Champions #25 Champions #25 - Written by Jim Zub. Art by Sean Izaakse & Max Dunbar. Cover by Sean Izaakse. Marvel Battle Lines Variant Cover by Keunwoo Lee.

OVERSIZED 25TH ISSUE!

Celebrate 25 issues of Champions with the start of a brand-new story and a perfect jumping-on point!

Swords and sorcery beckon as our heroes travel to Weirdworld, a place where dreams can come true, but nightmares are never far away!

A quest begins and sacrifices will be made...

Rated T+ - 40 pgs./$4.99 - On Sale October 3rd


Champions #26 Champions #26 - Written by Jim Zub. Art by Sean Izaakse & Max Dunbar. Cover by Sean Izaakse. Uncanny X-Men Variant Cover by Rob Liefeld.

In a world of magic and glory, the Champions can take hold of what they desire, but not without a price...

Plus, how can Snowguard protect the North, when she's not even on planet Earth?

Rated T+ - 32 pgs./$3.99 - On Sale November 7th


Champions Vol. 4: Northern Lights TPB Champions Vol. 4: Northern Lights TPB - Written by Jim Zub. Art by Sean Izaakse & Emilio Laiso. Cover by Stefano Caselli.

A fresh era begins as Ironheart and the Unstoppable Wasp join the Champions!

The team has grown, but the mission stays the same - fighting to make the world a better place for all!

But the super villain known as the Master has plans, too: he's determined to save Earth from itself! And the Champions are going to...help?!

But the Champions are on a collision course with Alpha Flight!

Could Ms. Marvel have to battle her idol, Captain Marvel? And who is the new hero Snowguard? Plus: Nova no more?!

And the events of Infinity Countdown are felt as the battle for the Power Stone sends the Champions into outer space, where they'll fight for - Thanos!

Strange allegiances and sacrifices will be made...and one young hero is about to lose everything.

Collecting CHAMPIONS (2016) #19-21 and INFINITY COUNTDOWN: CHAMPIONS #1-2.

Rated T+ - 136 pgs./$17.99 - On Sale November 7th

Overview of the Court Case:

From November 15-17, 1999, a trial was held in bankruptcy court (Marvel Comics was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the time) to determine ownership of the Nova character; Nova's creator, Marv Wolfman, or Marvel Comics, the publisher of Nova's comics. Below are excerpts from the trial which pertained to Nova followed by Judge Roderick McKelvie's ruling of November 6, 2000.

The following people are:
Marv Wolfman (creator of Nova)
Michael Diliberto (Marv Wolfman's attorney)
David Fleischer (Marvel's attorney)


Excerpt from the Opening Statement of Michael Diliberto:

If you look at our timeline, I will point out just the relevant facts. Again, 1967, Wolfman creates Nova. In 1967, Wolfman obtained a copyright registration, which we have a certified copy of for the Court, for the character Nova, which was published in a comic book that he, himself, published in 1967. In 1968, he writes another Nova story and obtains another copyright registration, for which we have certified copies from the copyright office. According to the Siegel holding, if a work is created prior to any employment relationship with a publisher, there can be no presumption of work for hire even though the writer later brings the characters into a company, revises them at their behest and, in fact, is paid for that work. That's the holding of Siegel, that there's no presumption of work for hire in that instance.


Excerpt from the Direct Examination of Marv Wolfman by Michael Diliberto:

Diliberto: Mr. Wolfman, what is Exhibit 501?

Wolfman: A copy of Super Adventures #6.

Diliberto: And what character is contained in that issue that you created?

Wolfman: Well, among the many different characters that are in here, the one that's most pertinent is a Man Called Nova.

Diliberto: And that's the character in your proof of claim; is that correct?

Wolfman: Yes, it is.

Diliberto: And did you create and draw the Nova character?

Wolfman: I created it along with friend Len Wein.

Diliberto: Would you describe the creation process of that character between you and Len Wein?

Wolfman: We sat down together. We were very good friends. We worked out the ideas. I had wanted to make another character that had a stronger character and a better character because I handled it a little bit differently, and we talked about everything. We worked out the costume. We worked out the story details. That's why it's story and art by the two of us. We created the entire thing together.

