What was likely viewed by DC Entertainment as a prudent — even standard — legal decision has snowballed into wincingly bad PR for the company, which now faces headlines like “Comic publisher blocks Superman logo on statue of murdered Toronto boy.”
The Canadian Press
reports DC has denied permission for the trademarked “S” emblem to be engraved on a memorial statue for 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparents.
The case drew renewed interest last fall with a coroner’s inquest, during which Jeffrey’s father Richard Baldwin testified of the boy’s love of Superman. “He wanted to fly,” he said. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
The Toronto Star quotes an email to Boyce from Amy Genkins, DC’s senior vice president of business and legal affairs, who explained, “for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.”
When contacted by ROBOT 6, DC declined comment.
The article goes on to say that perhaps DC doesn't want to be associated with child abuse.
Boyce said he’ll likely change the “S” to a “J” for Jeffrey, as the City of Toronto wants assurances the statue won’t run into legal problems. The statue is set to be complete by the end of summer for a fall unveiling.
I'm confused. I may be naive but why do they need special permission just to use the S symbol anyway. That symbol has probably been graffitied over a million walls, not to mention pasted over a million pieces of fan art. If nothing else it's free publicity and good pr to allow this memorial to utilize the S symbol. This memorial isn't made to sell anything. Superman is supposed to be a symbol of good, right? So wouldn't it be better if the company that owns the rights to Superman act like Superman does in the comics? Very disappointing when we live in the world where copyrights and financial gain are put ahead of showing some sympathy or a little love for other people. Shoot, I would have made a special comic story centered around the case and have Superman standing next to the statue at the end. If this were the 70's or 80's that's probably what would have happened.