LONDON – A London hospital that holds the copyright to "Peter Pan" has questioned the appropriateness of a series of books that portrays the character Wendy exploring her sexuality.
The "Lost Girls" books, by graphic novelist Alan Moore, are about three world-famous characters: Wendy, Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" and Alice from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." The characters meet one another and have sexual adventures. Wendy not only engages in erotic trysts but also encounters pedophiles.
Moore wrote three separate "Lost Girls" novels in 1995, 1996 and 2005, all featuring Wendy, and some were published by the small U.S. company Kitchen Sink Press. They include drawings by artist Melinda Gebbie of sexual acts that could be considered pornographic, and some of the books were sold in England with an "adults only" warning on their jackets.
Another American publisher, Top Shelf Productions, has said it plans to publish all of three of the books as "Lost Girls Collected."
"We understand this graphic novel involves characters from the story of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan & Wendy," which is, of course, in copyright in the U.K. and EU," the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children said in a statement about Moore's book.
The hospital, which was bequeathed the rights to the "Peter Pan" books by Barrie, said: "In order to be published or distributed in these territories, Alan Moore's title would need our permission or license. From press coverage, we understand it deals with sensitive subject matter which does not initially seem appropriate to be associated with the hospital and with J.M. Barrie's legacy to us."
Stephen Cox, the hospital's spokesman, said Friday that it has not taken legal action against Moore and is was waiting to see whether the author will contact the institution to discuss its objections.
The hospital didn't know about the "Lost Girls" books until Moore was recently interviewed about them by the British Broadcasting Corp., Cox said.
Moore, a well known comics writer, has produced works including dark graphic novels such as "Watchmen," about a world on the verge of nuclear annihilation, and "From Hell," an autopsy of Victorian England and the nature of misogyny. He also wrote "V for Vendetta" about a British anarchist who blows up Parliament, which was released in March as a movie starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman.
In the BBC interview, Moore said that "Lost Girls" was inspired by "Peter Pan," but that he doesn't intend to seek permission from the hospital to use the Wendy character.
"I don't really see that you can ban anything in this day and age. It wasn't our intention to try to provoke a ban," Moore was quoted as saying.
The hospital said its copyright to the "Peter Pan" book, play and characters expires in Europe in January 2008, but that it will continue to collect royalties in Britain.
Copyright control over the "Peter Pan" story has been disputed in the United States, where The Walt Disney Co. made a famous movie about it.