Diliberto: Did you write the story that appears in this issue #6 of Super Adventures?

Wolfman: Yes. I wrote Chapter 1 and, of course, co-plotted Chapter 2. He co-plotted Chapter 1 and wrote Chapter 2.

Diliberto: Who drew this Chapter 1?

Wolfman: I drew Chapter 1.

Diliberto: And when did you create the Nova character?

Wolfman: In approximately 1967.

Diliberto: Now, I notice that it has a legend saying Super Adventures #6, copyrighted 1967 by Marvin A. Wolfman.

Wolfman: Right.

Diliberto: Is that the date at which Nova was created? The year, rather?

Wolfman: It may have taken a couple weeks or months to draw the story, but, yes. It would be in 1967.

Diliberto: And would you identify where the Nova character appears in this exhibit?

Wolfman: Well, he first appears on the cover. The one who's faced away from us. On the left-hand side, he's in the black uniform with the hood, the white, the sort of belt that has the stripe down the center that leads to the, I guess a bootstrap or something. I don't know what that would be called. That's that character.

Diliberto: Turning now to Exhibit 502 - I'd like to mark for identification Exhibit 502 and 503 and have the witness explain what those are.

Wolfman: [Exhibit] 502 is the cover and the first, I guess - the editorial page of Super Adventures #7, the actual #7. And 503 is the cover and the first page of Super Adventures #8. Those are, again, two more issues, two more fan magazines that I had published.

Diliberto: And when did you publish Super Adventures #7?

Wolfman: Summer 1967.

Diliberto: And when did you publish Super Adventures issue #8?

Wolfman: It doesn't say, but it would have been probably winter of 1967, early 1968. They tended to come out twice a year, maybe.

Diliberto: Would you identify Exhibit 504?

Wolfman: This is a copy of Super Adventures #9, published in the fall of 1968.

Diliberto: And did you create a character that appears in this publication as well?

Wolfman: I created several characters that appeared in it. The one that's pertinent here is, again, the Man Called Nova.

Diliberto: Now, turning to Exhibit 598, I would like to direct your attention to the portion of that exhibit, Control Numbers 1231 through 1233. Is that a copyright application that you filed?

Wolfman: Yes, I did.

Diliberto: And which Super Adventures comic book was this filed for?

Wolfman: This would have been for #9. Wait a second. What year, 1967? Hold on. I have to check. I need my dates here. No. That would have been for the first issue that Man Called Nova appeared.

Diliberto: Did you prepare this copyright application yourself?

Wolfman: Yes, I did.

Diliberto: I want to ask you what you were claiming by virtue of your copyright registration for Super Adventures issue #9 shown in Exhibit 598 at Control Number 1282?

Wolfman: Well, I was protecting the entire magazine for everyone who was creating for the magazine. What I had been informed was I had to do it in that name, so I did. Everyone's own work is protected for themselves.

--------- (Portion edited)

Diliberto: Now, the Nova story that appears in issue #9, did you co-write that with Len Wein?

Wolfman: No. This one, Len did.

Diliberto: So you wrote and drew the first story in issue #6, and then Len did the story for issue #9?

Wolfman: Yes. Since it was ours, both of us worked on it.

Diliberto: Was it your understanding that your copyright registration protected it?

Wolfman: Yes. Protected it. Made sure that all the people who created their characters owned their characters.

Diliberto: So it protected works that you created yourself as well as those by other creators?

Wolfman: Absolutely.

Diliberto: But you were not claiming ownership of work created by other creators?

Wolfman: I don't think that not only couldn't I claim it, but, for instance, I don't think I could have claimed Tarzan on 1321 or anything else that certainly was done years before.

Diliberto: And, again, these fanzine issues #6 and #9 of Super Adventures, your entire Super Adventures, these were sold, you say, in interstate commerce?

Wolfman: They were sold through the mail to virtually - I don't want to say every state, but anybody who wanted to buy them. They were sold all around the country. I had some orders from overseas. If somebody wanted it, they ordered it.

