Warner Bros. & DC Comics Lose Rights To Superman’s Origin Story

The Man of Steel’s greatest weakness is no longer kryptonite—it’s the Federal court system, as seen in several recent rulings that have put Superman’s very future in jeopardy.

Most recently, Warner Bros. and DC Comics were mandated to put a “Superman” film into production by 2011 or else they’ll owe profits to the families of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, the character’s original creators. Now, it’s getting worse for the two media companies as Variety reports that the Siegel family has “successfully recaptured” rights to the first two weeks of the daily Superman newspaper comic strips and a portion of early “Action Comics” and “Superman” comic books.

In other words, the Siegels own Krypton.

“[The Siegels] now control depictions of Superman’s origins from the planet Krypton, his parents Jor-El and Lora, Superman as the infant Kal-El, the launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents as Krypton explodes and his landing on Earth in a fiery crash,” reports Variety.

DC Comics, on the other hand, still owns certain other aspects of the Superman character, including his “ability to fly, the term kryptonite, the Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen characters, Superman’s powers and expanded origins.”

All this legal mumbo-jumbo is hard to slog through, so let’s tackle the most important question—how does Superman’s legal status effect the fans? Well, the mandate for a new “Superman” movie beginning production by 2011 remains in place. That limitation extends to a “Justice League” film as well, should the DC Comics team-up include Superman on its roster.

But the biggest piece of fallout comes in 2013, when the Siegels and Schusters will come to own the entire copyright to “Action Comics” #1, Superman’s first appearance. According to the report, this will afford the creators’ families with “the chance to set up Superman pics, TV shows and other projects at another studio.” In other words, the WB’s days of flying with Superman could well be numbered.

Are you worried about the current state of affairs with the “Superman” case, or do you have confidence that the character’s legal woes will be sorted out?