Buckley and Quesada speak on Marvel's side of the Gary Friedrich matter — UPDATE

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201202151729 Buckley and Quesada speak on Marvel's side of the Gary Friedrich matter    UPDATE
Well, speak of the devil. As we posted only a few hours ago, Marvel is in a very vulnerable PR position on the Gary Friedrich matter…so much so that they have sent both CCO Joe Quesada and publisher Dan Buckley to clarify and soothe at Comic Book Resources. As they point out, the matter is still under litigation and a settlement is being negotiated. Buckley and Quesada do a good job of trying to handle the negatives—they’re pros—especially with this:

Quesada: As many people in the industry know, I’ve been deeply involved with the Hero Initiative since its inception. It’s a cause that is very near and dear to my heart and the only organization of its kind that I’m involved with. Regardless of my role as CCO, I have never nor would I ever stand in the way of someone receiving much-needed help, and I don’t get involved with Hero’s decisions on how to help. As a matter of fact, when all of this Ghost Rider stuff broke, I immediately checked with Hero’s President, Jim McLauchlin, to see if Gary was in need of assistance, and Jim informed me that up until that point Gary had not applied for any. My understanding is that Hero has since been in touch.

Buckley: Let me add that Marvel has also supported many projects by the Hero Initiative. If fans are looking for a wonderful outlet by which to give back to the creators of a medium they love, please give to the Hero Initiative.


To which we say: Yes please give to the Hero Initiative, a charity set up to help comics creators who are in need. They are truly one of the finest comics-related charities out there.
J & D also quash the Artist Alley Gestapo theory:

Quesada: Let me put this as simply as I can: Marvel is not looking to make any new policy announcements through this lawsuit — a lawsuit that began five years ago.

As a case in point, the Internet and the creative community became incredibly concerned when Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, thinking that Marvel now wouldn’t return original art to its artists, even despite my publicly stating the contrary. As you can see, that was unfounded.
Buckley: We in no way want to interfere with creators at conventions who are providing a positive Marvel experience for our fans. We want fans to speak and interact with the creators who wrote, penciled, inked, lettered, colored or edited their favorite stories. Part of that positive interaction is that a fan can walk away with a signed memento or personalized sketch from an artist.


As we mentioned previously, NOW is the time to put the pressure on Marvel to do the right thing by older creators.

And, while it is very plausible that Joe and Dan are serious about not patrolling AA, it’s still not inconceivable that Disney might have a different view some years down the line.

UPDATE: Just reading some of the Twitter response to this piece among creators…they are NOT soothed. Will a stable of fidgety freelancers have any deleterious effect on Marvel? Developing.

Comments

  1. Note the follow up question that asked, and Marvel’s decline to answer.

  2. thefreakytiki says:

    But isn’t the precedent already set?

    Lets say everything is copacetic right now between Marvel and an Artist but if for some reason an Artist decides to go to court with Marvel (justly or not) in the future… who is to say Marvel won’t go back to this litigious well once again?

    the Tiki

  3. Roberto Briceno says:

    “Buckley: Let me add that Marvel has also supported many projects by the Hero Initiative. If fans are looking for a wonderful outlet by which to give back to the creators of a medium they love, please give to the Hero Initiative.”

    Sorry, but Buckley can go fuck himself. Here is a guy that is making a pretty penny at Marvel/Disney (and the same can be stated about Joe Q) and I am sure a paycheck or two from him can clear the $17,000 fine.

    Sure, I put in what I can when I go to conventions but really?

    And one other thing I want to note is how much Joe Q became a suit. Wait, I let me restate that, an empty suit.

  4. Roberto, it is extremly obvious you do not have a clear understanding what is is to work for a corporation that is in litigation with someone.

    Joe and Dan do not own Marvel comics, they work for the company. Asking them to pay for the fine is ridiculous.

    If you have anger, aim it elsewhere, not two guys that have done a ton of good for the industry, and Hero Initiave.

  5. Artists want Marvel to state clearly that they won’t sue anyone who does sketches.

    Marvel can’t actually say that, because doing so in public and in print could then interfere with future legal issues if and when they arrive. That’s why they’re just saying things like “there’s no new policy” and “we want fans to be happy” and so on.

    They’re trying to say, “Look, nothing’s changed, this was a one-off situation and everything’s the same as it was before.” But what skittish artists want is clarity, not the vague, look-the-other-way status of before.

    But that, Marvel’s not going to provide.

    So it goes. It’s probably not an issue at all, but if it spurs artists to create more new stuff that they own themselves, well, good.

    kdb

  6. jacob lyon goddard says:

    I’m having trouble thinking of an effective statement that they could have made, other than, “we are well paid and willing participants in an exploitive corporation, and have decided to stop being a part of the problem instead of our usual rationalizations”

    Man, wouldn’t that be awesome…

  7. horatio weisfeld says:

    Quesada: “…I have never nor would I ever stand in the way of someone receiving much-needed help..”

