Thursday, March 29, 2012
DC vs Siegel: DC's Appeal Brief & Who DID Draw The Action Comics #1 Cover?
No other case in the comic book industry has been as long running, as far reaching and as divisive as the DC Comics vs the Estate of Jerry Siegel and the fight over Superman. Since it became a reality in 2004, the accusations have flowed thick and fast, and this latest round of appeals has seen things ramped up to a whole new level. And here it is, with some boring bits taken out. It would appear that most people have gotten it wrong. DC aren't attempting to remove the Siegel name from the character, more that they want the court to force Laura Siegel to honour a deal that they claim was agreed to, and an advance of $125,000 paid for. They also refuse the allegation that Siegel owned every piece of work that he did for DC, and state that the bulk of it, other than the works that have already been re-claimed by the estate, were done strictly as work for hire. The monetary numbers in this appeal are staggering to most people - the amount of $10,000,000 is bandied around, that amount being what DC claim the Siegels would have earned if they'd honoured the 2001 deal, and the accusations against Marc Toberoff are incredible - clearly, as far as DC are concerned, the gloves are off. I expect that Toberoff's reply will be just as harsh as this.
One very important item that has slipped past most people though is the veiled accusation that the iconic cover art for Action Comics #1 was NOT drawn by Joe Shuster. DC are making the claim that unknown staff artists drew the ads for Action Comics #1, based upon art that their artists drew for the actual cover, which was based upon a Joe Shuster panel at Jerry Siegel's suggestion, and as such they're laying claim to that image due to the fact there are enough subtle differences between the panel and cover, and also, if the cover was drawn by a staff artist at DC's request, then it falls under work-for-hire and as such it belongs to DC. Now that's a claim that's going to throw several cats amongst pigeons.
As it stands a full trial might be the only, and best, way to resolve this..but it'd be a good idea to at least read this document, and the Toberoff reply which I'll post as soon as it's released, before you listen to people who are making all kinds of wild statements, based on reading a line or two, or based upon wild rumour and speculation. Between both sides the truth does lie.
And while you're at it, if you've not done so already, and if you wish to understand the case a bit better, by all means download the first two volumes of The Trials Of Superman and have a read. Volume Two has depositions for this case, and they're very, very interesting indeed. You can find the download links to your immediate right of this post.