The Law for Comic Book Creators: Essential Concepts and Applications TP
Publisher: McFarland & Company
Release Date: November 1, 2014
Price: $49.95
Creator: Joe Sergi
Format: 277 pgs., B&W/Color, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-7864-7360-1
Age Ratings: N/A
ICv2 Ratings: 4 Stars out of 5

This book is a very informative analysis of trademark, copyright and other related laws for creators of intellectual properties, but with a focus on comics and graphic novels.  The courts have made several rulings that are specific to media with mixed text and images, with rulings which might not be obvious to anyone only familiar with simpler intellectual property cases.

In examining the various aspects of the law, the author drew upon both famous and obscure legal cases involving comics and their creators.  For example, the lawsuits between Dan DeCarlo and Archie Comics form the basis of two entire chapters, because so many different aspects of the law came up in those cases.  The cases involving ownership of Superman outdid that, taking up three chapters, each dealing with different aspects of the laws and different lawsuits.

The book has two minor weaknesses.  The first is the slightly flippant way in which the author gives examples, often by using cutesy in-joke names for mythical companies or participants in a suit.  While entertaining if you immediately get the reference, if you have to pause to think about it, it takes you out of the flow of the text.  The second is the high price. McFarland has priced this high enough that it will discourage casual buyers, and anyone who is thinking about entering the comics field really should read this or a comparable work before signing a contract of any kind.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.