Given that the story lines played out in Superman comic books are full of shadowy figures with dark motivations, it seems fitting that the real world legal fight over who owns the rights to the Man of Steel would feature such a character in a pivotal role. Call him The Vanisher.

On May 14, in what The New York Times labeled “an aggressive move to defend its ‘Superman’ franchise,” Warner Bros. sued Marc Toberoff, the lawyer for the comic icon’s co-creators, in federal court in Los Angeles, accusing him of engaging in a “scheme” to “enrich himself” by trying to wrongfully seize control of a substantial chunk of the Superman property.

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