    >>

    GREAT: obviously nothing to worry about now.

  8. Wesley Smith says:

    I’m actually with Jimmy’s viewpoint here. Most if not all of my adult occupations have been with large corporations (Honda, Chase, etc.). Anyone who has worked at a large company has seen picketers in front of the building or read about a lawsuit against the company. It’s unfair to ask for employees of a company to foot the bill in this kind of situation, even if the employees are high-ranking execs. Even if Buckley’s annual salary is $200,000 (which I’d bet is a little high), that would still mean that this $17,000 we’re talking about would be almost 10% of his salary. Imagine what it would be like to work the first six weeks of the year and not receive a paycheck.

    It’s like telling Congress that they should give up their paychecks to cover the national debt. It’s a noble idea perhaps, but not all Congresspeople are independently wealthy when elected, and they need their $150,000 salary (or whatever it is) to support their families.

    Having said that, even if Marvel’s employees are trying to do the right thing, Marvel the corporation is still trying to screw Friedrich. While, yes, Marvel is trying to cover its corporate ass here, and it’s unfair to expect employees to take the hit, $17,000 is a drop in the bucket for Marvel (much less Disney) to take care of, if only for the goodwill and good PR it would promote. The only thing that would be better for them than fighting it at this point is wait until an opportune moment for them (like, say the DVD release of Ghost Rider, which will probably be very close to Free Comic Book Day), so that they appear generous and gracious.

    On the other hand, that may have been their plan all along.

  9. Jimmy, come on … you’re hardly an unbiased observer here … it’s well known you and Joe Q go way back.

    I get so very tired of that corporate view … it’s not just in comics … put someone out there to be The Face to explain thing, but, when people turn their ire towards the spokespeople, backpedal and say “hey, it’s not them in charge! They’re just doing their jobs!”

    a) Sure, but they’re willing spokespeople and “Faces” for the company – that comes with positive and negative aspects.

    b) To whom SHOULD we direct our ire? Who is it that will actually hear us? Or are the heads of Marvel and Disney so far above this human plane of existence, we’ve got no hope of making our voices heard? Please, if you’ve got an address we can write to, share it. One. That. Will. Actually. Get. Us. Heard.

    Meantime, I’m seriously thinking of not only boycotting any future Marvel projects, but selling everything Marvel related I own and donating the money to something like the Hero Initiative.

  10. So when Quesada says he is deeply involved with the Hero Initiative, does that mean he donates money like the rest of us or that he is on the board? The thing is, you could be giving money to the Hero Initiative, only to have it get funneled to Marvel/Disney to help pay Friedrich’s judgment.

    If Quesada just donates money to Hero Initiative, then great. If he’s somehow involved with Hero Initiative in some sort of leadership role, then that seems like a conflict of interest.

  11. I just checked the Hero Initiative website. It shows that Quesada is on the board. Huh.

    http://www.heroinitiative.org/spage.asp?p=73&ti=Board+Members

  12. Roberto Briceno says:

    Jimmy, you are right and of anyone else, I’m sorry for the post and wish I can delete. I guess that I just look at issues too black and white.

  13. Matthew Southworth says:

    “If Quesada just donates money to Hero Initiative, then great. If he’s somehow involved with Hero Initiative in some sort of leadership role, then that seems like a conflict of interest.”

    No offense, but bullshit. The Hero Initiative doesn’t exist for the purpose of combating comic book companies, it exists for the purpose of giving help to creators in need.

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  14. jacob lyon goddard says:

    Mr Q’s commitment to Hero Initiative might come off as more sincere if he didnt also happen to be a major player in one of the companies who’s long standing practices necessitate the need for it to exist in the first place.

  15. Dave Elliott says:

    Roberto, you spoke with the same gut reaction that many felt. But Jimmy is right, Dan and Joe aren’t in any position to change anything and its a testament to their concern coupled with the impact this is having that they came forward. This isn’t black and white, it’s two completely different conversations that keep rubbing up against each other.

    There is the legal position that is messy and not clear cut, which I fear Marvel may win. Their contracts from that period most likely didn’t have certain wording that covered media exploitation. Leaving things open to interpretation either way.

    Then there is the moral dilemma. What is right and what is wrong. Gary Friedrich wasn’t taking out the trash at Marvel or stuffing envelopes, he was creating stories, characters and worlds that are the building blocks of Marvel. DC rewards its creators with royalties and payments for use of characters created by writers and artists in other media. Remember even Stan Lee had to sue to get his deal honored.

    I’m remembering the story quite recently of the creators of War Machine that got an unexpected and very nice payment from Marvel for the character because the studio needed all the paperwork and didn’t have it. Wouldn’t be beyond reason to have Gary covered the same way.

    This is a topic that isn’t going away and that the companies need to address soon as they’re dividing an already stressed industry that needs to be coming together. Every day creators are seeing their rights erode or their lack of rights enforced.

