Marvel has just lifted a character wholesale from a defunct comic book company
Superman is famous for being the first major comic book superhero, but he was also an example of a comic book company fiercely defending its intellectual property.
While that was the case also with National Comics (now known as DC), it is interesting to note that the other comic book companies of the era were not quite as protective of their intellectual property rights as National was.
This wasn’t to say that companies did not stand up for their IP rights, but they did so at a much lesser degree than what National had (National was in a more solid financial position than most other companies). So MLJ, for instance, had the wherewithal to tell Timely Comics to give Captain America a different shaped shield because they felt that Cap’s initial triangular shield was too very close to their patriotic superhero, The SHield.
However, companies tended not to actually officially register their trademarks back then (National was a notable exception) and thus, when comic book companies went under, there was a real open question, as to whether their characters were now open to the public domain and access or not.
Marvel Comics (which was once Timely) was quick to jump on names that were “open for grabs,” but in 1967, they went a step further and just took an entire CHARACTER from a defunct comic book company!
Magazine Enterprises launched Ghost Rider in 1950 from artist Dick Ayers…
The book was more horror than western reality…
So Magazine Enterprises went under.
Marvel Comics launched their very own Ghost Rider Series
14 years later, with the company out of business for over a decade, Martin Goodman decided that Marvel Comics should adopt the character and so Marvel, who was by this time employing Dick Ayers as a regular artist at the company, launched their very OWN Ghost Rider series by Dick Ayers!
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