Rachel House is an actress who appears in many of Thor Ragnarok director Taika Waititi’s films. And in the new movie, she plays Topaz, a warrior general who acts as a second to the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, wielding a weapon staff that projects energy that melts people and providing some seriously strong dog-fighting skills later in the film. She is dismissive of men and is quite the hard character. It is not known whether she survives the film.
Topaz in the Marvel comics is slightly different. She was a warrior Queen from the extra-dimensional matriarchal realm of Gwendor. A crashed alien spacecraft created a series of random pan-dimensional gateways, briefly connecting Gwendor to the Ultraverse, and leaving Queen Topaz stranded in a strange world; one in which men were not properly subservient slaves, but thought themselves equal to or even superior to women. Topaz was outraged by this blasphemous notion, but Pixx of the Ultraforce calmed her by showing her an image of the “true power behind men”… Hillary Clinton. Pixx explained that Earth males have fragile egos, and that it was easier for women to let males think they were in charge. Topaz, still disturbed by this world’s unnatural order, nonetheless consented to join the Ultraforce, even though it was led by a male, Hardcase. Topaz is a female supremacist, she believes that males are inherently inferior, and becomes quite easily angered when men talk down to women or act chauvinistic. She also wields a staff that shoots energy bolts.
However, and you may have noticed this from the mention of the world “Ultraverse”, Topaz is not a wholly owned Marvel character. She is a character as published in the Ultraverse, a line created by Malibu Comics, as a creator-participant superhero series imprint. Which means that Marvel, which bought the publisher, has to pay extra to use the characters outside of comics – indeed there may be a belief within the publisher that they have to pay however they use them, which is why they have not appeared in print for decades.
Is it possible that her appearance in Thor: Ragnarok by Marvel Studios may be down to people not knowing that the character has creator-participation? Marvel Studios, no longer connected with the Marvel Comics staffers, thinking that all the characters unless they are licensed by Fox or Universal, are there for the taking? It is an oddity, and one that could end up in the courts as a result.
Especially since the character’s creator, Gerard Jones, has his own issues, and has seen DC Comics cancel collections of his work as a result.
Is there a way out? Well, there is also a sorceress called Topaz, from Doctor Strange comics in the seventies, a Indian character, who is far less representative of the movie Topaz than the MAlibu version. But if I was a lawyer and wanted a way out…
Thanks to Mockingnerd for correcting some misappropriation…
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