Yesterday, in a surprise move Image Comics cancelled Gerry Dugan and John McCrea’s Dead Rabbit series and issued a mandatory product recall after only two issues into its run.
Diamond Comic Distributors sent an email to retailers stating that any existing copies of Dead Rabbit #1 and Dead Rabbit #2 are to be pulled and sent back. Credit will be granted to retailers for the shipping costs of receiving and returning the books. Both Diamond and Image’s websites have been purged of any mention of Dead Rabbit.
It was suspected that a trademark issue was behind the cancellation and product recall, as it turns out that’s exactly what happened. A New York City bar named The Dead Rabbit sports unique comic book menus and as of last month released a recipe comic book.
Two days after Dead Rabbit was announced, DRT LLC, the company that owns The Dead Rabbit bar, registered a trademark for the words “Dead Rabbit” for use with “Comic books; Fiction books on a variety of topics; Non-fiction books on a variety of topics; Recipe books.”
DRT LLC also has a registered trademark for The Dead Rabbit, which covers “Bar and restaurant services; Cocktail lounge services; Cocktail lounges; Cocktail parlor services; Restaurant; Restaurant and bar services; Serving of food and drink/beverages; Tavern services; Bar and cocktail lounge services, Burgers contained in bread rolls; Coffee.”
Bleeding Cool has reported that DRT issued a Cease And Desist letter to Image Comics and Forbidden Planet on October 22 requesting that the two companies immediately stop publishing, marketing and distributing the comic book.
For whatever reason Image seemingly ignored the request and published issue #2 of Dead Rabbit on November 7, which resulted in DRT filing a lawsuit against both them and Forbidden Planet. DRT is seeking two million dollars in damages from Image Comics and Forbidden Planet, each.
At this time there has been no statements from Image Comics, Gerry Duggan or John McCrea on the situation.