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December 10, 2012 The Modern Law Library

Is Batman a State Actor? ‘Law of Superheroes’ Authors Dish on Comics in the Courtroom

By Lee Rawles

Corrected: Long have comic book fans debated the minutiae of the genre. Lawyers James Daily and Ryan Davidson, authors of the two-time Blawg 100 nominee Law and the Multiverse, have taken the discussion from the comic book store’s backroom to the courtroom.

In their new book, The Law of Superheroes, Davidson and Daily map out what the legal implications would be for various superhero powers and storylines. Is Batman a state actor under the Lugar test? Is the Incredible Hulk liable for property damage created when he “hulks out?” Would a mind-reading psychic like Professor X be allowed to introduce telepathic evidence in court? When Superman crushes a lump of coal into a diamond and gives it to Lana Lang, is that gift taxable? The authors join ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles to discuss those issues and share what comic aficionados’ responses to the book have been.


Wall Street Journal: “Invincible Heroes—Except in Court”

National Law Journal: “Superheroes and the law: How would Batman or Captain America fare in court?”

Popehat: “Better Call Galactus”

[Note on audio quality: Lee Rawles has a headcold and Ryan Davidson conducted the interview over Skype.]

Updated at 11:05 a.m. to correct that Lana Lang received the diamond from Superman.

Listen to the Podcast

In This Podcast:

Lee Rawles
James Daily is an attorney licensed in Missouri and a graduate of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He works for the Stanford University Hoover Institution’s Project on Commercializing Innovation and represents clients in intellectual property matters. 

Ryan Davidson is an attorney licensed in Indiana and a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. He practices in Fort Wayne, mostly in insurance law.