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DC Comics Have Told Marvel That They Own Machine Man

Earlier this week, we looked at when DC Comics realised that Warner Bros. owned lots of intellectual property they could turn into comics.

Article Summary

  • DC Comics lays claim to Marvel's Machine Man, citing ownership over IP origins.
  • Machine Man's roots traced back to Kirby’s work on '2001: A Space Odyssey' comics.
  • Marvel informed by DC of potential copyright issues with future Machine Man work.
  • Speculation arises on Machine Man joining DC's roster, possibly the Justice Gang.

Earlier this week, Bleeding Cool took a look at when DC Comics realised that Warner Bros. owned lots of intellectual property that they could turn into comic books. Even though they didn't do a lot of it. But we got Mad Max, Hanna Barbera, Lost Boys and Django Unchained comic books out of it, Just no Dirty Harry, Goonies or Mortal Kombat.

But I did discover that, as part of the journey, DC Comics decided that they owned Marvel's Machine Man character. All because he began as X-51, a character in the Jack Kirby adaptation and continuation of the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, published by Marvel in the seventies. And because Warner Bros. owns that movie, they also own the comic book and the continuing series.

I also understand that DC Comics has now informed Marvel that they believe that they own Machine Man, and future publication may entail some elaboration manoeuvers in the copyright indicia on Marvel's part in order to comply with various copyright and trademark requirements. And also DC Comics might just reprint the 2001 adaptation by Jack Kirby if they feel so minded…

Jack Kirby wrote and pencilled both the adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the ten-issue series which followed in 1976, and the project was part of the agreement of Kirby's return to Marvel, after working for DC Comics in the Fourth World titles. Kirby incorporated additional dialogue to the adaptation from the Arthur C Clarke novel and an earlier draft of the screenplay.

In issue #8, Kirby introduces Mister Machine, the robot X-51. who gains sentience and thanks to an encounter with a Monolith, takes the name Aaron Stack and tries to hide amongst humanity. When 2001: A Space Odyssey would soon come to an end, but the character was given his own series shortly after, reportedly renamed Machine Man due to a naming conflict with an Ideal Toys robot named Mr. Machine. Subsequently and the character would then appear in the likes of Thor, Iron Man, Machine Man 2020, Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E, NextWAVE and the Iron Man 2020 event.

But hey, with Warners and DC saying what they say, how about making him a new ember of the Justice League? I'm sorry, I mean Justice Gang

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Rich JohnstonAbout 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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