Diliberto: We'll move on to Exhibit 506. If Mr. Wolfman would identify what that is?

Wolfman: This is the cover and first page of Super Adventures #10, which is the last issue, I believe, of Super Adventures.

Diliberto: And when did you publish that issue?

Wolfman: It says 1969.

--------- (Portion edited)

Diliberto: Moving on - I'd like to mark Exhibit 524 for identification. I take it this refers to your Nova character?

Wolfman: This is Nova, yes. This is the Man Called Nova.

Diliberto: I'd like to refer to Control Number 190 of this exhibit. There's another letters page here. And I'd like you to read your comment in the letter page and explain what that comment refers to.

Wolfman: "To those who care about such things, another paragraph or two about Nova's genesis. Over 10 years ago, when this writer/editor was a poor and humble fanzine publisher, he featured a hero called 'The Star'" - that's in quotes - "in his action stories. The Star was a rather silly-looking super dude who popped alien pills, which gave him a different super power every hour. "In a special issue of the fanzine Super Adventures, lively Len Wein (and don't ask who he is) and I decided to change The Star. Len had come up with a name Black Nova and a costume and I had the story and new origin. "Esentially, Nova looks the same as Black Nova did. Instead of three stars - three instead of five stars on his chest and then now he sports a sunburst on his back, not to mention the helmet star instead of the antenna. But essentially he remains - but as I said, he has remained essentially the same in appearance.

Diliberto: What I want to ask you is: Do you know when this story was written by you that appeared in this publication?

Wolfman: This publication story? This would have been probably early '76, maybe a little bit later into the mid-'76. It's hard to tell. No. Early '76. Yes.

Diliberto: And the letters page was referring to your Nova character that you had created a decade earlier?

Wolfman: Correct.

Diliberto: Did you discuss this Nova character with Stan Lee at the time?

Wolfman: Well, at that time we were starting a new book, and that you had to show Stan the material before a new book could be created. So I essentially bought the fanzine, because I wanted him to like what it looked like, told him about it. He read it. He had gotten my fanzines anyway. I had always sent them to him as I sent them to all the big editors at the time. He liked the look. He liked the ideas. He said, "OK. Go right ahead. Do it."

Diliberto: So Stan was aware that you had created this character almost a decade earlier before you had begun freelancing at Marvel?

Wolfman: Oh, yes, yes.

--------- (Portion edited)


Excerpt from the Cross Examination of Marv Wolfman by Marvel's Attorney; David Fleischer:

Fleischer: Prior to 1998, did you ever file a complaint against Marvel or any other person alleging the infringement of any rights in any of the materials that Marvel published?

Wolfman: When you say "file a complaint," are you talking about taking a lawsuit or are you talking about verbally or in writing, complaining?

Fleischer: Let's take them one at a time. In a lawsuit?

Wolfman: No. No. Shall I answer the second part?

Fleischer: What written complaint did you make to Marvel?

Wolfman: When they published the Nova comic, and I don't recall the year - it's not the current version of Nova - I sent a letter, as I said earlier, to - it was either the writer or the editor, because the writer was also an editor at the company at the time, so I don't remember which one it was sent to, saying that, "Hey, guys, the creator is still around. I should be writing the book." That was a - I guess my gentle way of trying to say things to them.

Fleischer: In your gentle way, did you say anything else in that letter?

Wolfman: Whoever wrote the letter column wrote a lot of very, very nice things about me and the work I had done, so I thanked them for that, and then said, "By the way," and went into my point.

Fleischer: So your point was that you should have been writing the new Nova column? The new Nova story?

Wolfman: That it should not have been done without me, yes.

Fleischer: I didn't hear anything about any complaint about ownership of rights in your letter, so I'm going to assume that your letter didn't say anything about ownership of rights; is that correct?

Wolfman: You didn't hear it because I did not say you cannot publish this thing. I said it should have been done by me. You don't go in with guns blazing.

Fleischer: So you were aware of it being published and you did not say that they should stop publishing it; you just said you should be the one to write it; is that correct?

Wolfman: I should be the one. It's my character. It was my character in 1968 also. Or '67.

