Friday Links

For this week’s edition of Friday Links, we present comic book case law:

  • “Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rogers, was an army-reject turned superhero who was charged with protecting America from all enemies, especially Nazi spies.” Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Simon, 310 F.3d 280, 282 (2d Cir. 2002).

  • “Too often we are prone to forget the admonition so ably expressed by Judge Batman. We feel that after forty years it is well to again call it to the attention of the bench and bar.” Todd v. Ehresman, 175 N.E.2d 425, 431 (Ind. Ct. App. 1961). We wouldn’t want to be held in contempt by this jurist.
  • It’s not really a surprising why the following defendant wasn’t acquitted by the jury:
    At trial defendant admitted the robbery but explained that he had committed the crime to convince the owner of the 7-11 store of the need for additional security and specifically to induce the owner to resubscribe to the security service offered by defendant’s employer, a service which the owner had recently terminated. Defendant testified that he thought the gun he had used was inoperable and that he had specifically chosen to commit the robbery when the particular clerk in question was on duty because that clerk had been robbed on previous occasions and would not be unduly frightened. Defendant maintained that at all times he intended to return the stolen money to the store owner, but that he was apprehended before he could do so. Finally, in response to his counsel’s questioning, defendant related his participation in mock crime detection dramas in the past, describing how 10 years earlier, when he and his brother were in their late teens, they had dressed up as Batman and Robin and had roamed the streets “climbing on rooftops, swinging over . . . doing somersaults off of roofs (and) (t)hings like that.”

    Despite defendant’s testimony, the jury returned a verdict finding defendant guilty of first degree robbery and also finding that he had used a firearm in the commission of the offense.

    People v. Tanner, 151 Cal. Rptr. 299, 302 (Cal. 1978) (emphasis added).

  • “The Punisher is an ‘antihero,’ created by Marvel Comics in 1974 as an antagonist to Spider-Man. The Punisher ‘is a vigilante who considers killing, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture to be acceptable crime fighting tactics.’” Sitzes v. City of West Memphis, — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 2219034, at *8 n.8 (8th Cir. June 4, 2010) (citing http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punisher).
  • “The attributes and antics of Superman and Wonderman are closely similar. Each at times conceals his strength beneath ordinary clothing but after removing his cloak stand revealed in full panoply in a skintight acrobatic costume. The only real difference between them is that Superman wears a blue uniform and Wonderman a red one. Each is termed the champion of the oppressed. Each is shown running toward a full moon off into the night, and each is shown crushing a gun in his powerful hands. Superman is pictured as stopping a bullet with his person and Wonderman as arresting and throwing back shells. Each is depicted as shot at by three men, yet as wholly impervious to the missiles that strike him. Superman is shown as leaping over a twenty story building, and Wonderman as leaping from building to building. Superman and Wonderman are each endowed with sufficient strength to rip open a steel door. Each is described as being the strongest man in the world and each as battling against evil and injustice.” Detective Comics v. Bruns Publications, 111 F.2d 432, 433 (2d. Cir. 1940) (quotations omitted).

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