A new Charles Burns book is coming from Fantagraphics. Kurt Busiek tells a wild story about how Harlan Ellison got one of everything from Marvel Comics. All on Comic Book Club News for November 8, 2023.
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New Charles Burns book coming from Fantagraphics.
The time Harlan Ellison accused Marvel of plagiarism.
This is Comic Book Club News for November 8, 2023.
New Charles Burns Book Coming From Fantagraphics:
A new Charles Burns book is coming from Fantagraphics, his first with the publisher since the single issues of Black Hole in 2004. The new book is titled Kommix, spelled k-o-m-m-i-x, and will include 80 comic book covers for comics that never were.
Here’s Fantagraphics synopsis of the book: “The covers — some with otherworldly titles in alien letterforms, and others that riff on classic genres (Throbbing Hearts, Unwholesome Love) and eras (Drug Buddy, Huss) — each inspire a multitude of interpretations, build entire worlds, and suggest entire narratives that lie within their non-existent guts. This is Burns at his most playful, imaginative, and suggestive, using the format of the comic book to continue to explore many of the themes that run through all his longer-form work — adolescence, metamorphosis, nightmares, and sexuality — and provide a pretext for the creation of some of the most mysterious and bewitching imagery of Burns’s incredible career. Kommix is like discovering an entire box of comic books you never knew existed.”
Burns has been busy since Black Hole, publishing X’ed Out, The Hive, and Sugar Skull through Fantagraphics sister company Pantheon. He’s also released three volumes of Dédales with Cornelius in France.
The new book will hit stores on July 9, 2024, and is currently available for preorder.
How Harlan Ellison Got One Of Everything Marvel Publishes:
Not necessarily news, but certainly new to even comic book scholars like Neil Gaiman: Harlan Ellison used to get one of everything Marvel published.
The story was told by Kurt Busiek over on Bluesky. Said Busiek: “Back when, Bill Mantlo had a habit of occasionally plagiarizing stuff in comics, under the impression that it was fine because everyone did it. But he made the mistake of plagiarizing an Ellison story in HULK, and the s**t hit the fan, because Harlan actually read it.
“So Harlan threatened to Sue, and Marvel ask Bill if he’d swiped the story and Bill said ‘Uh, is there a problem with that?’ So Marvel asked Harlan what it would take to settle the case. Part of the settlement was that Harlan got one of everything Marvel produced for the rest of his life.
“And that didn’t just mean one of every comic or GN, no. One of every poster, catalogue, sell sheet, everything. If Marvel made travel alarm clocks as a giveaway for freelancers, Harlan got one of those, too. And Harlan paid attention.”
Busiek goes on to explain that when he was at Marvel, Ellison would call him up, never angry, to get what was owed him. If you’re curious, the issue Mantlo plagiarized was The Incredible Hulk #286. It was stolen from Ellison’s story “Soldier from Tomorrow,” which Ellison also adapted into an episode of The Outer Limits.
Perhaps of note, “Soldier of Tomorrow” was the subject of another successful plagiarism lawsuit, this time from a movie that eventually settled with Ellison and added his name to the credits. That movie? The Terminator.
For Comic Book Club News, I’m Alex Zalben. Another movie that ripped off Harlan Ellison’s work? Paul Blart.
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