--------- (Portion edited)

Fleischer: Could you have written The Man Called Nova if Marvel had not assigned you to write the series?

Wolfman: Absolutely.

Fleischer: And why is that?

Wolfman: I owned it. I owned the character. I did it in 1968. I could have done Nova in '68.

Fleischer: Could you have published a book if Marvel had not assigned you was the question.

Wolfman: When I went and sold them the concept?

Fleischer: Yes, whether you sold the concept or whether Joe Blow did the concept.

Wolfman: I think the question you are asking me could I have written a comic book called Man Called Nova at Marvel unless they approved the concept?

Fleischer: Yes.

Wolfman: No, but I could have written A Man Called Nova.

--------- (Portion edited)

Fleischer: Now, do you recall, during your direct examination, testifying that you did not allow Marvel to make derivative works using your characters?

Wolfman: Derivative works? Yes. If you are talking about like movies, I complained. I wasn't able to stop the Tomb of Dracula one but that is about all I did was complain and said they didn't have the right to, and then I sent it again with the Blade.

Fleischer: The question was very simple, Mr. Wolfman. Did you say that you did not allow Marvel to make derivative works to use your characters?

Wolfman: Yes, I believe I did.

Fleischer: You also said I believe that you alone determined when and how your characters were used in Marvel's comic books; is that correct?

Wolfman: Up until the time I left. This, by the way, is 20 years after the creation of Blade. It's 19 years after. I'm sorry.

Fleischer: Is there a question that you are answering?

Wolfman: I'm answering - I'm saying what this is. And it's also -

Fleischer: What is, Mr. Wolfman? What are you testifying about?

Wolfman: Go on.

Fleischer: Do you recall testifying that you took steps to preserve your characters?

Wolfman: Yes, that I complained if they were incorrectly used.

Fleischer: And I think you also said that on two or three occasions, when other writers came up with ideas that you found acceptable, you permitted your characters to be used in other stories? (Wolfman agrees.) Are those the only situations that you can recall that happening, two or three?

Wolfman: Four, five. It wasn't a lot because I wouldn't let the people use the characters. I couldn't tell you exactly how many. It would depend upon who was the writer and it would depend upon what the idea was, but they all came to me at one point or another.

Fleischer: I'm placing before you, Mr. Wolfman, what was marked for identification as Marvel Exhibit 77. That book was published on May 16, 1978, according to the copyright registration. Is this a book that you wrote or edited?

Wolfman: No.

Fleischer: Are there any of your characters in this book?

Wolfman: Yeah, I see Nova in it.

Fleischer: Would you look at page 19, tell me if there is another character?

Wolfman: Oh, yeah. There is Torpedo.

Fleischer: And how did Nova and Torpedo happen to be published in this Defenders book?

Wolfman: I'm sure Dave Kraft asked me about it. It was a very minor usage. They were not integral to the story. This was a book that featured guest features.

Fleischer: Mr. Wolfman, I asked you how they appeared in it. I didn't ask you to tell me anything else.

Wolfman: As I say, my assumption is David Kraft came and asked about it.

Fleischer: Do you recall giving Mr. Kraft explicit permission to use it or did Marvel just go ahead and publish it?

Wolfman: No, people came to me to ask me about it, so if you are asking me to remember every single instance on books that I did not write where someone came by and said I have an idea, is it OK, I can't do that.

Fleischer: You can't do that because?

Wolfman: This is 21 years ago.

Fleischer: There are only two or three occasions on which it happened, according to your direct testimony?

Wolfman: There are very few occasions. Very few occasions.

Fleischer: Let me place before you Exhibit 79 which should be two tabs behind 77?

Wolfman: Yes.

Fleischer: First, let me ask you if you recall being contacted by anyone in connection with this issue and being asked to use one of your characters?

Wolfman: First, let me state this is 1990. This was not while I was at Marvel. OK? So that's very important. And no, after I left Marvel, I did not receive phone calls or requests about using the characters.

Fleischer: Did you become aware that characters that you claim to be your own were being used on a regular basis in Marvel publications?

