Tag Archives: lawsuit

Saying Goodbye to the Bunny.

It’s a strangely bitter sweet time today, as I announce the retirement of the Bunny character from this website.  But it turns it out, it’s for a VERY good reason.

Well, good for me and my family, anyway.

Long time readers of the blog know I’ve had a lawsuit running against the Beanie Baby people going on for fourteen years now, involving their unauthorized use of my trademarks and character likeness with their “Nibbler the Rabbit” character, first introduced in 1998.

This is "Nibbler", introduced in 1998 by Ty Inc. (the Beanie Baby people).

I’ve owned and used the “Ty Bunny” character since the late 80s,
and have been vigorously defending the property, sometimes at great cost to myself.  My friends have been with me as this case has gone through three rounds of appellate courts, each one reversing the previous decision like it was a game of tennis, all the while keeping a HUGE chunk of my money tied up in this litigation.

Brief history, in case you didn’t know it:  The “Ty-Bunny” character first showed up in 1987 in a comic book called “Critters”.

That's not the bunny, that's Teddy Payne, a stuffed bear who plays rock and roll.

The comic came with a flexi-disc single featuring two songs, one performed by myself and one performed by Alan Moore.  The story that went with the music single was called “A Right to the Blues”.

Written and drawn by yours truly, inked by Anthony Van Bruggen.

The rabbit was a minor character, he tended bar in the story and only showed up in a few panels.

Like up there, for instance.

But soon he started appearing as my “alter ego” in comic strips and stories in various publications all through the late 80s and early 90s.

Here's an appearance from DC Comics' "SHOP TALK" in 1996.

AND, far more importantly, below is the Ty-Bunny stuffed animal toy I sold throughout the 90s, at conventions, personal appearances, and through mail order ads in the back of indy comics like Critters, starting in 1994.

We sold a total of fifty-six of these. I still have a box or two of them in the crawlspace of my house.

Why this all matters, is that I had to get a registered trade mark on the character, design and name “Ty Bunny” when I sold these toys across interstate lines at American conventions.  I registered the trademark in 1994, and have copyrights going back to the eighties.

But Ty Inc.’s “NIBBLER” came out in 1998, four full years after I had registered the name and logo.

Which they clearly infringed, intentionally or not.

It’s not my fault that the Ty-Warner corporation (as it was known at the time) didn’t do due diligence on the trademark, but I own it, and still do.

Which means you cannot sell "Nibbler" or "Baby Nibbler" seen above, released in 2001, without my permission.

We’ve been fighting back and forth about this for literally 14 years, and finally, finally FINALLY, I got the cheque that’s been due me for 11 of those years, by courier on Saturday.

I’m not allowed to disclose the amount, but it’s worth more than my house.

So, yay.

There's just one teeny catch...

One catch, though. I’m no longer allowed to use the Tybunny character here on the blog.  It’s part of the settlement.

This is something I fought for a long time, but the cash amount is remarkably generous, all things considered, and I’m willing to live with the terms of it. We’re talking high-ish six figures.  That’s non-trivial to my family, and goes a long way to paying off the bills I’ve run up fighting this, with a little left over to make it all worth it.

It doesn’t mean I’ll stop doing my Bun Toons, I just won’t be allowed to use the rabbit any more. I’ll find a way around it, probably something squirrel based, or perhaps I’ll do more with Cows.

But this will have to go.

Monday: I’m buying myself a new car. My first out-of-the-showroom-car in my life!

My mother is crazy happy about this. Apparently, now, I’ve amounted to something, because I can pay off my mortgage and my VISA card in one day. I’m just happy to be out of court after all these years. It drains a person.

I’m probably not going to move, I’m just going to pay off the house, and get the garage insulated. Might even buy a cottage property. Too much to think about today.

I’ll miss the rabbit, but I won’t miss handing the bank my mortgage payment each month.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Stick around for more news on the NEW mascot, starting next week!

Here now, your LAST Bonus Bunny Moment:

I'll miss the little rodent. It's been a fun ride.

More Angry Fans Bun Toons! YAY!

I buy comics! I'm entitled to be royally pissed off about this!

The internet is all abuzz again, and the wicked monsters that run the comics industry are killing and eating puppies and kittehs one more time.

Here’s the link to donate to Gary’s fund if you want to help him pay off that seventeen grand counter-suit Marvel filed to slap him around a bit.    Gary could use the help, so give him ten bucks, okay?

Ty the Guy OUT!

The Bonus Moment:

Is it my imagination, or were bikers wearing flaming skull tattoos and jacket decals since the fifties?

No one sue anyone over this, okay?

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click here for last week's CREATOR'S RIGHTS Bun Toon! It's a series!

Click here for every Bun Toon ever! I created them! I have a right to them!!

THE KIRBY QUESTION and More Unseen DC

First off–Nomination Shmomination.  I’m honoured, and hope all the other nominees are killed in a sudden, painless skiing accident at once.  Otherwise, should they survive, I’m good if Ian Boothby gets the Shuster.  He’s rock solid funny every month over at my secret home, BONGO comics, and may not have been properly acknowledged for that yet.

Ah, the whole KIRBY thing.  If you’ve lived under a rock for the last few days, you might have missed that Kirby’s family is suing MARVEL and DISNEY for the rights to many of the characters he created, or co-created, or was down the hall when someone else co-created them (in the case of the obviously-not-created-by-Kirby Spider-Man, for instance).  I’ve read some pretty passionate calls for the Kirbys to go sink their teeth into Marvel for what was done to Jack, and some equally passionate calls for the Kirbys to back off and accept that their dad sold that stuff to Martin Goodman decades ago, and that they’re just trying to reach into Disney’s very deep pockets.  I have to admit, I come down on the side of the family, simply because us creators have to stick together, and I’d hope someday my family can reap the millions and millions that will someday come our way from my dramatic re-design of the ROCKET RED costume, or the creation of a spin-off version of MODOK in Howard the Duck.  But I’m a sucker for anything that’s anti-corporate, EVEN IF IT’S THE CORPORATION THAT EMPLOYS ME FROM TIME TO TIME.

So, I’m very interested in hearing from the folks that drop by.  Pro-family or pro-Disney, let’s holler, as the kid’s say.

No, dude.  Not SUPERMAN should holler…oh, wait, this is more of that Unseen DC stuff, today with 25% more Jerry Seinfeld?  In honor of the truly horrific flogging that Jerry’s new show “The Marriage Ref” is getting all over the critic-o-sphere,  I’m posting some of the images of Superman that went into the production of the Jerry Seinfeld/Superman/American Express commercials of six or seven years ago!   And since we’re going for “Unseen” as a theme this month, I thought I’d start with some of the preliminary artwork, and dig out the finished (and printed!) versions later.  These were all meant to be “snapshots” of Jerry and his best pal SUPERMAN, hanging out at the ball game, doing laundry, walking their dogs together and male bonding in a totally heterosexual, dockers-wearing kind of a vibe.  Here are some of the REJECTED sketches I did.  They didn’t like the flying Krypto, and wanted him walking, they didn’t like the look on Superman’s face, so that got re-drawn something like eight times.  These are the Unseen comp versions.  There are five or six of these “snapshots” in total, here’s a few to chomp on for now!

Stay Tuned for more silly reasons to repost the Mad Cover as the days wear  on, and ALL NEW BUNNY FUNNIES this weekend, as the blog morphs into a webcomic.  Slowly, but very uncertainly.

Ty the Guy