Comic Book Screw Over
Over at George R.R. Martin’s “Not a Blog,” he relates the story of the hardships currently being endured by Gary Friedrich, the creator of Ghost Rider. Like a lot of comic book creators, he has been screwed over by the comic book industry. Now, if you write for the big two (or non creator owned companies), it stands to be expected that the company owns the copyright to the character.
As I’ve said in previous posts, this situation sucks. It sucks that comic book writers and artists have been screwed out of royalties and other residual payments. Yes, the work is for hire, but the companies should be far kinder than they have been. And the attitudes those companies reveal when creators seek to assert some form of rights over their work is simply atrocious.
This incident, as well as many other events that have been reported over the last few months really make me question whether or not comic books is really worth creating for no matter the format.
Even the creator owned companies have their own problems. So, is being a comic book creator really worth it? Yes, there is the possibility of being able to write or draw one’s favorite character, and the joy and pride that comes with that is a powerful incentive. But, it also comes with the knowledge that control over that work does not belong to you.
Now, what can be done about this? I don’t know. Would a boycott of Marvel or DC be effective? I don’t know. Given the decline of the industry, it may be effective. Clearly, legal remedies in this industry friendly legal environment are unlikely to succeed. The problem is getting a large enough portion of the fanbase to agree to a boycott. There are other options, as well, but what I’m wondering is how a more permanent and equitable solution can be reached.