Wolfman: No, I didn't read Marvel comics after I left them except for Spider-Man and Fantastic Four for a very little bit.

Fleischer: No one ever told you?

Wolfman: They wouldn't bother.

Fleischer: No one ever told you over a period of 20 years that your characters were appearing on a regular basis in the Marvel comic books?

Wolfman: The ones I knew about. I knew the Nova comic book. Didn't know most of the others because they wouldn't be on the cover. They would not be the title of the book, so I didn't look at the Marvel comics and the one I did know, as I say, was Nova. I believe there were a few others. I know there was a couple of others. But again, I wasn't paying attention to Marvel all that much at the time.

Fleischer: Now, am I correct that the Nova character and the Terrax character appear in this book?

Wolfman: Well, I see something called Kid Nova. I don't see Nova. And again -

Fleischer: Look at page 4. Look at pages 8 and 9. Look at pages 16, 27 to 29, and 31.

Wolfman: I don't see anything on page 4. Yes, Nova is in there. This Nova, but it's Kid Nova. I don't know this book.

Fleischer: Is Terrax on page 14?

Wolfman: On 14? This is a visual I've never seen before. It says Terrax. Yes, I guess they used them. I said I don't know what is in this book.

Fleischer: Let me ask you, before we go on to others: Are there any instances, sitting here today, you can explicitly recall giving permission for the use of your characters in any Marvel book that you had nothing to do with in terms of writing or editing?

Wolfman: While I was there?

Fleischer: While you were there or after you were gone.

Wolfman: Afterwards, no, except for the complaint when I realized they were doing it with Nova. Previously, yeah, I remember letting in fact Nova go into Spider-Man. I think - no, that was me. Sorry. There are millions and millions of comics out there. I can't recall everything. I'll be glad to tell you on a book-by-book basis.

Fleischer: Let's take a look at Marvel Exhibit 81. Would you turn to page 2 and tell me if any of the characters to which you laid claim appear?

Wolfman: There's Nova.

Fleischer: Can you think of anyone else?

Wolfman: On page 2? There's Reed Richards, but that is Marvel. That is Fantastic Four. There is no other character. There is a Robert, the character ROM who is the star of this book. I only see Nova on page 2.

Fleischer: Is Powerhouse on page 2?

Wolfman: I'm sorry. I can't - Oh, there is someone named Powerhouse. I don't know if it's the same Powerhouse that's mine. I can't tell from this visual. Is he on another page? If you look at this, there is no way to even see the figure. I'm not trying to hide anything.

Fleischer: Frankly, it would be hard for me to know even what I was seeing, Mr. Wolfman.

Wolfman: Yes, I can't - the Xeroxed stuff is very, very bad.

Fleischer: All right. Let's forget about Powerhouse for a moment and go to page 9, and tell me whether you see any of your characters on page 9?

Wolfman: Once again this book came out after I left Marvel. And as I said, I didn't read the Marvel books. Page 9? Hold on please. Yes, this is page 9. Yes, it looks like they've used a couple of the villains and one of the heroes. It says here Crimebuster, Comet, and Diamondhead.

Fleischer: Are those characters to which you lay claim in this case?

Wolfman: Yes.

Fleischer: And is Richard Rider a claim, a character to which you lay claim?

Wolfman: Richard Rider is a Man Called Nova.

Fleischer: It's the alter ego or secret identity of The Man Called Nova?

Wolfman: Yes. So, yes, Richard Rider. Is he in that page? If they were using The Man Called Nova, they would probably have used the name Richard Rider as well. Let me see here. They call him that, but Richard Rider is not shown, but that's no difference. That would be splitting a hair.

--------- (Portion edited)

Fleischer: Mr. Wolfman, what are the features that distinguish one superhero character from another?

Wolfman: Well, I can always talk visually for you because the drawings are different for each character, the reasoning of the character, what people want to do, the exploration of that theme. I think I said, I described that yesterday to you, I believe. There are a lot of things that describe a character.

Fleischer: Would you agree that the appearance of the character is one aspect of the character?

Wolfman: That's one aspect.

