Chapter 7: A short comment on derivative works, fan art and fiction
A discussion of the impact copyright law has on the creative process of comic art creators is not complete without a short discussion of fan art and fan fiction. These are secondary works, all based on pre-existing works of comic art and fiction. The focus of fan works is broad – in some instances the fan contributes art or a story that fills in a gap, or serves as a prequel or sequel to the professionally created story (for example, a story about the teenage life of Hal Jordan (the alter ego of DC superhero Green Lantern), or the life of Norrin Radd (the alien inhabitant of the planet Zenn-La, who became Marvel Comics superhero the Silver Surfer). Other fan fiction offers mash-up stories (for example, Green Lantern meets the Silver Surfer), or places superheroes in alternative lifestyles (for example, Superman and Batman as a gay couple) or in different times (for example, Marvel’s Doctor Strange as a wizard in the Court of King Arthur). The general attitude of most publishers and artists about fan art and fiction is that it is a harmless homage and expression of appreciation for the original creation, and that it poses no threat, economic or otherwise, to the creator and/or publisher’s interest. On occasion a creator or publisher objects to a work of fan art or fiction, and attempts to deter or halt publication and distribution of the work by threat or actual filing of a copyright infringement action.
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