In a happy conclusion to a two-year legal battle, comics publisher Dynamite Entertainment has announced a new John Carter: Warlord of Mars comic with the approval of ERB Inc., better known as Edgar Rice Burroughs Incorporated. The legal woes revolved around the rights to John Carter, an early science fiction hero character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also created Tarzan. Most people probably know the character from the disastrous 2012 Disney flop John Carter starring Taylor Kitsch (though I hear it was a better movie than critics say!).
Dynamite’s possible infringement on ERB Inc’s trademark sparked the argument back in 2012, when they published Warlord Of Mars comics while the license from ERB Inc. was held by Marvel. It was a murky muck of IP law: some of the early works featuring John Carter, including Princess of Mars,are in the public domain, but ERB Inc. still has the trademark for the character himself. (For a good breakdown of the issues check out this article by io9 at the time of suit.) So whether Dynamite could legally publish its Warlord of Mars books was up for debate, and with complicated and vague issues to be decided it would prove to be an expensive legal battle.
Now, instead of duking it out in court, Dynamite and ERB Inc. have reached an agreement to allow officially licensed John Carter: Warlord of Mars comics to come out from the publisher. Hooray for happy endings? Hopefully Dynamite will take this opportunity to update their comics, as every single Warlord of Mars cover seems to feature scantily clad Martian ladies in very sexy poses. But at least the guys tend to be pretty scantily clad too? (But wow, Dynamite, wow.)
If you want to catch up on John Carter comics without all the nipples, I hear Marvel’s recent John Carter: Princess of Mars is a good place to begin.