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Category: Comics

Rise of the Public Domain Superheroes

Almost immediately after Superman first appeared in 1938’s Action Comics #1, other publishers took note of the character’s instant popularity, and rushed to produce similar characters of their own, giving rise to both the term “superhero” and to an entirely new genre of speculative fiction. Many of these publishers went out of business. Others failed to provide proper copyright notices, or to renew their copyrights, as required under the copyright laws in effect at the time. The laws have changed in the intervening decades, but those older works had already fallen into what is known as the public domain.

The altered reality of Star Trek

In May 2009, the eleventh Star Trek feature film boldly went where no Trek had gone before: rebooting and reimagining the franchise, under the aegis of producer/director J.J. Abrams. The film paid homage to the previous Star Trek continuity via a time-travel plot that resulted in massive changes to history, and a new timeline, now only loosely connected to the original, was born.

These are a few of my favorite things

Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 1984. I’m six (“and a half!”) years old, and this is the year I would discover some seriously cool stuff: Transformers and G.I. Joe. While G.I. Joe had debuted two years earlier, and my older brother, Kevin, doubtless had some of the toys, I didn’t really notice that stuff until after I’d turned six. At this point, I was beginning to become one of the “big kids,” and my tastes in toys reflected that. The fact that, a year later in 1985, both toy lines would have TV shows – which were, really, little better than half-hour-long daily commercials for said toys – certainly aided in my discovery. That year also saw the release of a new cartoon in the U.S.: Robotech, and by 1986, I’d also discovered Voltron, another Japanese import. Add these to my existing love of the Star Wars toys, and I’m shocked my mother was able to refrain from causing physical harm to myself or my brother whenever we happened to pass a toy aisle when we’d go shopping.