Browse By

Where Did Superman Go?

It was supposed to be an epic back-to-back lineup of DC’s finest. Batman movie one summer, Superman movie the next. Something has been missing, though. Batman Begins, 2005, Superman Returns 2006, Batman The Dark Knight 2008…Superman?? has a listing for a sequel status “Announced”: Superman: Man of Steel, with a date of 2011.

What is the reason for this?

A little research has revealed that Warner Bros has lost some of their rights to Superman to the family of his co-creator, Jerry Siegel. The family now owns rights to the Superman costume, his Krypton origins, his alter-ego, the Daily Planet newspapers, and other rights associated with content from Jerry Siegels Action Comics No. 1 (the first Superman story published was in here). However, anything after Action Comic No.1 were NOT included in the ruling and therefore are owned by DC. SO, now that this mess has been established, the only thing left to determine is monetary awards owed by WB/DC to the Siegel family on Superman profits since 1999, when their copyright became effective…right???

Another Federal Court ruling on August 13, 2009, gave the family of Jerry Siegel even MORE rights to additional works including the first two weeks of the daily Superman newspaper comic-strips, as well as portions of early Action Comics and Superman comic-books. So, in addition to him, his costume, his alter-ego, his girlfriend, his job, they now control depictions of Superman’s origins from planet Krypton, his parents (Jor-El and Lora), Superman as the infant Kal-El, the launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents as Krypton explodes AND his landing on Earth in a fiery crash. So now it’s a matter of money?

No…the Shuster estate (the estate of Joe Shuster, another co-creator of the Man of Steel) has gained the same rights as the Siegels. In 2013 Superman will be wholly owned by its original co-creators’ heirs/estate. The judge pointed out that WB has until 2011 to begin production of a Superman sequel before their current rights from DC expires.

According to a blog post on July 9, 2009, WB Chairman testified that a sequel was not in production and no script had not been written (gasp!) and that the soonest it could possibly come to fruition is 2012.

Legal messes and copyright law, not my forte.

The Man of Steel is now owned by so many people, we’ll see if he ever makes it off the ground again.