In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out if Blue Beetle was legally prohibited from being in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundredth installment in which we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false.
As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.
Justice League Unlimited was legally prohibited from using Blue Beetle in the series.
For the 800th installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, I thought I’d do a special edition, so this time, it’s a double-size edition. In honor of my daily survey series that I have been doing this year (click Here to vote on the ones that are still open), I let people vote if they wanted me to make six legends about DC characters or six legends about Marvel characters, and in both cases, I would deal with at least one legend that people had me have. been asking you to do it for over a decade. The winner of the poll was DC, so I start with a legend that I’ve been getting since I started doing Comic Book Legends Revealed in 2005 (some of the specific requests I have on file come from 2006, 2007, 2008 and more . It was a very popular request in its day) and that request is, “What happened to Blue Beetle and Justice League Unlimited?”
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In case you’re somehow unfamiliar with it, Justice League Unlimited was a sequel / revamp to the Justice League cartoon series that ran between 2004 and 2006 and that ran under the idea of taking the concept original Justice League game and expand the group’s membership dramatically (one could say to an almost “limitless” degree) …
The series introduced a host of new characters to the League, many of whom never got a chance to be the center of attention in the series, as they were LOTS of new additions (although there were a number of new League members that YES received attention and became fan favorites, as a new approach to the Question) and yet in the midst of all these characters, one notable character that was absent was the Blue Beetle …
The Blue Beetle, as you may or may not know, was originally a Fox Comics character during the Golden Age and after Fox closed the company sold the Beetle to Charlton Comics and when Charlton Comics went out of the superhero comics business , Charlton sold his superhero characters to DC (DC executive editor Dick Giordano had been an editor at Charlton, so it was almost like a gift to him).
The problem with sales like this is that, you might be surprised to learn this, but comic book companies were never the best record keepers, and as a result, several of these sales over the years have been a bit shady. Part of that is the informality of it all. You see, people who were making comics when comics were booming were definitely paying attention to their rights, but people who were making comics in the late 1940s, when superheroes started going out of style, were paying a lot less. attention and then when the comic book companies closed they REALLY weren’t paying attention to their paperwork. So when they were doing sales, it was often kind of a generic “Here are all of our characters” treatment. So you’d get things like Charlton selling Peter Cannon’s character Thunderbolt to DC when Charlton didn’t actually have the rights to Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt, to sell!
Thus, when Blue Beetle was not featured in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, it was natural to assume that there was a similar issue with DC legally using the character in their cartoons, although, interestingly, Blue Beetle appeared in the comic. linked to the Justice League Unlimited series …
However, no one knew for sure that there was a legal problem, as it was kind of conjecture based on the fact that the character was not used in the cartoons.
My friend John Trumbull was talking about Justice League Unlimited and the lack of Blue Beetle on the show a few years ago when Justice League Unlimited director and DC Animated Universe artist Dan Riba stopped by. to talk about the situation:
Blue Beetle had a … complicated legal problem. Charlton’s claim about the character was a bit dubious. So DC needed to tweak things before letting someone tweak it. The comics were deemed okay as they were pretty much under the radar … but a TV show or toy was too high profile for something that might require some kind of payment. But they did the legal work and either paid the heirs or found there were none and Charlton’s claim on the character was legally binding.
I’m willing to give in to Dan on this one, so I think it’s fair enough to say that DC wasn’t sure if they were legally covered, but they were in fact covered, so the reason Blue Beetle wasn’t on the show wasn’t It was because it was actually forbidden, but because they weren’t sure it WAS NOT forbidden (and when they realized it was okay, the show was over).
Thanks to John and Dan for the information!
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PART TWO SOON!
Check back later to see part 2 of this installment’s Legends!
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