    SOPA and ACTA are about making sure creators don’t have access to something that might create a level playing field. These next couple of years are going to be very interesting. I’d like to see creators come out on level pegging with everyone else.

  16. @Matthew Southworth, It seems inappropriate for an a Hero Initiative board member to also be the chief creative officer of the very company at the center of Friedrich’s money problems.

    This creator is in need because Marvel/Disney is making him pay $17K for selling unauthorized prints at comic cons.

  17. Matthew Southworth says:

    I don’t think it’s a conflict of interest in any way. Joe Quesada wasn’t the CCO of Marvel when Friedrich worked there, and I suspect that he has no involvement in the lawsuit whatsoever with the exception that he works for Marvel.

    But even if he does, even if it were the case that Friedrich was suing Quesada HIMSELF, it would not be a conflict of interest for him to be involved with a charity that benefits destitute creators. If Kenneth Lay of scumbag corporation Enron was on the board of Habitat for Humanity, that would not be a “conflict of interest” simply because his misdeeds ruined people’s finances and led to some losing their homes.

    I think Marvel has handled the situation in an unseemly manner, and I think that if Friedrich created Ghost Rider, his name should be in the opening credits of the film, etc., reading “Created by Gary Friedrich”. I think corporations are running wild through American culture and should be reined in significantly. And I don’t know Joe Quesada at all, I’ve never met him, don’t have any mutual friends with him (with the exception of Jimmy, who I can’t say I’m “friends” with, though I like him and have met him a couple of times).

    But to somehow make him the bad guy face of this controversy is silly. He’s a guy working for a major corporation that won a legal case; he didn’t fight the case himself.

  18. Nawid A says:

    Wouldn’t the solution here be a 17k donation to the Hero Initiative from Marvel themselves?

  19. A solution would be a settlement that involves paying Gary’s legal fees, something for Gary and forgiving the $17,000.

  20. Look, the courts didn’t fine Friedrich $17k just to screw him over. He was fined for selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merch featuring artwork by Mike Ploog WITHOUT permission from Marvel OR Ploog. That’s all on Friedrich, so why get mad at Joe Q or Buckley?

  21. Chris Hero says:

    I think it’s kinda ironic Marvel is saying, “trust us, we’re not going to screw you over legally” when that’s pretty much all Marvel and DC do. So, yeah, I totally understand someone being freaked out by this ruling because 5 years from now they may find themselves being sued when new people are in place.

  22. I’m surprised a lot of the artists out in the industry are looking for clarification that Marvel won’t try to sue them over them doing sketches. It’s obvious they won’t…………..

    Unless they try to sue Marvel first for a piece of the pie they helped create. The minute they do that, they’ll go for the jugular.

    This is their hardball.

  23. Nawid A says:

    Yup, Evan got it right exactly.

    As a wise man said on Twitter, artists should fear the IRS more.

  24. well, I think Steve Niles and a lot of good people did the right thing and helped Gary out big time…and good for them.

    Joe is involved with Heroes and they , as a group, decide where the money goes and to whom. A great group and charity almost all creators I know donate to. In the past few years they helped Gene Colan, Steve Gerber, Russ Heath, Tom Ziuko, and many more. here is the link: http://www.heroinitiative.org/

    And Nate, I will always defend my friends. I am a loyal person and good friend and know how generous Joe is with his time and efforts with Heroes.

  25. Jimmy, I did not suggest otherwise, but merely pointed out that there may be some bias on your part, which just *might* make it a bit hard for you to see this issue dispassionately enough to make a fair judgment about it.

    I also notice you dodged my other questions.

  26. I DO also wish people would stop acting like most of us are saying Marvel is in the wrong legally here. I think that opinion is rare.

    I think we’re talking about what’s morally right here. They are making tens if not hundreds of millions off this character that would likely not exist without his input (and this is not to discount the input of the many others whose ideas have fed into GR’s ongoing popularity at all), while he is living close to the poverty line. And now, thanks to the outcome of this case, his ability to earn income will likely be further curtailed. If that doesn’t seem somehow wrong to you (again, not talking legally here), then I’m not sure what species you are.

  27. Joe Quesada has told soooo many lies and done so many underhanded things in his position of power that I don’t have much respect for him anymore at all. He’s about the last person who could convince me that Marvel is in the right, even when they are.

  28. jacob lyon goddard says:

    Dusty, what are you speaking about specifically?
    There have been a few choices of Q’s that I thought were horrible miss steps (editorial roundtables at strip clubs, rolling back his pro creator stances for more editorial control post “NuMarvel”, and simply being a person who owns his own intellectual properties while running a company that rapes others), but as a person he’s always struck me as a fairly stand up guy.

  29. JC LEBOURDAIS says:

    I’m so happy right now that european creators fully own their creations and we don’t have to deal with all that crap :)

  30. Nate, I didnt know those questions were directed towards me. here goes…

    a) Sure, but they’re willing spokespeople and “Faces” for the company – that comes with positive and negative aspects.