Fleischer: Would you agree that the so-called backstory of the character is an aspect? (Wolfman agrees.) And the backstory of the character essentially is a work of art used in your business to describe the origin and motivation of the character? (Wolfman agrees again.) Are the powers with which a superhero character is invested an essential part of the character's identity?

Wolfman: Generally, yes.

Fleischer: Now, focusing on the character that was originally published in your Super Adventures as Black Nova and the character published by Marvel in the mid-1970's called the Man From Nova -

Wolfman: Man Called Nova.

Fleischer: - Man Called Nova, did you ever state that notwithstanding the similarities in appearance between the Black Nova character and The Man Called Nova hat they were different characters?

Wolfman: Yes.

Fleischer: In The Man Called Nova, the character had a secret identity or alter ego whose name was Richard Rider? Would you describe Richard Rider for me?

Wolfman: Teenager.

Fleischer: And the Black Nova character that appeared in your fanzine, what was the alter-ego if any that that character had?

Wolfman: Well, as I think I mentioned, he was a - I think he was a doctor. Yes, he was a doctor.

Fleischer: A teenage doctor?

Wolfman: No.

Fleischer: He wasn't a high school student doctor?

Wolfman: No.

Fleischer: Do you recall being interviewed in 1978 by The Comic Journal and stating that the original Black Nova character was not close to the conception of the Nova character published by Marvel in the mid-'70s?

Wolfman: No, I don't recall that.

Fleischer: Mr. Wolfman, do you recall making the following statement to Mr. Thompson, the interviewer? Thompson said: "By instant trash, I mean pretty much the same thing. I mean about the Spider-Man character, Nova was created as imitation as I see it?" And then you answered, "No, it wasn't. Having created Nova 15 years ago, it was not created as an imitation of Spider-Man." Thompson said: "How close is the original to Nova to the current conception of the character?" And you said: "Not much, but the concept I was going for was much closer to the things other than Spider-Man." Does that refresh your recollection that the concept of The Man Called Nova was different than the concept for Black Nova?

Wolfman: I think I stated there were differences, but I also stated in there that I was going for the same feelings and the same ideas.

Fleischer: As Spider-Man?

Wolfman: No, as the original. They think it says - let me - can I have that in front of me? I think when you said that, it said things other than Spider-Man, but I could be wrong.

Fleischer: That's what I read, other than Spider-Man.

Wolfman: That things other than Spider-Man. So that means it was not related to Spider-Man.

Fleischer: Well, the writer was suggesting to you that this was just another Spider-Man retread, and you were saying you disagreed with that?

Wolfman: I disagreed because it was based on my character from 15 years ago and it was also, as I stated there, the concepts and the feelings of the character go back to things other than Spider-Man, namely my original.

Fleischer: And I'd like to direct your attention to the cover of the magazine and ask you if the cover of the magazine was of your design?

Wolfman: Yes.

Fleischer: And I think you also indicated during the course of your deposition on the 8th of November that you wrote all the text on the cover?

Wolfman: I believe so, yes.

--------- (Portion edited)


Excerpts from Judge Roderick McKelvie's ruling of November 6, 2000:

--------- (Portion edited)

1. Factual Background

--------- (Portion edited)

B. Characters in Dispute
Of the 71 characters in dispute, Wolfman contends that he created five characters prior to his relationship with Marvel. In analyzing the similarities or differences in comic-book characters, a reader must take notice of more than the characters name, powers, and costume. The reader must consider the character's background story, which includes the story of origin and the character's alter ego, personality, and mission.

1. Black Nova or Nova

a. Black Nova

Wolfman first introduced the Black Nova character in 1967 in issue #6 of his fanzine Super Adventures. Wolfman used the same character again the next year in issue #9 of Super Adventures. These issues describe the background story of Black Nova.

Black Nova was created when an evil alien named Celestial Man, also known as Kraken Roo, hit a super hero named Star with a power beam during a fight. Star depended on power pills for his super powers. The beam split Star into two separate beings and fused the power pills into the essence of the new beings. This relieved the new beings from Star's dependence on the power pills. One of the new entities became the super hero called Black Nova. Celestial Man killed the other being in battle. Black Nova, like Star before him, was a member of the team of superheroes known as the Law Legion.

