A Marvel/DC Crossover? An Elvis/Beatles Crossover? What's Going On?

Found on Amazon. The Batman, Spiderman, and Superman The Super Hero's Trio Coloring Book: For Kid's Ages 5 to 12 Years Old

That's right, Batman, Spider-Man and Superman in the same colouring book. Maybe a couple of decades ago, but now? It's being made available as a print-on-demand title through Amazon, but also Barnes & Noble and the like.

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It looks very much like a copyright/trademark/license-challenging work, given legitimacy by being sold through Amazon, that I'm sure both Marvel and DC lawyers might want to look into.

Especially considering other works from the same publisher, Mrs Beatrice Harrison, colouring books using Disney Princesses, Garfield, Peanuts, Star Wars, Monster High, Scooby Doo, Harry Potter, Barbie, Bratz, Hot Wheels, Mario, anything with a vaguely exploitable brand, without any indication that these are the real deal.

Nat Gertler, who does licence the works of Charles Schutz for his About Comics publisher, dug into deep detail on the attempts to do this with Peanuts, pointing out a number of shoddy practices.

In the lower right corner of this and every image in the book is a URL. It points to a website that provides unlicensed downloads of images for coloring (I've blotted out part of the URL because I don't feel like advertising such a site). That's right, this book is just made up of images downloaded from that site, and the only reason why there are only 43 images in this book is  that website has exactly 43 Peanuts images on it.

And

Hmmm… the top half is the cover of the recent graphic novel It's Tokyo, Charlie Brown, cropped to remove both the title and most of the Schulz signature at the bottom. And this isn't even some nice scan done from a printed copy of the book; it's pixelated and has blatant jpeg artifacts, so it's clear that the author just downloaded a cover shot from the web.

41NI8mb1BNLGertler also clarifyies that Harrison does seem to be a genuine author, with a novel written with Mr Rodney Harrison and available on Amazon Print-On-Demand. Let's read the synopsis of Sweet Hearts: A Romantic Suspense Novel.

A romantic suspense and love story all in one! Charlotte Drew and Stephen Whitman were high school sweethearts. They fell in love as teenagers and a very young romantic couple, they had a special bond; they were once known as the high school sweethearts until they grown apart and ten years later they ran into each other again, they hug and kiss, and both of them are now married with their spouse. Charlotte and Stephen feelings never faded away for each other; they start dating and having a secret romantic love affair outside of their marriage. Their spouses are unaware of the unfaithfulness among them. Charlotte and Stephen both wanted out of their marriage so that they could be together, but this lead to a deadly love triangle when a spouse comes up dead.

Mr Harrison also participates, it seems, with more of these unlicensed colouring-in books.

But doing a number on Marvel and DC is one thing. What if you were also determined to publish an Elvis Presley and The Beatles Coloring Book: For Kid's Ages 5 to 10 Years Old?

I don't believe there are bigger lawyers than the folks represented on behalf of those two particular music brands…

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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