Saturday, 19 December 2015

Star Wars: Cease & Desist

(from Cerebus Bi-Weekly #1, December 1988)
The inside back cover of Cerebus 1 featured an ad for a Star Wars portfolio by Gene Day. When permission to do the portfolio was denied by Lucusfilms, all copies of the portfolio were destroyed except for Gene Day's personal copies which are in the possession of the Gene Day Estate.



Jeff Seiler said...

Well, I can certainly see the timeliness of this post. So, a week off from Dave Sim & Me. Back next week, God willing, with a lengthy letter for a Boxing Day present, followed the next week by another entry from our old friend, Mr. Douglas Jeffery, of Hillsdale College.

CerebusTV said...

What could she have been thinking? Poor Gene - $48 for all that effort.

Steve said...

So it seems to me that at least a few - perhaps four? - were sold before the cease and desist letter. So there's a few 'in the wild'.

I wonder how many are in the Estate? ...perhaps all the rest...


Michael said...

The one that is linked in the article is number 115 of 250

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing one these portfolios on Ebay some years back. Wish I had bought it.

Max West said...

Marvel and DC are just as vicious too about protecting their intellectual property. I heard about crackdowns on artists selling fanart or sketchbooks with superheroes and other such characters in them.

Anonymous said...

I just read in the link, page 1 of the portfolio, that Deni approached Day to do the portfolio.

To give Day the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he just loved the movie so much, and was so excited by drawing the characters he loved, that the copyright implications did not occur to him.

Frankly I don't really see how any of them - Day, Dave and Deni - could have overlooked the obvious copyright infringement. And this is clearly copyright infringement - purely reproducing iconic images from the movies for profit.

The only possible creative elements could be that Day rearranged some of the images in a montage style and his rendering. But Star Wars was also using this montage style in their promotions, including the movie poster itself, so it's hard to see this as anything but trading in Star Wars imagery for profit, even if Day genuinely loved the source material.

This is not a case of a parody, commentary, a not-for-profit tribute, or a re-purposing of the images in the context of some different artistic work. In my view, Day and AV were clearly in the wrong on this one.

- Reginald P.

whc03grady said...

So how did it pan out? Did A-V pony up $48 to Fox? Did ol' Vic pass Deni's (I assume; that ain't Dave's writing) hand-written, clearly panicked scrawl around the Toronto Fox offices for laughs? And how did a talented artist like Gene Day turn out such a poorly-rendered Darth Vader (7th actual portfolio image)?


Travis Pelkie said...

Well, it didn't turn out all bad for Gene Day regarding Star Wars, as he (later? not sure of the timeline) drew stuff for the Marvel comic book. I believe the second Omnibus HC collection that they recently put out of the original SW Marvel comics featured a Gene Day cover, in fact. So maybe it was something he was able to show at Marvel to say "hey, I can draw these characters!"

And now that Master of Kung Fu is also finally being collected by Marvel in Omnibus form, more Day art should finally be available to comics fans. And I think that's a good thing (even though it's mostly Marvel that will profit).

Steve said...

OK, so this post is a little late to the party, but here's the URL for one up for sale on eBay :