    That is true.

    b) To whom SHOULD we direct our ire? Who is it that will actually hear us? Or are the heads of Marvel and Disney so far above this human plane of existence, we’ve got no hope of making our voices heard? Please, if you’ve got an address we can write to, share it. One. That. Will. Actually. Get. Us. Heard.

    I have no idea since I do not work there…but you may be right in thinking it is the owners of the company. People make their voices heard on line, in articles and exactly what you are suggesting. You are a consumer , so you have the right to not support a company that you feel is being unfair in their dealings and to complain about it as well.

    Hope that helps.

  31. steve says:

    “I’m so happy right now that european creators fully own their creations and we don’t have to deal with all that crap”

    True! Imagine the kerfluffle that would ensue if, say, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons didn’t own Watchmen! Yikes!

  32. Ronnie says:

    Seems like the whole situation’s a bit dicey. A comic on the subject: http://www.cinemabums.com/?p=241

  33. Shawn Kane says:

    I have no problem with Joe Quesada speaking on this because he is a creator. Buckley, on the other hand, has always come across as condescending and smug in the interviews that I’ve read with him (particularly concerning Marvel’s pricing policies) that it totally ruins any goodwill that Joe Q brings to the article for me.

  34. So did Marvel ever screw any creators over? And if so, did they ever make it right later?

    Over the years I’ve read a lot of stories, heard a lot of things, especially about Kirby, and get the sense that Marvel didn’t play fair, to put it mildly. But I’m not an attorney, and of course I wasn’t there. But I keep asking myself why do these cases keep coming up? Why are the stories told over and over of unfair practices by Marvel? Why if there is so much success with films and licensing, can’t there be something for those who created those iconic characters? Why would a company who’s very existence is based on creative works of artists and writers, not treat them as artists and writers are treated in film, television, or book publishing?

    If the public believes Marvel, and by extension Disney, has been unfair with it’s creative contributors, then their brand will erode. That could spread to Disney, which could open a can of worms about who created what and when at their animation division. It could forever paint them as a preditory company, out to dupe unsuspecting creative types.

    Corporate reputations take a long time to build, and can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. If Marvel / Disney want to be known as the company that cheats artists and writers, they should continue on the path they’re on. They will not attract the best and the brightest, they will be branded as bullies and cheats.

    Marvel / Disney has an opportunity to reset the clock here — go have a long meeting about this. Make a broad proposal to rectify some things that may have not been handled properly in the past. The whole matter can be wrapped up for a few million dollars and it will all go away and everyone will be happy. But if not, it will forever be told how the mighty Marvel super heroes stand for justice, except when creator rights are at stake.

  35. horatio weisfeld says:

    I was recently hanging out with a publishing executive and at some point she asked me, “why do people hang around that LOSER BUSINESS?”

    I try to ignore comments like that – and then I read stories like this.

  36. Matthew says: “I don’t think it’s a conflict of interest in any way. Joe Quesada wasn’t the CCO of Marvel when Friedrich worked there, and I suspect that he has no involvement in the lawsuit whatsoever with the exception that he works for Marvel.

    But even if he does, even if it were the case that Friedrich was suing Quesada HIMSELF, it would not be a conflict of interest for him to be involved with a charity that benefits destitute creators.”

    Matthew, do you even know what “conflict of interest” means?

    No, you do not. I don’t even understand how you can’t understand what everybody else plainly understands.

    I don’t hardly give a crap about this aspect of the situation, but to say you can’t see a conflict of interest is to spit in the face of anybody who knows what the heck that term means.

  37. Shorter: don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

  38. Yeah, Darryl’s right! Joe Quesada’s a jerk for doing so much to support a charity that helps out a whole helluva lot of people! He should yank all his money out of the Hero Initiative so he can flail around in a big pile of it, cackling like the supervillain he so clearly is!

    *rolls eyes*

  39. Brad Ricca says:

    Joe Quesada has nothing to do with defending Marvel copyright and trademark in court.

    Corporations are always thought of as evil, and maybe some of them are. But Marvel and DC remain work-for-hire because, quite frankly, they can be, and have to be. Can you imagine having to pay out every single artist or writer who ever worked on Spider-man for the new movie? That kind of financial domino apocalypse, albeit an unlikely one, is what they are protecting themselves against. And it does have positive points for creators and readers: Superman is still Superman because they protected the brand.

    So maybe its evil, maybe it isn’t, but if you think it isn’t right, then give some money or buy something cool from HERO. Joe gets major props for mentioning that as part of this. That’s an individual moral choice that would make a difference in someone’s life right away. That’s very powerful. In fact, I think the better GR does, the more the Marvel agents might be compelled to act. But that’s up to them. If we’re not lawyers, there are still things we can do.

  40. Torsten Adair says:

    Dave says:
    “Roberto, you spoke with the same gut reaction that many felt. But Jimmy is right, Dan and Joe aren’t in any position to change anything and its a testament to their concern coupled with the impact this is having that they came forward.”

