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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

Nothing fishy about this settlement

Netflix and Dark Horse Comics have settled a copyright lawsuit filed by comic book artist Kevin Atkinson who had claimed that the idea for a fish-tank headed villain in the television series The Umbrella Academy infringed his copyright in the original idea for a fish-tank headed villain.

Comic book fans know that The Umbrella Academy started out as a Dark Horse Comics series written by Gerard Way (yes, THAT Gerard Way) and illustrated by Gabriel Bá that revolved around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite as adults (well, most of them are adults by then) to solve the mystery of their father's death and the threat of an imminent apocalypse. It then became a successful time travel superhero streaming television franchise on Netflix beginning in 2019 and is about to begin its third season.

Atlas Jericho “A.J.” Carmichael was a principal villain in Season 2 even though he was a shubunkin goldfish living inside a robotic body, fit with a bowl for a head, while also serving as the head (pun intended) of the Temps Commission Board of Directors.

Atkinson had argued, mostly unsuccessfully, that he owned a copyright for the idea of a fishbowl head robot villain. In 2021, he even went so far as to sue claiming that the source material, published in 2008, from which Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy is adapted, copied his design for a character that first appeared in 1996 in his Rogue Satellite Comics

Details of the settlement deal were confidential, but Yahoo! Entertainment has more on the case here:

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