Legal Buzz Kill for Warner’s Loonatics?

With Loonatics, set to join Kids’ WB’s 2005 Saturday morning lineup, Warner Bros. is reinventing its classic Looney Tunes characters as futuristic superheroes. And while the character design makeovers have some purists up in arms, it’s a name that has one company asking, "What’s up, Doc?

Loonatics will introduce audiences to the distant relatives of such beloved icons as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Lola Bunny, Tasmanian Devil and Wile E. Coyote. Led by Buzz Bunny, these daffy descendents band together to create a formidable team dedicated to battling the evils of Acmetropolis.

Dutch character designer, illustrator and animator Metin Seven now claims that he came up with a character called Buzz Bunny nearly a year ago. The space-suited rabbit was introduced as one of the first products of Figure Farm (www.figurefarm.com), Seven’s online shop for character merchandise.

Seven is represented by animation agency Comic House, whose CEO, Hans Buying, comments, ‘Warner should have consulted with us before breaking this news. Being the company they are, they must have known about our character." Comic House says it is preparing to take legal steps against Warner Bros.

Regardless of what happens on the legal front, a name change may not be a bad idea for Warner Bros. Some young fans of the show may be in for quite a surprise when the Google Buzz Bunny and come across a sex toy with the same name.