    Dan Buckley is the PUBLISHER of Marvel Comics, and the CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER of Marvel’s publishing division.

    Joe Quesada is the CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER of Marvel Entertainment.

    They are in the same position that Jenette Kahn and Julie Schwartz were in when the industry began to agitate for Siegel and Shuster.

    Marvel can pay royalties for archival material.
    Marvel can place creator credits on their books.
    Marvel can pay a consulting fee to the creators when a movie is made (and have the creators promote the movie at conventions).

    Is it hypocritical that Marvel supports the Hero Initiative when it was their policies which caused so many creators to become destitute?

    What can you do?
    If you own Disney stock (and yes, you can buy ONE SHARE, currently trading at $41), you can agitate and organize at the shareholders meetings.

    If you attend a convention where Marvel is hosting a panel (Cup O’ Joe, media panels), keep asking the question, just like Kyrax2 did last year.

    Hmmm… what happens when Disney decides to add Marvel creators to their Disney Legends hall of fame?

  41. Matthew Southworth says:

    @Darryl–

    I understand what a conflict of interest is–I’ve been speaking English for quite some time now, and not only that, I know about this thing called Google where I can look things up if I don’t understand them.

    Nope, I just think you’re wrong. Quesada is a prominent, visible member of the comics community, and he is on the board of an organization devoted to helping those in need. No conflict there. Or are you suggesting that anyone that holds a prominent position in the industry, anyone that could be accused of somehow disadvantaging a creator, should not be on that board for fear of a conflict of interest?

    “I don’t even understand how you can’t understand what everybody else plainly understands.” It’s obvious you don’t. Apparently you don’t have any interest in figuring out why someone would disagree with you (and others–but not everybody, remember, there’s a bunch of people who don’t agree with you; do you understand that?), which I think is surprising.

    Hey, look, it’s raining.

  42. No, you said that his being a high ranking employee of a company involved in litigation is not a conflict of interest with regards to his being a board member of a charity organization which persons such as the other litigant can sometimes go to for financial help.

    THAT IS ABSURD, MATTHEW.

  43. While this is an exhausting subject these things are good:
    1. People have stepped up to help Gary, who was in need
    2. Legality and morality aside the issue is furthering the discussion on the lingering issues related to the development and growth of cultural icons and those responsible for bringing them into the public sphere
    3. Groups like the Hero Initiative will continue to fill where possible the gap left by the lack of union or collective bargaining agreements in Comics’ history
    4. It is now almost completely socially acceptable to punch people in the face when they claim corporations are people (Mitt Romney I’mma plaster you like slat-board).

    Everything else is still developing. Nothing is settled, so hopefully, albeit slowly, there may come a better, quiet resolution that allows for a man to live the rest of his life with a little more dignity and a little more peace of mind.

  44. Would all of this go away if DisMar just created a percentage-based pension fund for all of its previous creators? We’d be talking about a total annual payout in the low millions–chicken feed for the Mouse.

  45. horatio weisfeld says:

    Would all of this go away if DisMar just created a percentage-based pension fund for all of its previous creators? We’d be talking about a total annual payout in the low millions–chicken feed for the Mouse.

    >>

    You’re obviously living in some dream world where the people who control Marvel have class.

  46. >> Would all of this go away if DisMar just created a percentage-based pension fund for all of its previous creators? >>

    All of it? Probably not. A lot of it? Probably.

    I think Marvel should take its current creator-equity/participation policies and grandfather them all the way back to Burgos, Everett and MARVEL COMICS #1. What it would buy them in goodwill would vastly outweigh what it would cost in profits.

  47. Earth-2 Chad says:

    I think Marvel should take its current creator-equity/participation policies and grandfather them all the way back to Burgos, Everett and MARVEL COMICS #1. What it would buy them in goodwill would vastly outweigh what it would cost in profits.

    What Kurt Busiek said. The fact that whether or not you get creator-equity/participation is dependent on the year in which you created a character has never seemed fair.

  48. Joseph says:

    As much as I hate to disagree with Mr. Busiek, because he always wins, I have to say that sadly I don’t think the goodwill received by grandfathering those policies back to Marvel Comics #1 would vastly outweigh the cost in profits. Not because the profit cost would be significant (I’m sure in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t be), but because outside of what I expect is a minority of comic book fans, no one really cares. The general public certainly isn’t concerned about it, so while it would absolutely be the right thing to do it makes zero sense for Disney’s bottom line in the short or long term.

  49. horatio weisfeld says:

    I think Marvel should take its current creator-equity/participation policies and grandfather them all the way back to Burgos, Everett and MARVEL COMICS #1.

    >>

    I just talked to Gene Colan — he’s real excited.

  50. The direct result of the Wording of the ruling handed down is what is of the utmost importance here. I’ve known both Joe Q and Dan Buckley personally for a few decades, and I can rightly say that even if their word is bond, it doesn’t change how wrong the actual ruling is. Here’s why:

    1) The ruling sets a precedent that Marvel can at any time decide to harass a Creator, an Artist in Artist Alley, a Cos-player, or a Fan creating fan fiction. This is exactly what DISNEY / MARVEL wanted. They now have assumed control.

