Friday, July 02, 2010

DC Vs. Victor Fox: Will Eisner's Testimony

Above: poses from ACTION COMICS and WONDER COMICS, from the actual 1939 case file.

What do you do when your boss tells you to lie under oath? If you are young Will Eisner, you tell the truth and to hell with the consequences.

When Victor Fox saw how well DC Comics' SUPERMAN was selling, he instructed Will Eisner and Jerry Iger to copy the Man of Steel. They did. Fox, a rival publisher to DC, then began publishing a comic called WONDER MAN.

DC sued, and it was Eisner's testimony that won the case for them. He said "that Fox literally instructed Eisner & Iger to copy Superman."

Until now, the court transcripts for this 1939 case were deemed lost, but Ken Quattro got them and Eisner's testimony is here.

2 comments:

Steven said...

Mike- This is a rather shocking introduction to the material. Shocking after one reads the records, that is.
I suspect that in the 40 years that transpired, Eisner actually forgot what he said.

Brian Fies said...

Steven's right: the twist to the tale is that the story Eisner told for decades doesn't match the court record at all, and in fact it appears he backed his partner and client's lie all the way. Young Will Eisner was no hero.

I wonder if Steven's being too charitable: I doubt Eisner forgot, but maybe told the story the way he wished it had gone so often that he came to believe it was true. And maybe even that is too charitable.