Marvel/Disney Hammers Creator-Owned Starstruck Creators With Cease & Desist Letter
Starstruck™ and all characters, concepts, and likenesses trademarks and © Elaine Lee and Michael W. Kaluta—Marvel/Disney, take note!
Look, I told everyone once the Marvel vs. Friedrich judgment was cast, we’d be seeing Marvel/Disney going after every creator that emerged in their legal department bullseye.
Case in point: last week, Marvel/Disney issued a “Cease and Desist” letter against ELAINE LEE & MICHAEL KALUTA for their creator-owned, Epic-published STARSTRUCK.
Elaine Lee wrote, this morning, on Facebook:
“Look, I’ll say it now. Kaluta and I, just week before last, received a letter from a Marvel/Disney attorney, challenging our rights to Starstruck, a project that was briefly with Marvel/Epic, supposedly their creator-owned imprint, almost three decades ago. Since then, we’ve been published by Dark Horse and IDW. This has sent us rummaging through 30-year-old documents, looking for proof that we own what we own. We’ve found several letters that back up our claim that the rights were returned to us, and things seem to have quieted down, but we are still looking for more “just in case.” You don’t screw around with The Mouse.
I’m currently doing an interview for a new book on women in geeky professions. They asked me to give advice to young women starting out. My advice is do your own thing. Keep the rights to your work. If you sell your work, make sure you get Hollywood money, not comic book money.”
Got that? Marvel/Disney, attacking the creators of the only creator-ownership line they’d launched, post Comix Book.
The Marvel/Disney legal machine is capable of anything in the name of “we own it ALL.”
I’m willing to bet it’s a trademark issue for the legal dept. at Disney: they made a teen movie entitled Starstruck in 2010—of course, the two “Starstruck” properties have nothing to do with one another.
But Marvel/Disney is absolutely defined by its greed and avarice, if nothing else, and this shoe dropping before the end of 2012 should be sending shockwaves through everyone who ever did ANYTHING at Marvel, ever. (To spin off from Starstruck movie star Sterling Knight‘s Disney Channel spinoff, “So Random!“)
Anyone else out there quietly suffering Marvel/Disney cease & desist letters? SPEAK UP.
Followup, posted 12/7 (same day) at 6 PM:
Elaine Lee posted on Facebook: “Announcement! Just got it in writing. The matter has been resolved. Sent to our lawyer around 3:00 PM EST.”
In a private FB message, Elaine thanked me, noting that we’ll never know if this online dustup (this went viral on Facebook, and was picked up by BleedingCool.com) made a difference or not—but thanking me nonetheless.
I expect, if asked, Marvel/Disney will forever claim otherwise, but I believe speaking up and out, loudly, particularly when you have evidence (specifically clear legal evidence, as Elaine and Michael did and do) backing you up, is a good idea. Had Elaine spoken up last week, I suspect this would have been resolved even sooner, but we’ll never know.
Still, Marvel/Disney has now shown its true colors, folks.
My cautionary statement to all who ever worked with or for Marvel, even its Epic imprint, stands. Get your legal paperwork in order and in reach, and be prepared.