    2) I like Joe Q, and I like Dan Buckley as people and professionals, but are we so naive as to think they will hold their jobs forever? I don’t wish them ill, but they could be replaced at any time with a corporate schill with much more malevolent desires.

    3) This Pandora’s Box which has been crow-barred open is entirely of DISNEY / MARVEL creation. They didn’t have to apply the counter-lawsuit to stop Gary from selling “merchandise” at conventions. Merchandise assumes that it was manufactured, and I’ve seen little evidence of that. It was a legal decision with malice and spite. Everyone from the 6 year-old fan and up can see that.

    4) Marvel has further sullied their perceived honor my not fulfilling the gentlemen’s agreement that they had with Gary Friedrich in 1972. In 1972, they credited him as “Conceiving” the character and being it’s premiere writer. Applying that credit to either (or both) of the movies would go a looong way toward making Gary whole. Once you have little or no use for MONEY, being known for what you DID is part of feeling that you made something of your Life. DISNEY / MARVEL have denied him this.

    5) Don’t think your talent pool hasn’t noticed.
    If the corporate officers are wondering why none of your creators are creating new concepts FOR Marvel, then take note. You’ve proven that your word WILL be broken by others (See points 2 and 4 together).

    6) Then there is the financial aspect of the top two officers of Marvel asking their audience to support the creators that they admire by donating their own money to the HERO Initiative. Frankly, most of your audience is STRAPPED for cash in the middle of the Great Recession. This is uncanny thought. It’s the 1% is asking the 99% to pay for the mistakes that happened on their watch. Frankly, you guys are 3 years to late for that Idiocracy. You both know better. And we’d respect you even more if you donated an illustration to the HERO Initiative to help resolve this yourselves. Neal Adams did.

    7) I’m sure one day the beginnings of this lawsuit with become common knowledge. Right now it’s hidden under cease and desist orders, and malicious lawyers. The Truth always gets out there. Is this a case of Gary being greedy? I doubt that, as he’s lived with nothing for decades…that speaks to who he is more that some half thought out PR special. Even a city street-sweeper gets a pension, and their ideas don’t become multi-million dollar movies.

    And finally:
    So again, where is the damn contract Marvel?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  51. 1) Jimmy – thanks … appreciate the answers.

    2) Good one, AndyG – “DisMar” – I love it!

    3) Love Kurt’s idea, too.

  52. @Torsten: “If you own Disney stock (and yes, you can buy ONE SHARE, currently trading at $41), you can agitate and organize at the shareholders meetings.”

    You know what…in all seriousness…that’s not such a crazy idea. It’s a pretty damn good one.

    Lance Roger Axt
    The AudioComics Company

  53. Pedro Bouça says:

    “True! Imagine the kerfluffle that would ensue if, say, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons didn’t own Watchmen! Yikes!”

    Even though the two gentlemen in question are europeans (well, british, there is a difference…), Watchmen was published in the US, under US laws.

    The same Alan Moore has a better example. He owned V For Vendetta when it was first published in the UK, but to be published (and finished) in the US he gave the rights to DC Comics under a contract not unlike the Watchmen one. And it now belongs to DC Comics.

    That’s the difference between european (even british!) and US law. Did you understand now?

  54. Dave Elliott says:

    Torsten: “Dan Buckley is the PUBLISHER of Marvel Comics, and the CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER of Marvel’s publishing division.

    Joe Quesada is the CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER of Marvel Entertainment.

    They are in the same position that Jenette Kahn and Julie Schwartz were in when the industry began to agitate for Siegel and Shuster.”

    I don’t think that is correct. Jenette, Julie and don’t forget Dick Giordano did have a lot of influence back then as Warners left them pretty much alone as long as they didn’t earn less than the year before. All three had great relationships with creators and were well respected by everyone. I think much of Alan Moore’s problems with DC stems from the handshakes and goodwill from these three that wasn’t carried forward.

    Dan and Joe do not have the same autonomy and control. I was in talks with Marvel for a very well known creator to come back and do some more work for them, which Joe wanted, but the marketing department shot it down on the grounds they felt it wouldn’t sell enough.

    It’s a testament to the efforts of both Steve Niles and Neal Adams to raise the awareness of Gary’s plight that its becoming an embarrassment.

    Social media goes both ways and Facebook and Twitter is filled with people discussing this. The creative community is scared, rightly so, and fans better get used to creators drawing commissions of their characters only.

  55. >> I was in talks with Marvel for a very well known creator to come back and do some more work for them, which Joe wanted, but the marketing department shot it down on the grounds they felt it wouldn’t sell enough.>>

    The marketing department can’t shoot projects down.

