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Friday, April 19, 2013 

WB's legal battle over rights to Superboy ends

Over the past 15 years, there was a legal battle on who owned the rights to Superboy as much as Superman, whether it be the Siegel/Shuster estates or DC/Time Warner:
The latest Superman reboot Man of Steel is hitting the big screen this summer. But today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in the studio’s favor means Warner Bros now has full license to make a Superboy movie. Thursday’s order by Judge Otis Wright III affirmed a contested 2001 agreement between the estate of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and DC Comics. Granted it’s premature to start talking about a Superboy movie. But not if Man of Steel‘s June 14-16 opening weekend box office is a big as anticipated.
As intriguing an idea as that could be to some, I seriously doubt there'll ever come a movie starring the Boy of Steel. Not because the Salkind brothers' attempt to make one from the Girl of Steel (Supergirl) in 1984 was abortive, but because, while there was a live action TV series about Superboy at one time, they may not have any idea how to make it into a film; I've seen just how questionable the modern talent in charge today can be.

Towards the end of the history article, there's an explanation of what it meant for how DC and WB could make use out of the term "Superboy":
...during the legal battle, Warner Bros were very careful with Superboy even as they rebooted Superman in 2006 and, after scoring a legal victory in 2009, started production on Man of Steel in 2011. The legal entanglements have kept the studio walking a tightrope on using the term ‘Superboy’ and depictions of the character. The studio has tried various workarounds in the comics. Warner Bros also only released one season of the 1988-1992 syndicated Superboy TV series on DVD, around the time the legal writs started flying. The Siegel estate filed a lawsuit, now dead, in 2004 over the Smallville TV series, which is essentially the story of Superboy. (Smallville is embroiled in a separate legal mater of its own between its co-creators and WBTV.) Smallville never actually referred to a “Superboy” except for one offhand remark. [...]
After all the misuse of anything related to the Man of Steel just as much as the rest of the DCU, I can't feel too sorry for all the legal troubles WB went through with the Siegel estate; they actually asked for it if they can't take better care of the "homefront" property. These matters even affected the comics to some extent, recalling that around 2006, they killed off the modern Superboy, Connor Kent, for a time, and didn't reference him as Superboy for at least a year. But while killing off the character is one thing, that's still no excuse for the shabby treatment he received, as seen in Geoff Johns' writing.

And I'm decidedly taking the Siegel estate's side in the legal cases that are still bound to continue, since neither DC nor WB has been going about it the right way, giving the Man of Steel terrible treatment that includes - but isn't limited to - the erasure of the marriage with Lois Lane.

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After seeing how awful Smallville was, I wouldn't trust the WB with a Superboy movie.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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