Public Domain characters in the MU

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wolframbane
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Public Domain characters in the MU

Post by wolframbane » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:55 am

Because of the number of comics series containing Public Domain characters that have appeared in recent years (AC Comics' Femforce, Dynamite Entertainment's Project Superpowers, Malibu Comics' Protectors, America's Best Comics' Terra Obscura, Image Comics' Next Issue Project, and even DC Comics' appearances of the Clock and first Blue Beetle), I wanted to compile a list of comic characters that are now Public Domain that have appeared in the Marvel Universe proper. Many of these characters are from the now defunct Centaur Publications, Fox Comics, Crestwood Publications and Nedor Comics. This list would necessarily exclude characters who are considered Public Domain in exclusion of the comics (like Sherlock Holmes or Dracula or Tarzan or Doc Savage or Conan).

When compiling Chronologies for these characters, should we include the appearances in non-Marvel comics?

Among the characters I am aware of include:
Amazing Man/John Aman from The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death first appeared in Centaur Publications' Amazing-Man Comics #5 (Sept. 1939).
Spider-Queen/Shannon Kane from Invaders v2 #1 first appeared in Fox Comics' Eagle #2 (September 1941).
Doctor Nemesis/Doctor Death/Dr. James Bradley from Invaders v2 #1 first appeared in Ace Magazines' Lightning Comics #6 (April 1941).
Human Meteor/Duke O'Dowd from Invaders v2 #1 first appeared in Harvey Publications' Champion Comics #6 (April 1940).
Strongman/Percy van Norton from Invaders v2 #1 first appeared in Harvey Publications' Champion Comics #2 (April 1939).
Volton from Invaders v2 #1 first appeared in Holyoke Comics' Catman #8 (March 1942).

Enda80
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Re: Public Domain characters in the MU

Post by Enda80 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:00 am

This is a dubious entry for many reasons, but I might as well get this out:

In Avengers I#92, Rick Jones recalls series that he read when younger. He notes that some of the protagonists of these series turned out to have historically existed on Earth-616 (Captain America, the Human Torch, and Namor get depicted as amongst the series that he had read ; remember, as far back as FF I#4 it had gotten established that a Timely on Earth-616 existed which published stories based on the Earth-616 Namor's adventures). The Heap also got depicted, and while I thought he would have fit into the category of characters to not have existed on Earth-616, the A-Z Handbook entry for the Glob states that the Heap did in fact exist on Earth-616. The Heap does not fall into the public domain (the series lasted till the 1950's and Eclipse later published it), but some of these others may, and I suppose some of them may have existed on Earth-616.

http://books.google.com/books?id=LfgGmF ... #PPA111,M1
for a discussion of the panel in question

* Cat-Man (from Holyoke Comics)
* The Green Lama (from Prize Comics)
* Fighting Yank (from Better Comics)
* Fantoman (from Centaur Comics)

wolframbane
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Re: Public Domain characters in the MU

Post by wolframbane » Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:49 pm

Thanks Enda, I managed to even dig up that panel:

http://www.geocities.com/marvelindex/ga-avengers92.jpg

Enda80
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Re: Public Domain characters in the MU

Post by Enda80 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:10 am

Correction of earlier statement in thread: it appears that the Heap does indeed reside in the public domain, though conflicting reports exist. (wikipedia as opposed to Don Markstein)

The Rex Fury Ghost Rider got mentioned in Nick Fury's Handbook entry.
Last edited by Somebody on Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Merging double posts. We've told you about this before Enda. Stop it.

Enda80
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Re: Public Domain characters in the MU

Post by Enda80 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:11 pm

"This list would necessarily exclude characters who are considered Public Domain in exclusion of the comics (like Sherlock Holmes or Dracula or Tarzan or Doc Savage or Conan)".

Actually, I doubt that Tarzan or Conan or Doc Savage reside in the public domain. A bunch of fansites had zip files of the Shadow novels (also published by Conde Nast) and the publisher demanded the removal of those zip files, which took place. Tarzan might reside in the public domain based on age, however, the character continued to receive new material in various media during the various periods of amendment of copyright and trademark law, from the 1910's to the present day (remember that TV show with Leighton Meester and the Dark Horse projects?. Also, the ERB (Edgar Rice Burroughs) Estate took some legal action against a Tarzan themed porn film relatively recently, so I doubt they would have done that had the character slipped into the public domain. (The attempt to assert trademark control by the ERB estate over the Tarzan yell sound effect received no help from the European Union, though.)
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q ... _n14071963

The Green Lama started as a pulp hero, so if native to pulp magazine characters get excluded from the list, so does he.
In the black and white flashback in Daredevil #67, one of the gangsters makes reference to a "green guy with a cape and a hat" who had beat the stuffing out of one of his goons.

This could serve as an homage to either the Green Hornet or the Green Lama. Actually, the Green Hornet did not wear a cape, just a dark green coat. Sadly, in the film Dragon the Bruce Lee story, Forry Smith plays Van Williams playing the Green Hornet (though he is listed in the credits as the GH, even though Williams had a cameo in the film!) with a regular colored coat.

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