The Ominous Octopus

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Will Eisner And The Wonderman Plagiarism Suit

Wonderman somehow failed to live up to his name and wasn't all that wonderful. And in this case Will Eisner didn't exactly live up to the hype either.

Wonder Man (Fox Publications)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wonder Man
Wonder Comics Cover 1.jpg
Cover of Wonder Comics #1: The only appearance of Wonder Man.
Publication information
PublisherFox Publications
First appearanceWonder Comics #1 (May 1939)
Created byWill Eisner
In-story information
Alter egoFred Carson
AbilitiesVast super strength, speed & stamina, multiple extra sensory and vision powers, invulnerability, longevity, flight.
Wonder Man is a fictional comic book superhero, created by Will Eisner, whose first (and only) appearance was Wonder Comics #1 (May, 1939).
The character is of some historical significance by virtue of the lawsuit that resulted from his only appearance.


 Fictional character history

Wonder Man's secret identity is Fred Carson. During an excursion to Tibet, an old monk bestows Carson with a ring that gave him the power to fight evil when the need arose. His powers are almost exactly like those of Superman, the character he's based on.

 Publication history

Wonder Man was created by Will Eisner in the Eisner-Iger Shop for Victor Fox, who was publishing astrology magazines when he ran across his distributor's reports on the incredible sales for National Periodicals' Action Comics in February 1939. He immediately decided to get into the comic book business, setting up offices in the same building DC had theirs, then contacted Eisner. Using the pen name Willis, Eisner wrote and drew the first issue of Wonder Comics which appeared on the news stands less than six weeks later.


On March 15, 1939 DC Comics brought a copyright infringement lawsuit against Fox, due to the character's similarities to Superman, as well as story and illustration elements that were similar to previous Superman adventures. The case was brought to court in Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc., 111 F.2d 432 (2d Cir. 1940), in which Eisner defended the originality of his creation. Despite this testimony, the subsequent decision forced Fox to drop the character after just one issue.
Wonder Comics however, continued as a title, featuring Yarko the Great in #2, then changed its name to Wonderworld Comics featuring The Flame in #3 and continued for another 30 issues.
This was the first copyright lawsuit in comic book history and set a precedent for DC Comics' vigorous protection of its characters (see also National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications).
The dispute is depicted in disguised fashion in Eisner's semi-autobiographical graphic novel, The Dreamer. However, this depiction is at odds with Eisner's own testimony at the trial, transcripts of which were unearthed in 2010.[1]
See Master Man for a similar character.

 External links

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I have some complaints about Eisner, particularly the way he had his comic book "hero" the Spirit beating up on his girlfriend. And now it turns out he wasn't even telling the truth about the Wonder Man lawsuit in his autobiographic novel where he referred back to the Wonder Man plagiarism case.

Eisner's THE DREAMER had it that he had copied Superman under Victor Fox's orders and later testified to that effect under oath. But what the record shows is that Eisner perjured himself by claiming to have independently come up with "Wonder Man" on his own without an influence of any kind from DC Comic's Superman. I think Eisner thought that was a good story: whether or not he believed it himself, he had everybody else believing it for a while. Me too. I had no way of knowing anything else about it at the time.

Reblogged from http://thecomicsdetective.blogspot.com/2010/07/dc-vs-victor-fox-testimony-of-will.html:






I put those pictures on my blog some time ago, and now I can't seem to put any comments between them. The subject is covered in greater detail at the site I got them from.

One last word: Wonder Man is a sissy! If he was supposed to be a copy of Superman, he sure wasn't a good one!

Wonderman Plaigerism Case:


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