The 1967 Black Nova character had a black suit with a white belt. He had a logo on his chest with five stars in the shape of an "X". His belt also had a star. He wore a sleeveless shirt with points that flared out past his shoulders. He had a helmet that covered all of his face except his mouth. And, he had black armbands. The denotation "Black" did not refer to the character's race, but rather the color of his costume.

Black Nova had an unspecified set of powers that included cosmic force rays. Although Black Nova did not have the power of flight, he wore "Sky Skates" that gave him the power to fly through the air.

b. Nova

In 1976, Wolfman wrote and Marvel published a comic called A Man Called Nova. Issue number one described the origin and background of this character. Nova gained his power when a dying alien, called the Centurion or Nova Prime, transferred his powers to a teenager named Richard Rider. In transferring his powers, the Centurion also transferred his mission to avenge the destruction of his planet. As Nova, Richard Rider tries to fulfill both the Centurion's mission and a mission to fight all evil.

The 1976 Nova character had a similar costume to that of the 1967 character with certain exceptions. Like the 1967 character, the 1976 character wore a black costume with a white belt. He wore a sleeveless shirt with points that flared past his shoulders. Both characters wore black armbands. Like the 1967 incarnation, the 1976 Nova character was white. However, unlike the 1967 character, the 1976 character's belt did not have a star and instead of five stars on his chest, the 1976 Nova had only three stars in the shape of a "V". His helmet had also changed. While the 1976 character's helmet retained much of the shape of the 1967 character's costume, in 1976 it contained a star and a point that rose over the top of the helmet.

In the first issue, the 1976 Nova had super strength, could pick up police radio signals in his helmet, and could fly. The cover states that Nova is a "human rocket". The end of the comic intimates that Nova had other unspecified and undiscovered powers.

--------- (Portion edited)

2. Discussion

--------- (Portion edited)

B. Rights to the Characters in Claim 342

a. Nova

There are some similarities between the Black Nova character produced in Wolfman's fanzine and the Nova character produced in Marvel's A Man Called Nova such as name and costume. The bulk of the storyline, however, is vastly different. First, and most notably, the origin stories of the two characters are not similar. Black Nova was created when an alien villain split a super hero named Star into two entities. By contrast, Nova was not created during battle, but as a result of a search for a successor hero by the Centurion, Nova Prime. The background stories are equally disparate. Black Nova has no clearly defined mission; he is simply a hero. In contrast, Nova has both general crime-fighting duties and a distinct mission, to avenge the destruction of the Centurion's home planet.

Lastly, the powers of the two characters are not similar. Black Nova's powers derive from the fusion of Star's power pills into the newly created hero's system. Black Nova lacks the power of flight; he depends on his sky skates to fly through the air. In contrast, Nova's powers derive from the Centurion's gift. Nova, also called the human rocket, clearly has the power of flight. These are more than trivial distinctions. Wolfman argues that writers modify all hero's powers over time. In this case, however, the power of flight, or lack thereof, is central to both characters' story lines.

Thus, the court finds that Wolfman had not fully developed Nova prior to the use of the character in 1976 in the comic A Man Called Nova. Wolfman made more than superficial changes to the character from 1967 to 1976. The court finds that the extent of the modification renders the 1976 Nova an entirely separate character from the 1967 incarnation. Thus, Nova cannot fall within the Siegel exception.

--------- (Portion edited)

3. Conclusion

For the above mentioned reasons, the court will disallow Wolfman's proof of claim and uphold the debtor's objection to Claim 342. The court further holds that the characters Wolfman created while employed by Marvel were made at Marvel's instance and expense and are, therefore, works made for hire. Because Wolfman could not show an agreement to the contrary, the court finds that Marvel is the author of all of the characters in dispute in Claim 342 under both the Copyright Act of 1909 and the Copyright Act of 1976. The court will enter an order in accordance with this opinion.

For the complete court transcripts of the trial, you can find them in The Comics Journal #236 & #239 or download the transcript.

survey solutions

powered by FreeFind