Superman’s logo is easily one of the most recognizable images anywhere on the globe. The symbol of the House of El (it’s not an S) effortlessly conjures images of a musclebound man with a blue suit and a spit curl — and that’s something that DC Comics is keen to maintain. In fact, the comic book giant recently even went up against Jesus in court over the usage of the House of El symbol, and DC Comics has officially been declared the victor.
This report comes to us from Bleeding Cool. It all started last year when Stacey Lane Holmsley filed a trademark for a Jesus-inspired logo that appeared to use elements of the Superman shield as its border. Keen to keep the aspects of its IP in-check, DC opposed the trademark and was all set to take Holmsley to court. However, Holmsley ultimately never responded –leading to a victory by default for DC Comics. This is far from the first time that an incident like this has occurred — particularly with regards to the Superman symbol. Over the years, DC has had to contend with many people appropriating elements of the House of El symbol, with many people trying to use the logo in advertisements for small businesses.
The idea of rights (and the subsequent usage of those rights) has become a significant issue in the world of comic book heroes over the years. Companies like Disney and Warner Bros. have gone to great lengths to ensure that properties like Superman, Batman, and Captain America never enter the public domain, as that would give anyone the right to use these images and the worlds that they conjure. That’s ultimately why we can have several films, and TV shows debut every year featuring a character like Sherlock Holmes (who very much exists in public domain), while we can only get the Batman movies made by the folks at Warner Bros. and DC Comics.
It’s also one of the primary reasons why conversations between companies like Disney and 20th Century Fox have become so interesting. If the rights from one company get negotiated over to another, then we could see characters from the X-Men movies cross over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When viewed through that lens, you can start to get a pretty good idea of why these rights are so crucial to these companies — and why they restrict who can use them.
For now, it looks like Superman can enjoy his victory. The character is expected to make his live-action return in the DCEU when Justice League premieres next weekend on November 17. Make sure to get your tickets for the long-awaited superhero epic and check out our handy Justice League guide to keep yourself up-to-date on everything that we currently know about the film.