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Subj: Marvel and DC characters based on trademarked literary characters, other than official adaptations; so the Earth-616 Fu Manchu does not count, but the Yellow Claw does
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 07:30:54 pm EDT (Viewed 199 times)
The upcoming release of the book Serial Vigilantes of Paperback Fiction reminds me of how Anthony Tollin pointed out that early comic book writers in the 1930's and 1940's, obviously, did not have previous comic books in their youths to look back to, so they took ideas from the prose fiction such as the Shadow. (In one case, this proved quite true, as I will describe below). Of course, in later decades, this would prove less forgivable.
Admittedly, my interest lies in cases where the prose template has not fallen into the public domain.
Also, it depends upon how close the imitation resembles the template. Stan Lee said that the Spider inspired Spider-Man, but in that case, the copy does not too closely resemble the original.
Has Sherlock Holmes fallen into the public domain?
Regarding Ka-Zar; yes, one could accuse MVL of copying Tarzan, especially since Kevin Plunder, as a British lord, hews a bit closer to Tarzan than David Rand. However, since a prose Ka-Zar owned by MVL (the aforementioned David Rand) preceded the Kevin Plunder Ka-Zar, I will note this as a case of a prose imitation producing a comic book adaption. MVL did eventually publish a Tarzan series.
The Angel: obviously imitates Leslie Charteris' the Saint, Simon Templar, as the first Angel story imitates closely the Saint in New York
MVL has never done a Saint adaptation.
The Yellow Claw: obviously mimics Fu Manchu. MVL eventually did a Fu Manchu series
Night Raven: obviously based on the Spider, the Shadow, et al. MVL eventually did a Shadow graphic novel.
Of course, DC has also played the magpie.
The Batman: the first Batman story adapts, uncredited, the Shadow novel Partners of Peril. DC eventually did the Shadow.
Selina's Big Score: the writer of this graphic novel notes that he copied Richard Stark's Parker for this graphic novel as an homage. DC will not publish it, but this same writer received permission from Stark himself to adapt Parker to comics.
Special case, outside of this deliberation, but worth noting as an aside
The Green Hornet and the Crimson Avenger:
The Green Hornet started on radio, and has only spottily appeared in prose (with a recent Moonstone anthology coming up). However, the Crimson Avenger so closely mimics the Green Hornet that someone once joked "Even the Green Hornet, whose similarity to real-life costumed mystery-men is startling".
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