Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man movies, with Tobey Maguire playing the superhero, were very successful (and the first two, in my view, were very good). And now the film franchise is being “rebooted” with a new cast in the upcoming film The Amazing Spider-Man.
Interestingly, as noted at comicbookmovie.com, Andrew Garfield, the actor playing the new Spider-Man, watched the earlier Spider-Man first via pirated copy, and admitted as much to MTV News:
Andrew Garfield has some big shoes and a tight unitard to fill when he steps into a role that Tobey Maguire did so well at. He’ll have to overcome the comparisons, but after watching the trailer I think the bright young actor will exceed expectations and become the best live-action Spider-Man.
When MTV News’ Josh Horowitz asked Andrew describe the difference between Marc Webb’s version as compared to Sam Raimi’s version he responded:
“I can’t answer that, really. I don’t know. I know that I saw the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire version before it was legally out. I was so excited to see it, I got a pirate copy,” Garfield told MTV News before a screening event Monday. “I was blown away. [Tobey has] been Spider-Man in my imagination since then, in my mind’s eye.”
The star of The Social Nework went on to talk about the best way that he approached playing the iconic role of Spidey. He tells MTV, “I approached the character like any fan would: with real reverence and terror and attempt to do it justice.”
“I do feel like he’s in me, like all true fans do,” he said. “That’s what being a fan is of a character like this: feeling like there’s no separation between you and them and that you have ownership over them. Ultimately, you have no ownership over it, because he belongs to everybody.”
As Stan Lee might say, ’nuff said!
(h/t Skyler Collins)
Update: This is not the first time I’ve posted about the intersection of comics and IP/politics. See my previous posts below:
Lew, this is a telling development. Good for DC and good for Superman!
I’ve always been a Marvel fan, but boycotted Spider-Man once he was portrayed as fawning over Obama (see my LRC post Spider-Man, Criminal — or, the real death of Spider-Man). One of my favorite comics as a kid was the DC/Marvel Superman vs. Spiderman “crossover” book. Now we know who to side with.
Update: Reader Chip Norman writes:
I think you’re being a bit hard on Spider-Man — he can’t help who they draw him next to. And don’t forget that Spidey’s co-creator, the great Steve Ditko, is an Objectivist, which has to be better than nothing. In contrast, Superman was created as a propaganda vehicle for union thugs. And while it’s good that he renounced his citizenship, I doubt it was in a spirit of secession; I bet this is paving the way for a Globalist Superman (the Justice League is already the U.N. with capes).
This is a great time to point you to Paul Pope’s libertarian take on Batman, where the hero saves Mises’s works from the Nazis. It’s amazing.
The Man of Steel doesn’t want to be seen as a tool of the US government. He may want lower taxes too, and financial privacy. (Thanks to Patrick McPherson)
Congrats, Marvel. You’ve turned Spider-Man into a drooling statist product of goverment education. See the nauseating Early Look: Spider-Man Meets Obama; Comic stores donating Spider-Man/Obama profits to charity; Zeb Wells – Writing the Spider-Man/Obama Meeting; Advance Peek at Spiderman/Obama Comic; Spider-Man, Obama team-up comic sells out. The vapid writer intones, “‘I have a lot of respect for President Obama and how he ran his campaign,’ the writer said. ‘I like how he never shied away from who he was, and always answered tough questions about mistakes in his past with candor. He didn’t try to be everything to everyone, and that takes a lot of character … more character than I have. I like being able to say that about my President.'”
The comic strip nauseatingly shows Spider-Man doing a “fist-dap” with Obama, each telling the other, “Thanks … partner…” And in one of the panels, as Spider-Man observes the inaugural festivities, he thinks to himself, “It looks like Washington is in capable hands.”
by Stephan Kinsella on September 28, 2011
I’ve noted before how copyright and trademark distort the market and culture (see The Effects of Patent and Copyright on Hollywood Movies; and Leveraging IP). Here are a few interesting–albeit sad–examples of the baleful effect of copyright on the comic book industry.
As background, be aware that the two big comic competitors for decades have been DC and Marvel. DC is the home of Superman, Batman, the Flash, the Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. Marvel is the source of Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor, the Fantastic Four, and so on.
The Superman character was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1932, and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (later DC Comics) in 1938. Superman debuted in Action Comics that year. A “similar” character, Captain Marvel, sometimes known as “Shazam!”, was originally published by Fawcett Comics, and created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. Both are powerful, both have alter egos. But of course there are many differences. In any case, Captain Marvel is now a DC character. Wanna know why? Because, as the Captain Marvel wikipedia page explains:
Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, due in part to a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics alleging that Captain Marvel was an illegal infringement of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters and returned them to publication, acquiring all rights to the characters by 1991. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe….
Got that? DC killed Captain Marvel, using copyright law, on the grounds that he was a copy of Superman. Evidently not too much of a copy, as they gobbled the wounded character up and then incorporated him into the DC universe–since he’s a distinct character, you see, and not a mere copy of Superman.
Interestingly, however, DC can no longer use “Captain Marvel” for comics featuring, er, Captain Marvel. This is because Marvel Comics has its own Captain Marvel which it secured trademark rights to during the copyright squabbling between DC and Fawcett over the DC Captain Marvel.
Marvel Comics trademarked their Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between the original Captain Marvel’s Fawcett years and DC years, DC Comics is unable to promote and market their Captain Marvel/Marvel Family properties under that name. Since 1972, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam! as the title of their comic books and thus the name under which they market and promote the character. Consequently, Captain Marvel himself is frequently erroneously referred to as “Shazam”.
Even though the Marvel character is not that popular, lore has it that Marvel publishes some kind of book featuring their Captain Marvel every year or two, just to keep their trademark alive so that DC can’t get it back.
In another copyright-superhero twist, the young or alternate version of Superman, known as Superboy, has also had name problems. The estate of one of Jerry Siegel, the original creators of Superman, sued DC claiming that it owned “the original ‘Superboy’ character” and that it “is an independent creation that used ideas from Jerry Siegel’s original rejected pitch and was created without his consent.” In 2006, a judge ruled “that Jerry Siegel’s heirs had the right to revoke their copyright assignment to Superboy and had successfully reclaimed the trademark to the name as of November 17, 2004.”
“Since the ruling, the name “Superboy” has rarely been used in print to refer to any version of the character,” and the Superboy character (in his current “Superboy-Prime” variation) started being referred to as Superman-Prime.
Ah, freedom of speech, wherefore art thou!