1. morphghost
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    morphghost New Member

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    Character's codenames and other comics

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by morphghost, May 27, 2013.

    So I'm developing new characters for my comics, and I keep running into the same problem. Mainstream comics already have the same names for other characters.. I tried Supernova for cosmic manipulation, and there was already a character named Supernova. Same with Firestorm, Hazmat, and Hazard. Now with Hazard, there is a character in both Marvel and DC. I was just wondering, can I still use the name(s) or will that be a form of copyright infringement?
     
  2. The Peanut Monster
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    The Peanut Monster Senior Member

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    If you want to publish, then yeah, there could definitely be issues. I'd avoid it if I could.
     
  3. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Avoid where possible. Obviously there are moments of overlap, where two (or three) publishers have a character by the same name. It happens. However, these characters are usually different enough that their is no confusion between the two properties. And it's usually Marvel and DC, who are twin titans of the comic industry. They don't usually waste any time or money bothering each other, but if some little nobody comes along to challenge them, they will have no difficulty squashing the interloper. (And I say this as a fan of both, just so you know)
    As an amateur comicker myself, I've run into this problem several times. Some tricks to help get around it? The thesaurus. You can find bucketfuls of words that mean the same thing as what you're planning on naming your character--just remember that though the basic definition is the same, these different words will carry different semantic meanings. Scientific nomenclature is great. Find the Latin name for a certain species or group of spider for your web-weaving hero. Classic literature and mythology can not only provide good supernames, but can make you seem like a smarty as well.
    Just as important as a unique name? A unique look. Comics are arguably 50% visual art (the other half being storytelling), so your character has to be immediately distinguishable from the others out there. Even if you call your nocturnal crimebuster Nitewulf, if you give him a black suit with scalloped cape and a pointy-eared cowl, he will be labeled a knockoff off Batman.
     
  4. New Konoiche
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    New Konoiche Member

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    Haha, yeah. Creating unique code names for superheroes can be difficult because so many of them have been used. My superhero team is made up of characters from all over the country, so their "code names" are literally the names of the states they are from (New York, California, etc), which, I'm pretty sure are in the public domain. Some other characters have literary names (similar to what ManOrAstroMan hinted at above me). Such as, there is a clairvoyant/telepath who's code name is "Thantatopsis" which is the Latin term for "seeing death" and also the title of a poem.
     
  5. EmmaWrite
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    EmmaWrite Member

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    In general, I would avoid it. But it it's a very minor character, I think it is more acceptable than calling a character "Captain America."
     
  6. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Also be sure not to refer to them as superheroes, since the term, sadly, is trademarked.
     
  7. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    The term "superhero" is only trademarked if used in the title of your publication, or in advertising your comic or related merchandising. You can still call them superheroes within the comic.
    Ie: comic title: Superheroes of the Lost Dimension = no.
    Dialogue: "Congress has passed the 'Plutoman' Act, requiring all superheroes to register with the government. A representative..." = yes.
     

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