In the court cases in 2009 and 2010 what do we know? Warner Brothers and DC comics have lost a little bit of Superman, and could lose him completely come 2013. Judge Stephen Larson has given Superman’s co-creator Jerry Siegel rights to additional works in the franchise, including the first two weeks of the daily Superman newspaper comic strip and early issues of both Action Comics and Superman comics. According to Variety, this means that the Siegel estate now owns the rights to all depictions of Superman’s origins from the planet Krypton, his parents Jor-L and Lora, Superman as the infant Kal-L, and the launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents as Krypton explodes and his landing on Earth in a fiery crash.
Besides, the clock is ticking. Toberoff, who keeps suing Warner Bros on behalf of creative rightsholders, has warned the studio that, in 2013, the Jerome Siegel heirs along with the estate of co-creator Joe Shuster will own a portion of the original copyright to Superman — “and neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to exploit any new Superman works without a license from the Siegels and Shusters”. He’s also pointed out that, if Warner Bros does not start production on a new Superman sequel or reboot by 2011, the Siegels could sue to recover their damages on the grounds that the deal should have contained a clause in which the rights returned to the owners after a given time if no film was in development. The heirs of Siegel have already been awarded half the copyright for Superman. And in 2013 the heirs of co-creator Joe Shuster get the remaining half. After that, neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to use Superman without a financial agreement with the heirs. There are also stipulations on what parts of the origins story can be used in future Superman movies and which require re-negotiations with the creators’ heirs or estates.
Warner Bros has to be careful, very careful, not to upset the Superman fans who are steadfastly in the Shuster and Siegal corners. The studio put Warner Bros veteran executive Diane Nelson as the head of DC Entertainment Inc, that new company founded to fully realize and integrate the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms into Warner Bros Entertainment’s content and distribution businesses. Nelson especially was charged with suping up Superman again in a way fans like because it’s way too valuable a property to leave dormant like this.
In Flashpoint Comic series currently under way Superman is not in the first issue but we are told that he will be there. Called Flashpoint: Project Superman, the three-issue miniseries will be written by Scott Snyder and Lowell Francis will answer this question: Would Clark still be Superman if he hadn’t been raised by Ma and Pa Kent? In taking away the known origin of Superman’s life with Ma and Pa Kent will he still be known as Superman. “We really wanted this to be a story that investigates the nature of Kal-El as the world’s greatest hero, and whether or not he’d be Superman if the circumstances were drastically darker,” said Snyder during an interview with Comic Book Resources. It’s not just Superman totally re-imagined, it’s who Superman would be if something was different across the board.”
“The miniseries is one of a number of tie-ins to Geoff Johns’ main Flashpoint series, although both Snyder and Francis are quick to point out that Project Superman is set apart from the main events of Flashpoint,” the site reported. When asked, Will this book impact the regular Superman continuity? Snyder said it will. “I can say I know what comes after, and yes there will absolutely be consequences,” Snyder said. “It really will have consequences that ripple through the DC Universe in a big way.” Flashpoint: Project Superman #1 will be in comics stores on June 29. They experimented on him in a lab for years! This is the DC statement for issue #1. It may not be the end of the DC world of superheroes but many changes are coming and may be very lasting for Superman fans. Stay tuned comic faithful for more. 🙂 Walt