(This image ripped off from this site because it's a damn fine image.)
If you're a comic book fan or a regular reader of this blog, you've no doubt heard about the many lawsuits and injustices going on between creators (writers/artists) and comic companies (Marvel/DC). Due to the horrible contracts creators signed in the past, they've lost all rights to their work. Work which is make Marvel and DC millions of dollars.
Alan Moore - Watchmen creator, and Gary Friedrich - creator of Ghost Rider, come immediately to mind. But the list goes on. Even surviving heirs of the creators of Superman and the X-men are being brushed off by the "Big 2".
And while technically, Marvel and DC may be legally in the right with these one-sided contracts, they are slowly starting to lose their case in the court of public opinion.
Last February, cartoonist and columnist James Sturm wrote Marvel Comics’ Troubling Origins Story - Why I’m boycotting The Avengers, which gives a lot of crinch-worthy details about how Marvel treated its creators back in the day. He also makes this fantastic point:
If I really wanted to spoil Marvel’s party, I’d take a page out of a comic book and exact revenge on the company in one fell swoop. All I would have to do is jump into a time machine, travel back 51 years, and transport Jack Kirby to an alternate dimension. Without Kirby, Marvel would cease to exist.
Blogger David Brothers ran this piece - The Ethical Rot Behind 'Before Watchmen' & 'The Avengers' - over on ComicAlliance.com. I highly recommend you read it. I don't agree with everything he says, and it does get heavy-handed, but he makes some very valid points. So valid, in fact, that they were cited in Exhibit C.
Writer Chris Roberson (iZombie) made it clear in this article that he will no longer do business with DC due to their ongoing ethical issues. As Roberson explains:
“My reasons for no longer wanting to be associated with DC don’t stem from anything to do with my personal experiences there, but from watching the way that the company has treated and continues to treat other creators and their heirs,” Roberson told CBR. “The counter-suit against the Siegel estate and the announcement of the Watchmen prequels were the specific incidents that crystallized my feelings on the matter. I’d like to make clear, though, that I have nothing but nice things to say about the editorial staff at Vertigo with whom I’ve worked for the past few years.”
It's nice to see such ballsy moves by both fans and creators. I hope it's the start of a movement that gets the Big 2 to really re-think their practices. Make no mistake - I understand that Marvel and DC are buisness, and business are here to make money.
But the comic community wants to feel good about supporting the companies they buy comics from. And until Marvel and DC step-up their ethical game and treat their creators with respect (not because they have to do the right thing, but because they want to do the right thing), then I expect to see more and more statements like these in the very near future. From creator and fan alike.