Superman and Fellow Heroes Get Their Day in Court


It was not your everyday law lecture. By the time it was over, it bordered – quite mirthfully – on the bizarre.

When Mark S. Zaid, a Washington D.C. attorney with a passion for comic books, came to Miami Law a few days ago to deliver a lecture titled "Superheroes in the Courtroom: Law, Lawyers and Comic Books," he provided all the requisite history and context of the genre, including trademark battles and the evolving depiction of criminality and law enforcement in comics, all of it illustrated with colorful examples beamed onto overhead screens. But he concluded with a tangential riff on salacious innuendo – most of it subliminal – in comics going back decades, a performance that had the audience laughing in surprise.

Zaid, well known for his expertise in national security and freedom-of-information issues, has long kept a close eye on the action-adventure heroes who populate urban lore and fantasy. Zaid takes joy in discovering connections between the legal world and comic-book depictions of trails, judicial hearings and other criminal proceedings.

He was brought to Miami Law for the lecture on Oct. 1 by Donald M. Papy, the Chief Deputy City Attorney for Miami Beach, who as a member of the adjunct faculty teaches a class on Law and the Media.

Comic books from Zaid's collection are being exhibited in the Law Library. More images can be found on his website.