March 21, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
I grew up on comic books. During my own personal wonder years, I spent a lot of time reading Marvel comics, following the lives of characters from the X-Men, Excalibur, and other X-variations. I followed them through the Inferno, the Extinction Agenda, the Cross-Time Capers, the Executioner's Song, and fell in love with the characters as they fought against the bad guys, as well as their own personal demons.

Like every other kid, I wanted to be a super hero. My friends and I would pretend to be characters from the comic books, and as our imaginations grew, we began to pretend to be characters of our own making -- we created our own super heroes, and wrote down stories of how our characters' powers came to be. Being able to create our own stories is what gave us a sense of validity to our play.

And then Marvel Comics, in a joint effort with their rival D.C. decided to squash the dreams of children everywhere. They've decided to trademark the phrase "super hero," so that only they can use it. Independent comic books -- the end product of the healthy imagination of children-now-grown, are no longer allowed to use the the title "super hero" in any of their future publications, it seems.

On the one hand, it's all rather silly, because "super hero" just sounds kind of cheese-ball anyway. I always thought the name "Superman" was pretty stupid as well... so I don't think it's a huge deal. But the other side of me says that this whole notion of trademarking common words is unacceptable. I'm not a big fan of copyright or trademark law; I think that most laws are supposed to protect the people from tyranny, corporate or otherwise, and trademark and copyright laws seem to protect the tyrants instead.

So... in a stick-it-to-the-man kind of move, I think I'm going to add "write an online super hero comic book" to my list of projects when I get a chance. And of course, I've written a limerick about it (also available on my limericks page).

Corporate crooks -- nothing but sleazy
their trademark laws make me feel queasy.
I'll write "super-hero!"
and I will pay zero
To the comic thugs Marvel and D.C.
np category: corporations


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