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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Super Villains Don't Care About Copyright Laws

Another something I haven't had the time to mention yet: Major Force made a guest appearance in Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #20 wearing a costume that looks very familiar.

Booster Gold meets New 52 Major Force

I guess if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Major Force is paying Booster a big compliment. It probably doesn't help any that the artists for the book were Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund.

Late last month at, Russ Burlingame — the internet's premiere Booster Gold journalist! — asked Dan Jurgens why Major Force looked like Booster Gold's purplest fan. Major Force–is that the first time we've seen him in the New 52? I feel like there was a character who looked like that introduced in Ron Marz's Voodoo run, but I don't see anything to indicate it was him on the DC Wiki and I feel like they may have referred to him by another name there.

Jurgens: You were right the first time. Major Force made a brief appearance in the earlier days of the New 52, which is what we used for the overall character design. It was fun to push him back on stage. I remember noticing at the time that there's a pretty unmistakable similarity between this version of Major Force's look and Booster Gold's, excepting of course the color scheme. Did you notice that too?

Jurgens: I did notice it, which is why I did whatever I could to work away from it, mostly emphasizing Force's bulk.

Jurgens is right, this "Major Force" design did show up in several issues of Voodoo. However, that character was not Captain Atom's old foe Clifford Zmeck but Blackhawk agent Major "Black Jack" Bolton. Bolton was clearly decapitated long before Voodoo was canceled. Is Jurgens' Major Force Zmeck or a reincarnated Bolton? (Major Force has survived some pretty gruesome injuries in the past.)

Back when Booster debuted in the 1980s, it could be argued that his costume had been strongly "inspired" by the costume worn by the Soviet hero Red Star. Since the Communists don't believe in personal property, Red Star's emblem, cowl, goggles, and high collar designs were destined to be copied by a Capitalist hero with good fashion sense. But in the contemporary DCnU of the 21st century, you'd think that a big celebrity like Booster Gold would have a good copyright lawyer on retainer to deal with copycats like Black Jack and Major Force. Maybe Booster's trying to keep his head down on this issue. His past isn't exactly spotless, after all.

Booster, give Batman a call. The lawyers working for Batman, Inc. must know a thing or two about dealing with intellectual property infringement cases by now.

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