Only two issues into its run, Gerry Dugan and John McCrea's Dead Rabbit has been cancelled and a mandatory recall of those first two issues ordered by Image Comics.
According to an email sent to retailers by Diamond Comic Distributors earlier today, any existing copies of Dead Rabbit #1 and Dead Rabbit #2 are to be pulled and sent back. No information was given to explain the reason for this sudden cancellation, but speculation is that Image pulled the comic due to a potential copyright or trademark claims on the name Dead Rabbit.
If it is related to a copyright or trademark claims, the most likely candidate for who might have issues with the Image series is a New York City bar named The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog. An Iris-themed bar that first opened in 2013 and re-opened back in July after a fire forced them to close their doors temporarily, The Dead Rabbit uses specially-created comic books as menus and just last month released a "recipe comic book". It's worth noting that DRT LLC, the company who owns The Dead Rabbit, filed trademark registrations of the worlds "Dead Rabbit" for use in comics, fiction books, non-fiction books, and recipe books back in February to go along with their previous registrations covering bar and restaurant-related services for the same words.
It's worth noting that, according to the legal research site Pacer Monitor, it appears that DRT Group LLC did file a trademark infringement lawsuit against Image Comics on November 8th. As of the time of this article, Image has not released a statement.
With Dead Rabbit being well-reviewed and seemingly off to a good start, it's possible that this cancellation and recall may not be the end of the story, even with the potential lawsuit. The book might be able to be re-titled and tweaked to account for the trademark issues or it's possible that some sort of agreement will be made allowing the book to go forward. For now, though, it appears that fans of the series will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
Were you surprised about the cancellation and recall of Dead Rabbit? Let us know in the comments.