Sunday, February 18, 2018

Red Son Superman versus Sovietman! plus their suits for Poser and DAZ



I read Superman: Red Son too long ago to remember why it disappointed me. I suspect I wanted to either read a fun story in an alternate world or a profound commentary on capitalism, communism, libertarianism, and authoritarianism, and I didn't get either.

When I decided to recreate the character's costume, I realized something else. While I admire the Red Son Superman's design, I know it reflects US propaganda in the most heavy-handed way. The color scheme is more appropriate for Hitler's Germany than Stalin's Russia. If the Soviets had designed a superhero costume that suggested authority, they would've chosen their military colors, green and red. But what's most likely is they would've used the colors of their flag.

So I've made two costumes for the free Uzilite Super Hero for Poser and DAZ's Michael 4. The first is for the Red Son Superman, which, I am sure, is thoroughly trademarked by DC. The second is for a character I call Sovietman, who I am placing in the public domain for anyone to use. The logo is my creation, but DC's lawyers could claim the design is too close to Superman's because of its shield shape, so use it at your own risk.

At ShareCG: Red Son Superman & Sovietman for Uzilite M4 Suit

At Renderosity: Red Son Superman and Sovietman for Uzilite M4 Suit

Waku, Prince of the Bantu, Marvel's first major black hero


I've noted often that in the 1960s, Marvel was better with race and DC was better with gender. Marvel was better with race in the 1950s too. Their first black character to win cover status and an on-going series was Waku, who appeared in Jungle Tales:
One regular feature in Jungle Tales, "Waku, Prince of the Bantu", starred an African chieftain in Africa, with no regularly featured Caucasian characters. Marvel Comics' first Black feature star,[3] he was created by writer Don Rico and artist Ogden Whitney, succeeded by artist John Romita Sr. Waku, who predated mainstream comics' first black superhero, Marvel's Black Panther, by nearly a dozen years, headlined one of four regular features in each issue. It would take a decade for the first African-American series star, the Western character Lobo, to appear, and nearly two decades before the likes of the Black Panther, Luke Cage, and the Falcon would star in solo series.
Image via Eric Wilkinson-Gilyard 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

On the public domain Superman, plus a free Fleischer Superman for Poser and DAZ


Max Fleischer made Superman fly—literally. Before his Superman cartoons, Superman was limited to running faster than a speeding locomotive and leaping tall buildings with a single bound. But animating a jumping character requires a lot of drawings, so Fleischer chose to make him fly, and the comic books imitated him.

After the cartoon rights reverted, DC Comics failed to renew the copyright. The Fleischer cartoons are now in the public domain, which is why many companies sell them on VHS and DVD.

But Superman’s trademarks are still owned by DC Comics. If you try to use the Fleischer Superman commercially, DC’s lawyers will use trademark law to come after you.

And the only person who can defeat a superhero is a lawyer.

The Superman suit for Poser and DAZ's Michael 4: Uzilite Super Hero.

My Fleischer variation at ShareCG: Superman - Fleischer - for free Uzilite M4 Suit. And at Renderosity: Superman - Fleischer - for free Uzilite M4 Suit.

Credit for the Max Fleischer Superman logo that I used: MachSabre on DeviantArt.

Recommended:

TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT versus PUBLIC DOMAIN

Superman, Superdad, and the Limits of a Trademark Parody Defense | TheTMCA.com

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Are Mickey Mouse's spats and gloves racist? The argument against.

I love Ty Templeton's comics, but I think he and the people he's siding with are wrong about Mickey Mouse's spats and gloves coming from the minstrel tradition.

Here's the comic: The Gloves are Off Bun Toons!

And here's the condensed version of my argument in the comments:

1. Mickey Mouse was created in 1928. One year earlier, Cole Porter wrote Puttin' On the Ritz, which opens:
Have you seen the well-to-do, up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare, with their noses in the air
High hats and Arrow collars, white spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime, for a wonderful time
Spats were popular for a decade after Mickey was created.

2. When Mickey first appeared, he did not wear shoes or gloves. Walt Disney claims,
We didn’t want him to have mouse hands, because he was supposed to be more human. So we gave him gloves. Five Fingers looked like too much on such a little figure, so we took one away. That was just one less finger to animate.
Now, it's possible Disney was revising his past when he said that. The man was antisemitic, he refused to hire women for years, and the kindest thing you can say about Song of the South is that it has some great songs and a remarkably clueless approach to the portrayal of black folks.

But if you look at the earliest appearances of Mickey in black and white films, you should notice that his hands are less distinct than in the later ones with the white gloves. Once the gloves were established, the studio kept them.

You can see how Mickey evolved at Mickey Mouse Through the Years.

3. I haven't found Mickey's first appearance in spats. He only seems to wear them when he has an occasion to dress up. But I can say this: if Mickey was created to make fun of black people, the problem is greater than gloves and spats.

ETA:

4. In early cartoons, black characters spoke in an extreme southern black dialect. Mickey Mouse did not.

5. Mickey, from his first appearance, was remarkably scrappy and clever. If he was intended to be black, he should be seen as more admirable, not less.

ETA:

From Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks. Steamboat Willie. 1928 | MoMA:
So strong was the audience demand for Steamboat Willie that two weeks after its premiere Disney re-released it at the largest theater in the world, the Roxy in New York City. Critics came to see in Mickey Mouse a blend of Charlie Chaplin in his championing of the underdog, Douglas Fairbanks in his rascally adventurous spirit, and Fred Astaire in his grace and freedom from gravity's laws.


Steamboat Willie


Fred Astaire - Puttin' On The Ritz from Evgeny Demchenko on Vimeo.