ttullio wrote:So you don't think my distinction -- what it says after "published by" in the indicia -- is relevant, eh?
(I wonder what it says on Icon books these days ... I'll have to check tonight.)
I think indicia aren't bound to give you a complete organizational chart of a major corporation, no. It's legal enough to say that they're printed by one of the entities involved. For instance, Loveless
doesn't actually say anything about Vertigo in the indicia, except that Vertigo is a trademark of DC. Otherwise, the indicia would make it seem that it's a DC title, like any other.
While indicia can reveal interesting information, they can also be misleading in some respects. They are legal requirements—not bibliographic absolutes. It's put there by command of the post office, not so much for the aid of the librarian. So there's a kind of legal, but highly purpose-specific, "truth" to an indicia which may not always find applicability to a comic book reader trying to find out who published a book. When it comes to publishers, in many ways the logo on the front has at least as much weight as the fine print inside, and sometimes more. Is All Star Comics
a DC publication? Or is it an All-American comic? Is Superman
a DC publication, a National Periodical Publication, or a Time + Warner publication? Detective Comics were the plaintiff in the early Wonderman suit about Superman copyright violations, but in the case against Fawcett's Captain Marvel, the plaintiff was NPP. In the case against the producers of The Greatest American Hero
, the plaintiffs were again DC and (I think) Warner Brothers.
I also think that "imprint" is a term without precise legal standing. As we've discussed at length in this forum, defining what constiutes an imprint is a very tricky thing. Because sometimes imprints were once freestanding companies that were bought and became a division of another company. And sometimes they're created as a new division of an already-existing company. The way in which they would then present themselves in an indicia might therefore be different. For a division recently acquired, the parent company might allow the division to indicate "published by [imprint name]", as a condition of the merger document, as a way to make the imprint seem more distinct from the parent company, or even as just a staff morale boost. An indicia can list either the publisher or the imprint and still be legally "correct".
Put simply, an indicia devoid of the name "Marvel" doesn't change the fact that Epic was always
a division of Marvel.