    What they can do is provide sales projections that might lead to the publisher deciding not to go ahead with a project, but they don’t decide what gets published; they market what they’re handed, and advise to the degree they’re asked to advise.

    I’d say Dan and Joe are indeed in much the same position as, say, Jenette and Carmine were back when people were lobbying for Siegel & Shuster in the mid-to-late 1970s. But just as Jenette and Carmine couldn’t simply decide to give S&S a pension, Dan and Joe can’t do the same for Marvel creators. They could lobby the even-higher-ups for it — and may very well have done so or be doing so already.

    But what DC’s overseers at Warner Bros. were willing to do in the 1970s and what Ike Perlmutter is willing to do today may not be anywhere near the same thing.

    That doesn’t mean Joe’s got a conflict of interest in being on the Hero Initiative board, though. It just means he doesn’t get to make that kind of decision on his own. Then again, neither could Jenette and Carmine, back when.

    kdb

  56. >> I don’t think the goodwill received by grandfathering those policies back to Marvel Comics #1 would vastly outweigh the cost in profits. Not because the profit cost would be significant (I’m sure in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t be), but because outside of what I expect is a minority of comic book fans, no one really cares. The general public certainly isn’t concerned about it, so while it would absolutely be the right thing to do it makes zero sense for Disney’s bottom line in the short or long term.>>

    Given how many general-interest news outlets have been giving ink to the Ghost Rider story, I think you’re mistaken — the general public does have an interest in “big publisher mistreats character creator” stories, and avoiding them is worth quite a bit. Having the creators of the characters willing to help promote the movies because they benefit financially from them is worth something, too — positive stories generate goodwill, negative stories harm it.

    kdb

  57. Dave Elliott says:

    KDB: “The marketing department can’t shoot projects down.” Don’t see any reason why Joe would tell me if it wasn’t the case.

  58. >> I’d say Dan and Joe are indeed in much the same position as, say, Jenette and Carmine were back when people were lobbying for Siegel & Shuster in the mid-to-late 1970s.>>

    No, strike that. Not Jenette and Carmine, since Jenette replaced Carmine as publisher. But Dick wasn’t managing editor until 1981, and Julie was never at the kind of level Joe is at. I don’t know who at DC back then would be even remotely analogous to Joe’s position today.

    kdb

  59. Dave Elliott says:

    KDB: “But what DC’s overseers at Warner Bros. were willing to do in the 1970s and what Ike Perlmutter is willing to do today may not be anywhere near the same thing.”

    Then they’re not in the same position.

  60. Dave – because it’s shorter to say than than “the marketing report was enough for Publishing to decide against it,” maybe.

    Marketing can point out that a project won’t make much money, but the decision as to whether to do it or not isn’t Marketing’s to make.

    Otherwise you’d never, never, never have seen STREET POET RAY, or a ton of other obvious losers.

  61. >> Then they’re not in the same position. >>

    I don’t understand, Dave. If your bosses don’t make the same decisions, you’re not in the same position?

    I’d say they were both in position to advocate for this stuff, but that doesn’t mean they’d get the same answer.

  62. Dave Elliott says:

    Kurt, next show I see you at I’ll tell you who I was talking about and you’ll want to hit your head against a wall. I know I did.

    ;-)

  63. Dave Elliott says:

    Kurt: “I’d say they were both in position to advocate for this stuff, but that doesn’t mean they’d get the same answer.”

    Sure they’re all in a position to advocate, but that wasn’t my point. Jenette was in a much better position to get something done about it.

  64. I might well want to hit my head against the wall; it wouldn’t be the first time. I remember when Marvel almost had Steve Ditko convinced to do a new Spider-Man story, and then sent him over copies of UNTOLD TALES to show him how respectful they were of what he’d done, and it blew up the whole deal.

    But I used to be one of the guys who did the sales-projection work in response to new project pitches, and while someone might have said “the sales department shot it down” if our projections were bad, what it would have meant was, “the sales department’s projections were enough to make Publishing shoot it down.”

  65. >> Sure they’re all in a position to advocate, but that wasn’t my point. Jenette was in a much better position to get something done about it.>>

    Ah. That’s a different use of “position” than Torsten meant, I expect.

    Giving Siegel and Shuster a pension wasn’t something Jenette could do because she had a fair amount of autonomy over what went into the comics, though — it was a separate matter, outside that area of autonomy; it had to go up to the Warner level.

  66. Dave Elliott says:

    “it was a separate matter, outside that area of autonomy; it had to go up to the Warner level.”

    Agreed. Jenette’s relationship then and even now with Warners meant they would more than likely give her ideas and suggestions more consideration.

  67. Dusty says:

    “I was in talks with Marvel for a very well known creator to come back and do some more work for them, which Joe wanted, but the marketing department shot it down on the grounds they felt it wouldn’t sell enough.” – Dave Elliott

    Damn, Dave, don’t drop that kind of comment and the not say who you’re talking about!Barry Windsor-Smith? David Mazzucchelli? Who????

