Previously on Comics: When Racists and Overzealous Lawyers Attack: #Inktober C&D 2019

With the holiday season in full swing and mall parking lots even more dangerous than usual, it’s good to know that we can still rely on the comics industry to be there for us, for better or for worse. 

Marvel Introduces New Arab American Superhero: Amulet

“He’s Arab American from Dearborn, Michigan and was created by myself and Sara Alfageeh,” tweeted Saladin Ahmed, who is currently writing The Magnificent Ms. Marvel where the character will appear in issue #13.

“Anyone Can Inktober” — Except Everyone but Jake Parker

After artists began receiving cease and desist letters regarding the selling of their Inktober branded artwork, it was discovered that Inktober hashtag originator Jake Parker had trademarked the name, spurring backlash online from people targeted by Parker’s lawyer and their supporters. Parker’s supporters came to his defense, arguing that this was a human mistake on his part, that he was really a Nice Guy trying to protect his creative idea, or that the trademark only affects merchandise using the logo.

Started in 2009, Parker has encouraged artists of all kinds to participate in the October artistic challenge, creating a large community that has helped to expand the concept beyond its humble hashtag beginnings. Many artists sell their artwork under the Inktober name, and Parker himself has profited off of the concept with merchandise and tools of his own. But now the former have been ordered to remove any merchandises branded in this manner.

Parker later responded to the backlash with an “apology” that blamed his overzealous lawyer for, you know, doing exactly what he paid said lawyer to do when he filed for this trademark in 2017 (received in 2018) as part of his plans to publish a book next year. The trademark affects “books providing art instruction, drawing books, sketch books, prints.” Not simply the logo, as some have claimed.

In a later statement on his blog, Parker claimed that he decided to trademark the term because “it started being invaded by individuals outside of the community trying to make a quick buck.” He further states that he was afraid that “people could sell a horrible racist inktober shirt” and, “as the creator of the challenge I feel responsible to legally protect it.” He also explains how artists can continue to use Inktober in their merchandise in a way that avoids legal ramifications due to Parker’s defense of the trademark, and offers the opportunity for artists who have received C&D letters to work with him to correct the listing of their work.

Many artists who have been hurt by or disagree with his actions and alleged motivations note that they understand Parker’s choice to capitalize on this concept he created, but receiving C&D letters as the first notification of his plans seems disingenuous. If only there had been some way he could have communicated this development earlier to the community that has helped shape and maintain the popularity of the Inktober challenge…

Jen Bartel Takes Nebula Back to Her Roots

For issue two of the new Nebula series from Marvel, artist Jen Bartel got to play around with character designs that revisit Nebula’s pre-cyborg origins.

LEGO Friends Think Science is Booooooring

A parent shared panels from the December 2019 issue of LEGO Friends Magazine where a group of girls express their dislike for boring science stuff. No, this isn’t 1992 when Teen Talk Barbie uttered the words, “math class is tough.”  This is 2019 where other branches of LEGO are busy promoting women in STEM.

LEGO has since issued a shitty apology: “We believe that LEGO play is for everyone and our magazines should reflect that. With this story, we were trying to show that girls have lots of different interests and passions including science and STEM but we appreciate that some of the language we used missed the mark this time and we apologise. We will certainly learn from this and do better in future.”

Hey, remember when LEGO encouraged all children to build and play together?

Quick Hits

The Free Comic Book Day lineup for 2020 has been announced.

The animated Superman: Red Son trailer was released.

The Far Side website now features our favourite comics online, and, says creator Gary Larson, a few new ones will slip in.

Inker Gerry Alanguilan passes away at the age of 51.

Check out highlights from the Mumbai Comic Con.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.