Warner wins key victory in Superman battle

Superman won’t be going up, up, and away from Warner Bros.

In a crucial legal victory for the Burbank studio, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday denied an effort by the heirs of Superman co-creator Joseph Shuster to reclaim their 50% interest in the world’s most famous superhero.

Superman is one of Warner's most valuable characters, having generated more than $500 million at the domestic box office with five films and billions of dollars more from television series such as “Smallville,” toys and games, and 74 years’ worth of comic books.

Had Warner and its DC Comics subsidiary lost the case, they would have soon been unable to continue using certain key elements of the Superman mythos -- including his super strength and speed, secret identity as Clark Kent and girlfriend Lois Lane -- without reaching a costly new agreement with the estates of Shuster and co-creator Jerry Siegel.

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-- Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times

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