Hazy Shade of Winter: CA Supreme Court Sides with DC

Mon, June 2nd, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

The California Supreme Court has ruled that a parody of blues musicians Johnny and Edgar Winters in the DC/Vertigo miniseries "Riders of the Worm" did not violate their rights.

The decision Monday is the latest shot fired in a seven year lawsuit that followed the 1995 miniseries publication, in which the brothers alleged that their half-worm, half-human likenesses as villains in the miniseries subjected them to contempt and ridicule.

The court didn't disagree that the comic's Autumn Brothers resembled the Winter Brothers -- going so far as to attach a replica of one of the book's covers to their decision -- but said the images were so fantastic and altered that they fell under the protection of the First Amendment's right to freedom of expression.

"To the extent the drawings of the Autumn brothers resemble plaintiffs at all, they are distorted for purposes of lampoon, parody, or caricature," the decision reads in part.

An attorney for the Winters brothers indicated that they intended to further pursue litigation based on DC using the Winters brothers' names to sell the comics.

 
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