Zenith Returns in Short-Sighted Promotion, Raises Legal Questions

I’ve never read Zenith, a sarcastic take on superheroes from the late 1980s by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, and now that it’s finally coming back into print, it looks like I still won’t be able to. Because the publisher is only making a limited edition hardcover, they’re selling it only through their own 2000 AD online site, they will only print one thousand copies, it’s 100 pounds (about $150), and you have to pre-order it five months in advance (July 1 for delivery in December).

Zenith in 2000 AD

This smacks, to my most cynical side, of counting on the name and the reputation to get product pre-sold before anyone can really see what they’re buying. After all, if you have faith in the work, there’s no problem letting people browse it, right? Is it that dated? Are the publishers just not interested in doing real promotion and selling, so they decided to limit the release to those who are old enough to remember it or devoted fans enough to buy anything with Morrison’s name on it? (No offense intended to Mr. Yeowell, but he doesn’t have the kind of dedicated followers Mr. Morrison does.)

Then again, as Padraig O Mealoid points out, Morrison and Yeowell “have been informed” of the printing, but that doesn’t equal permission. A previous planned reprinting was scuppered (with books reportedly left in a warehouse for years, unable to be sold) when legal questions arose. A PR person from the publisher said, “We have informed Grant of our intention to republish, but we maintain that we own the rights to reprinting the series.” Morrison apparently feels otherwise. That may be why the publisher is selling direct only; Diamond Comic Distribution tends to honor injunctions preventing distribution when products are tied up in court disputes. So any interested fan will want to consider whether they want to see this material more than they respect creative rights and ownership.

One Response to “Zenith Returns in Short-Sighted Promotion, Raises Legal Questions”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Its a shame this stuff isn’t available over here to sample better. I was reading the newsarama article by Graeme http://www.newsarama.com/17970-beyond-dredd-10-more-2000-ad-characters-you-should-know.html

    and while I had never heard of any of them besides Halo Jones(which the 1 collection I had was so dull I couldn’t finish) some of them I would love to try.




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