  68. Dave Elliott says:

    Dusty, sorry mate, me and my big mouth.

  69. It more likely was somebody British, so I’m going to just go with Barry Windsor-Smith if you don’t tell me! lol

  70. Brad Ricca says:

    With Siegel and Shuster, I believe it was completely Warner’s call. People at DC had been helping them for quite some time but had no power to do anything official. There are actually a few funny comics easter eggs that make fun of Warner Bros. at this time.

    Jerry knew this even at the start when he calls out Warner Bros. by name.

  71. I’m sorry… I read the interview at CBR and what stuck on my head is the fact that the 17.000 dollars that people are furious about, is money that Friedrich is not currently obligated to pay. Friedrich said he would appeal the court’s decision over Ghost Rider’s copyright, so Marvel and his lawyers agreed upon what is it that Friedrich would have to do after losing the counter lawsuit filled by Marvel in 2010 (being that the counter lawsuit seems to be dependant on the ruling of Friedrich’s claim). And they did so to expedite the appeal, otherwise Friedrich (and Marvel) would’ve had to litigate over that lawsuit first and that costs time and money.

    am I correct?

    If so, I think that Marvel is not being nearly as evil as they could have.

    Now, I don’t care who’s right about the copyright, but I certainly don’t like seeing that Friedrich has nothing while mllions are spent on the movie

  72. MBunge says:

    “If the corporate officers are wondering why none of your creators are creating new concepts FOR Marvel, then take note.”

    The creators doing that aren’t doing Marvel any harm. All they’re doing is crapping the bed the next generation of creators will have to lie in.

    Mike

  73. You want corporate execs to help out their creators? pay their legal judgements? What is wrong with you, they gots famblys to feed! You people remind me of those teachers who only work 10 months out of the year and some earn almost 60 70 grand a year. Sick.

  74. Much More says:

    Teachers have families to feed too, numbnuts. Don’t you see the quandry?

  75. Joseph says:

    “Given how many general-interest news outlets have been giving ink to the Ghost Rider story, I think you’re mistaken — the general public does have an interest in “big publisher mistreats character creator” stories, and avoiding them is worth quite a bit.”

    I hope you’re right. But I haven’t seen any coverage of this issue in the general media (although I believe you that it’s out there somewhere), and we live in a world where the public is seemingly indifferent to their NFL heroes of the past continuing to be left to lives of near-poverty and crippling medical conditions despite the enormous popularity of the league and a substantial amount of negative press in recent years. Given this, I don’t see where anyone outside of those of us who visit sites like The Beat would even have this issue on their radar.

  76. i just have to say that we all dont have the facts maybe he is just maybe he is not, but what/who is at fault is disney, i would bet they are forcing this through because they dont care and would screw anyone

  77. I think Dan and Joe are very fourthcoming, and kind of caught in a position that they did not create, and have nothing but respect for creators and talent. However they must also be respectful of their employers. I know Gary only by light talk at shows the past few years, and while I sympathize with him, and support his cause, no one should condem creative talent and people like Joe and Dan at Marvel or Disney who are not the legal decision makers. I think it is wonderful that they support some of the support organizations that help out creators and talent, who have fallen into a tough time. I hope this all comes to a resolution that will be benefit all parties concerned.

  78. Just Because says:

    I’ve looked into copyright law, as well as work-4-hire contracts… If Friedrich wanted his name to be forever remembered as the creator of the Ghost Rider character Marvel OWNS then he should have negotiated his contract better.

    Case in point, who created The Batman? Guess what the writer had more influence on the character than Bob Kane did… Kane did a sketch, a sketch with the help of a friend but have you read the books Kane drew? Creepy to say the least but which Batman do you think of when you pick up a book or goto the movies? It’s not Kane’s version I’ll tell you that! It’s more likely Frank Millers or some other modern creator.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is Friedrich did not create the Ghost Rider who is now so popular and in movies, he was only part of a vast group of creative individuals who took a job for an agreed upon amount of money, who signed over all their rights to the company. It was a commissioned work. It was a work based on previous incarnations. In my book Texeria is the one who should be getting the movie money, cause he, above all other Ghost Rider creators, did more for that character than Friedrich ever did…

    I’m trying to get to my point… sorry…

    My point is this: When you work for Marvel, DC or any other comic company, you are taking a job. You fulfill your contract just as you would at any other job. All the characters which we geeks love, be it Spider-Man, Bat-Man, Super-Man, Ghost Rider, Blade, X-Men, etc. etc. are not the creation of sole creator. They are not wholly original characters to begin with and most of them if not all of them are COMMISSIONED works. And by the law, and I happen to agree with this law, commissioned creative works, photographs, drawings, writings, etc. etc. are the property of the person or company whom commissioned it, unless otherwise stated in a binding agreement between say, artist and publisher.

    Friedrich broke the law and he is paying for it.

    It may not be nice that Marvel does not feel the need to pay him any of the movie money but it’s not evil, it’s business plain and simple.

    Nuff Said.

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