Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grape Moments in Trademark Infringement

I saw these packages of grapes at a local supermarket this morning. Now, I'm a big proponent of Fair Use, but in this case I think that DC Comics could file & win a trademark-infringement lawsuit against whomever it is who packages these "California Table Grapes, Produce of USA" (the only other text on the package).

As astute Superman geeks researchers have already noted, this "Supergrape" logotype (not just logo) is, apart from "grape," pretty much identical to the one used on pre-1987 Superman comic books and merchandise. Time to update your swipe files, "California Table Grapes, Produce of USA"!

(An official "Not-a-Prize" for the first person to explain the "how & why" of that pre-1987 dating.)

Image: Courtesy of Palm Centro.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Craig Yoe Talks about Joe Shuster's Fetish Art on Yesterday's "Fresh Air"

On last night's broadcast of "Fresh Air," NPR's Terry Gross interviewed my pal Craig Yoe, author of the new book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster. I got a peek at the book a few months back at the New York Comic Con, and it looks great! I can't wait to get a copy of my own. Much of this work has laid "undiscovered" for decades; Craig's done a great service by presenting and discussing this work, showing us another side of the artist who's best-known (possibly only known) to the general public for having created, with Jerry Siegel, that obscure comic book character Superman.

Listen to Terry Gross' interview with Craig Yoe here.

I've heard rumblings from a (very) few comics fans who lament the book's existence, saying that it sullies Joe Shuster's memory. I couldn't disagree more; the book adds to our knowledge of Shuster, revealing where his opportunities lay once DC Comics had no more use for his services and showing us how his art "matured" (in more than one sense) after he drew the Man of Steel. I've also heard fans say that the art in this book will "overshadow" his work on Superman. Honestly, could that really happen? Will people now remember only this work and forget his co-creation of Superman? Hardly. Or, to put it another way, it's simply inconceivable.

For more information on the book, check out's feature page for Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s co-creator Joe Shuster. We also have info on some of Craig's other books, like Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings and Modern Arf: Artists + Models: The Naked Truth. And no, Craig doesn't just write books with nekkid ladies in them - check out his website for a complete list. Obviously, I need to add - and OWN - the rest of his books!

Addendum: As everyone who's met him or read his book-blog knows, Craig Yoe is one of those shy, retiring types, never one to toot his own horn without painful prodding. I'm not sure who was holding a gun to his head, but somehow he was convinced to create an image promoting his radio appearance:
Very clever, Craig! But I know your secret. You stole - er, appropriated - that face from the original version of your new book's cover.Image credits: Top - cover to Secret Identity, probably Copyright © 2009 Abrams ComicArts. Middle: Copyright © 2009 Craig Yoe. Bottom: A "yoe-toe-shopped" mash-up of the two by moi.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Superman Returns... to Beijing

Last month I was interviewed by a reporter from That's Beijing, the city's English-language magazine, for an article concerning the new film Superman Returns. The reporter was particularly interested in addressing potential reasons why superheroes are primarily an American phenomenon. The article's now online at the magazine's website, as well as via

It's an interesting article, in that it provides some culturally "outsider" views of the superhero genre. And apart from speaking to me and to various Beijing residents, the reporter also spoke with long-time pal Pete Coogan, co-chair of the Comic Arts Conference and author of the brand-new book Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre. I've not seen a copy of Pete's book yet, but once I do I'll review it here.

My interview for the article was conducted via email, and I'll post my off-the-cuff ruminations soon.

This illustration ran with the original That's Beijing article.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Geektasm Alert: Free Superman Poster

Dateline Metropolis: As part of the state of Illinois' "Discover Offbeat Illinois" campaign, the IL Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is offering a free poster (several choices) to anyone who requests one. (The offer might be for US residents only; I didn't read the fine print). The poster touting the city of Metropolis' Favorite Son is pictured above (I've already ordered mine, natch); there's also one for the Tallest Man in the World, in Alton; Berwyn's Car-Kabob; Rockford's Jane the T-Rex (somebody order this one for me! Thanks, Kate and Queen!); and more.

To see all the posters, click here. To order your own, click here.

Super-special thanks to sister-in-law extraordinaire Alex "Scoop" Gillen for the tip. Here's another tip: See the world in new ways by visiting Phosgraphia, her ultra-cool photo-blog!

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