Comic Wire

Mon, May 14th, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

DECARLO LOSES OUT TO ARCHIE AGAIN IN 'SABRINA' COUNTER-SUIT

[Sabrina the Teenage Witch]He no longer works on the comics that he left an indelible stamp on. He lost the battle for control over a character named after his wife. And now Dan DeCarlo has lost another round against Archie Comics.

While the "Josie and the Pussycats" movie did lukewarm business at the box office, the "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" live action television show is a hit. And, as with Josie (who was named after DeCarlo's wife), DeCarlo is claiming that she too was a creation of his that he owns outright.

A New York judge disagreed, dismissing the case on May 4.

The actual creation process of Sabrina is in little question. As per the brief filed after the case was dismissed:

"DeCarlo claims that in or about 1962, working with a writer named George Gladir, he 'created the physical appearance, mannerisms, personality and 'look' of a new comic book character named 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch' which subsequently first appeared publicly in a cartoon story published by ACP in an issue of Archie's Madhouse.' DeCarlo created the original model sheet for Sabrina and personally did all of the original design and creative art work for her and various supporting characters. In short, he contends that '[t]he entire visual 'look' of the Sabrina comic books' was his creative product."

As with the previously dismissed Josie case, Judge Kaplan ruled against DeCarlo, who had tried to say an older New York state copyright law gave him control over the characters he had created. But the 1976 federal copyright law supercedes that law, and DeCarlo had failed to exercise his rights during the time allowed for such proceedings.

Since leaving Archie Comics, where he had created the house style of art familiar to readers of the series, DeCarlo has done a number of stories for Bongo Comics.

JOHNS OFFERS SOME FAST 'FLASH' FACTS

Wondering about some dangling threads and missing characters in DC Comics' "The Flash?" Series writer Geoff Johns to the rescue.

Johns answered questions last week at DC Comics' official Flash message boards, including the status of missing characters and unresolved bits of business.

Fans of the Pied Piper who miss the large role the reformed villain once played in the series, take heart: "Piper is one of our favorite characters," Johns said. "He will play a major role this year in 'The Flash.'

"Goldface will be seen soon. Cecile Horton has since moved out of Central City and is somewhere in Florida so no plans for him."

Long-absent supporting character Chunk will appear in issue #177. Archvillain Savitar will not be returning.

Wally West's wedding was chaotic, even for a superhero, and along the way, a box marked "To Wally: Urgent!" got lost in the chaos, including that caused by long time writer Mark Waid stepping down after the completion of the epic storyline spinning out of the wedding.

"The box was blown up in the explosion. In all honesty, I was going to get to it but it's not even a priority or in our plans for the next two years. I know it may bug some readers, but it's not my fault!"

And finally, where in the world are Keystone City and Central City?

"See WestEndGames Flash Sourcebook [for the DC Heroes roleplaying game]. But I do believe they are going with Kansas and Missouri, which I'm apt to agree with."

CARLA SPEED McNEIL SHOOTS FOR THE EISNER BY GIVING 'FINDER' #19 AWAY

[Finder #1]Pretend you're Carla Speed McNeil a moment. The nineteenth issue of your comic, "Finder," has been nominated for the Best Single Issue category of the Eisner awards. That's the good news. The bad news is that you're up against comics the voters are almost certainly more familiar with, including issues of "Lucifer," "Promethea" and "Sock Monkey." So what do you do?

What the real McNeil did was put the entire story, "Talisman," up on the Web.

"C'mon, everybody; we all just vote for what we've seen," she said in a release announcing the decision on Sunday. "If there are five items nominated, and you know one book and you've barely heard of the others, you don't go out and look for the others and make up your mind. You just put a little check by the one you've seen, sometimes even if you don't like it very much. This is a test -- can't leave anything blank, right?"

For the record, here's the rest of McNeil's category:

  • "Hey Mister: The Trouble with Jesus," by Pete Sickman-Garner (Top Shelf)

  • "Lucifer" #4: "Born with the Dead," by Mike Carey, Warren Pleece, and Dean Ormston (Vertigo/DC)

  • "Paul in the Country," by Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly)

  • "Promethea" #10: "Sex, Stars, and Serpents," by Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III, and Mick Gray (ABC)

  • "Sock Monkey," vol. 3 #2, by Tony Millionaire (Dark Horse/Maverick)

The Eisner awards will be announced on Friday, July 20 in San Diego at Comic-Con International.

COMIC BRIEF WITHOUT A CAUSE

Here's what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief:

  • PREVIEW: "Usagi Yojimbo" #48

  • Gundam Wing: Ground Zero graphic novel priced incorrectly

And last time in the Comic Wire:

  • The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Waid/Kitson "Empire"

  • Would an "Alias" By Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

  • Marvel Flirts with Breaking Up with the CCA

AND FINALLY ...

First off, a hearty congratulations to Kurt Busiek, on the birth of his second daughter last week.

Second, a special thanks to Sandy Hausler.

And finally -- although this isn't strictly speaking a comics topic -- to Douglas Adams: So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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