top Cow production.  I bet if Top Cow was doing Nemesis D.C. wouldn't be bitching, it's because its Marvel.
Posted by goldenkey

To bad too, I was looking forward to the future where Mark Millar finally did something for D.C..  He'd tear it up.  What he could do for a DC Allstars book would be great.  He gave life to Marvel Ultimate.  The X-men, FF, Ultimate (Avengers)  The guy recreated a whole universe and did it well.  Sure Bendis did Spider-man but it's nothing to what Millar did.
Posted by Aronmorales

Another funny thing about WANTED, when looking through it one can see some obvious characters, like Magneto and Deathstroke to name two.

Posted by ArtJoker

Can't say i blame DC for taking legal action, however part of me is disappointed, because i was looking forward to Nemesis.

Posted by Aronmorales

Actually, now that I think about it, I haven't really seen all of Nemesis' costume, only then can I determine how much of a rip-off it is...

Posted by bingbangboom

At first I think it was maybe the marketing it as an "Batman/Joker" thing but I am not sure and this is just a bad move by DC and smart one by Miller and Marvel. If anything, after Kickass comes out people will be feeding for another book and this will be it. You can't say that the Joker is a copyright on a red smile... it is a freaking clown. He also didn't have blood on his face, as shown on the image, it was make up. The cowl this is just silly, they explained what they were doing and DC doesn't like it because DC didn't think of it before. 
 
If anything, it just brings more publicity to the book and Marvel may promoted it as "the book DC doesn't want you to have" or something like that.

Edited by beechblade
@G-Man:
From Mark's website this story is a load of half hearted hash created by bleeding cool.  Though it should aid the publicity for the work.
 

...it's nothing and the story has been massively blown out of proportion.

One of my friends at DC legal dropped me an informal email back in December saying that someone in editorial was a bit worried by the Batman and Joker mentions in an interview to promote a creator-owned book. They politely asked if I could avoid using those names as it was creating a bit of grief for them and I agreed, saying that's absolutely fine. Steve and I chatted after, wondering if the cover was a little too much too and we decided to ditch it and do another one. It was entirely our decision and a gesture of goodwill, which the lads at DC appreciated. This has never been anything beyond a couple of friendly, informal emails.

So there you go. But all the online talk is very, very good. I have a hunch this is going to be even bigger than Kick-Ass. Producers are going nuts for it and they haven't even seen anything beyond a few teasers I sent out to friends and nobody's seeing anything else until the massive mainstream promo I have planned on the day the book's released. You think you've seen Millar Whoring? You ain't seen nothing yet, my friends.

MM      
 

Posted by timrothsays

so what?
good promotion

Posted by CATMANEXE

i agree though, it is a "take-off". rip-off? no, they so much as admitted what it is.
one could say its a homage, but its a little more like an intentional insult i think.
 
either way though seeing past cases, the courts really dont care.
the only way anything will get changed is if Marvel deems to do
it as an act of good faith. both Marvel and DC have before in times
when the other was actually irate.
 
as for Marvel ripping off Dc's stuff and vice-versa, they both do it
all the time. most of the examples brought up in this thread are correct,
but what alot of you dont know is that both Marvel and DC are cool with that.
they both are friends in the biz, and have a mutual agreement that they can both 
homage each other and follow whats selling for the other as a means of keeping
them both as top dogs.

Posted by Illyana Rasputin

This is silly.
Posted by fanbla72

i have no idea what the $%#@* is going on here!?!

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