superman_comics_logoUpdate, 1/11/2013, 10:10 a.m.: Jeff Trexler at Comics Beat has a pretty detailed rundown of the decision and its overall meaning.

It was probably a foregone conclusion, given years of contracts and lawsuits and back-of-the-check work for hire agreements and thousand upon thousands of court hours – sweet, sweet lawyer-billable hours – but it appears that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has all but given the rights to Superman to Warner Bros.

In a decision handed down earlier today, the court asserted that an October lower court decision that denied Warner Bros.’s claim that a letter, sent to Warner in 2001 by one of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel’s heirs, constituted the acceptance of a settlement offer over the whole rights mess and therefore meant that the question of who owned what and when and why and under what threats of which ruinous lawsuit or where the promise of torture was made and how. So with that issue resolved, it means that, unless someone wants to take this to the Supreme Court – assuming the Supreme Court wants to spend time talking about comic books – Warner Bros. owns the rights to use Superman pretty much lock stock and barrel.

y_the_last_man_volume_1_coverBrian K. Vaughn’s and Pia Guerra’s Vertigo comic Y: The Last Man has been in development by New Line Studios for more than five years, not that the phrase “in development” really has any meaning. After all, Preacher has been popping on and off Hollywood’s radar for years, in development as both a movie and a TV show, with heavy hitters like Skyfall director Sam Mendes and John Cusack rumored to be attached at one point or another (until Mendes grabbed James Bond and Cusack apparently started believing that “Preacher” was some form of synthetic mescaline), and somewhere in a trunk I have a bad xerox of a draft of Blue Beetle writer John Rogers’s Mage: The Hero Discovered screenplay that’s dated something like 2001, and at this point, I think we’re more likely to see Mage: The Hero Denied before that flick gets made.

So what with the years of dithering –  and my personal belief that the minute someone actually shouts “Action” on a Y: The Last Man flick, science fiction writer Frank Herbert’s estate will swoop down with a crippling lawsuit, as we have established that those guys will do any awful Goddamned thing for money – it didn’t seem like a Y movie would ever get made.

And it still might not. But it’s at least a step closer. Because Deadline is reporting that Dan Trachtenberg is now attached to direct the thing.

And if you’re a Y: The Last Man fan like me, who owns every issue of the series and is praying this movie gets made and is a hit so he can sell those issues and maybe afford health insurance someday, you probably heard this news, sat up straight, and said: “Who?”