Sherlock Holmes Now Belongs to Everyone

Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget

I first reported on this at the end of last year, but now that the Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate, there aren’t any more possible take-backs. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Mrs. Hudson, and the rest are in the public domain. Since the Supremes passed on review, this previous finding holds:

“We cannot find any basis in statute or case law for extending a copyright beyond its expiration,” [a judge] wrote in the Seventh Circuit’s June decision. “When a story falls into the public domain, story elements — including characters covered by the expired copyright — become fair game for follow-on authors…”

Now, this hadn’t previously prevented comic parodies, like Sherlock Bones, or more straightforward reinventions, like the urban Watson and Holmes. But now no one needs to worry about using a character more than a hundred years old with full name and personality … so long as you don’t use anything first introduced in a story from after 1923. Those don’t become public domain for another eight years (2022).

Let’s hope more people push back on the continued extension of copyright. After all, it’s only 15 years from that 1923 date and the 1938 introduction of Superman, and I think it’s well past time he entered the public domain. Never happen, though, so long as Warner has more money for the lawyers and lobbyists.

Smut Peddler Publisher Launches New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Anthology, Opens Submissions

New World logo

Iron Circus Comics, publisher of the successful Smut Peddler anthology series, has announced that they are taking submissions for New World through November 20. This anthology will be a black-and-white book due out in spring 2015 containing science fiction and fantasy stories focusing on

“exploration, colonization, conquest, assimilation, “going native”, appropriation, imperialism, strained relations… essentially, what happens when mutually un-contacted cultures, continents, and species collide. We want your strangest stories about situations where characters are encountering — and having to deal with — the alien.”

Creators already planned to contribute include Carla Speed McNeil, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Matt Howarth, Sophie Goldstein, and Zach Weinersmith. This looks to be a book to watch.

This Weekend, See Ed Brubaker’s Play as Part of the Noir Series

The Heretick Theatre Lab in Los Angeles is hosting “The Noir Series” this weekend. It’s a set of four plays performed in 90 minutes. Why would you care? Because one of the writers is Ed Brubaker, and readers of his comics Criminal and The Fade Out know he knows noir.

Another one of the four is by Stephen McFeely (co-writer of the Captain America movies and writer for the Agent Carter show). The remaining two are by “award winning local Los Angeles theatre artists Burglars of Hamm, and Nancy Keystone’s Critical Mass Performance Group”.

Noir Series

Also, they are filming the plays, mixing them instantly, and streaming them over the web, so you can pay $7.99 to see this afternoon, tonight’s, or tomorrow’s performances. (Use the first link above.) They’re described as “four plays inspired by the dark and pulpy noir of Hollywood’s past, filmed and streamed with an eye towards Hollywood’s future.”

Comic/Media Art Mash-Ups

Old friend Brian Saner Lamken has done something creative — he’s selected famous images from superhero comics and found media pictures that allows him to graft the two together. Like this take on the classic Action Comics #1 cover, put together with Superman Returns. He’s calling the technique Panel to Frame. Click the link to see more including the Flash, the Walking Dead, and Captain America.

Superman by Brian Saner Lamken

The Complete Death Note Anime DVD Set

Viz Media has announced that Death Note: The Complete Series, a ten-DVD collection, will be available on November 18.

The anime series consists of 37 episodes with a list price of $44.82 US. The set will have a choice of English or Japanese audio or English subtitles. Bonus features include creator interview, behind-the-scenes footage of the Japanese voice cast, and an art gallery.

The animated series is based on the manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It’s the story of a high school student who gets a notebook from a shinigami (death god); any name written in this notebook means that person will die. He decides to kill those he thinks are evil, while a freaky genius tries to find out who’s behind these supernatural murders. The entire series is available as a manga box set.

Marvel Features Cooking and Comic Connection

I’ve long been interested in areas where comics and cooking intersect, whether it’s illustrated cookbooks, food-based graphic autobiographies, recipe webcomics, tie-in products, or recipes inspired by comics.

That latter category is the focus of a new Marvel YouTube series, “3 Course Comics”. Marvel talent scout C.B. Cebulski cooks a dish that’s somehow Marvel-themed while talking comics with various contributors. This first episode features Aunt May’s Okonomiyaki Wheat Cakes, a Japanese-inspired twist on the classic pancakes with the addition of pork belly, cabbage, and scallions. It’s shared by writer Dan Slott and editors Nick Lowe and Sana Amanat while they talk about the current Spider-Verse event.

Says Cebulski, “Cooking has always been a passion of mine, and if I hadn’t gotten into comics, I probably would’ve become a chef. So I’m thrilled to bring some of my international experiences from doing business around the world back home to my kitchen and table to share with creators and editors as we talk about exciting stories happening around the Marvel Universe.”

KC’s Previews for January 2015

It’s another month, so it’s time for KC to point out what he’s looking forward to in the latest Previews catalog at the Westfield Comics blog, for items coming out in January 2015 or later. (Sometimes much later.) Part One tackles classic comic book reprints, including the first Jughead Archives and an acknowledgement that the original Captain Marvel is 75 years old. Part Two looks at super-sized collections and a few interesting books about comics.

Vixens, Vamps & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics Reviewed

I mentioned Vixens, Vamps & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics last month when it came out, but I didn’t discuss it in depth because I was reviewing it for another site. That review is now posted at the Washington Independent Review of Books, in case you’re curious to find out more about this anthology of Golden Age comic stories featuring distinctive bad girls. Or check out editor Mike Madrid’s previous volume, Divas, Dames & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics.




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