Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up

twitter Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up0facebook Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up0google Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up0pinterest Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up0tumblr Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set upreddit Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up0stumbleupon Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up0email Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up

201202101630 Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up
We’ve been meaning to write up the disgusting legal maneuver that has left 69-year-old Gary Friedrich owing Marvel $17,000 after a failed attempt to get some ownership of Ghost Rider, a character he co-created back in the ’70s. In a story first reported here by Torsten, Marvel/Disney filed a countersuit for copyright infringement based on Friedrich’s convention appearances selling Ghost Rider-related merchandise. As Daniel Best wrote:

This stipulation has been agreed upon and so ordered by the court, with the final judgement reflecting all that contained within. This now means that Gary Friedrich has the right to appeal, and appeal he shall, but it also means that he now owes Marvel Comics, a multi-million dollar making machine, backed by the multi-billion dollar Disney company, $17,000 and cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising. Well done Marvel!! I do wonder though, how does the likes of Joe Quesada, who has also made millions from Marvel in recent times, take the court’s judgement? As Friedrich himself has stated, he is unemployed, has no real assets and is, for all intents and purposes, destitute. $17,000 might be chump change for some, but for someone in Friedrich’s situation it’s a lot of cash.


The reaction to this has been two-fold. First, it’s the latest and worst example of an encroaching corporate power-grab against actual creators—although it is merely financial Darwinism in a world where corporations are people, there is the chance of a significant PR backlash, as James Sturm’s call for a Marvel boycott earlier in the week over the Kirby matter shows.

Second and even more chilling is the possible end to the gentleman’s agreement that has allowed freelance artists to sell sketches, drawings and even entire books of art based on copyrighted characters. Marvel and DC have long looked the other way for this staple of the freelancer’s income. But Disney doesn’t. If Friedrich owes $17,000 over the bits and pieces he has sold over the years, what about the countless, expensive convention sketches by Adam Hughes to name just one? Or Steve Rude. Or anyone.

These questions are now circulating everywhere. In the meantime, Friedrich is old, broke and in ill health. Although many doubt Marvel will try to collect the money—since he had none—the ruling has taken away one of the few ways he had to make money. As he has written to several supporters, he is in danger of losing his home. In a recent Facebook status update, he wrote:

Since the various news agencies and websites have reported the ruling against me on my claims against Marvel in the Ghost Rider lawsuit, and the assessment of a $17,000 judgment against me and my company instead, I have read an amazing amount of comments in my support on the internet, and have received many messages of support directly. Although the reports of my employment situation and financial difficulties as well as problems with my health are unfortunately true, I want to let everyone in the comic book world, especially my supporters and fans of the Ghost Rider character which I invented, created, and wrote, that I am going to appeal the Court’s ruling and continue to fight this as long as I am able and that your support of me means more than you will ever know. I have heard your voices. I thank you with alll my heart, and I appreciate your thoughts and best wishes as I soldier on.
Feel free to keep in touch with me via e-mail: fgroovygary@aol.com.

Thanks again and God bless you.


A worried industry has responded. Steve Niles has set up a donation page and a PayPal button.

Yes, it’s time to pass the hat once more. But that old, broke freelancer is going to be most of us someday if we don’t smarten up now.

201202101629 Help Gary Friedrich—new donation site set up

Comments

  1. Earth-2 Chad says:

    Good work, Steve Niles. Donation made.

  2. Ditto.

  3. Wow.

    This whole situation is thoroughly disgusting – and only reinforces that corporations are not only NOT people, but exactly the kind of villains that super-heroes themselves fight against.

    How’s that for your daily cup of irony?

  4. I’ll say it again, here.
    This judgement is CRAPPOLA.

    If a corporation makes a film based on your interests, loves and concepts… give the guy a basic pension at least equal to a city street-sweeper. It’s called being GRATEFUL for his talent.

    No one. NO ONE at Marvel even knew how to ride a motor-cycle EXCEPT Gary. Get a clue people.

    And any Hollywood agent will tell you that the cost of that pension could be written off in Hollywood accounting without anyone sneezing.

  5. Eh, I have no sympathy for a man who willingly signed a bad contract.

  6. MBunge says:

    I do have sympathy for Friedrich but HE WAS DOING WORK FOR HIRE. Does it suck that creators of his era don’t get some of the benefits modern comic creators do, let alone what folks in the TV and movie business get? Yes. Should Marvel try and come up with some way of helping out old pros who’ve fallen on hard times? Absolutely.

    But Friedrich doesn’t deserve more money for Ghost Rider in the same way he shouldn’t have to give back some of the money he was paid to write comics about characters created by others, like Kid Colt or Sgt. Fury.

    Mike

  7. >> Friedrich doesn’t deserve more money for Ghost Rider in the same way he shouldn’t have to give back some of the money he was paid to write comics about characters created by others, like Kid Colt or Sgt. Fury.>>

    That doesn’t make much sense as a comparison, unless you’re imagining that creators’ royalties are deducted from a writer’s page rate, which they’re not.

    When Marvel gives Mark Bagley and me something on THUNDERBOLTS, they don’t take it away from Jeff Parker to do so.

  8. @Steve Flack. Your attitude makes me ill. This is no time to be a cynical fanboy. Help the poor guy out. Seriously.

  9. john layman says:

    @Steve Flack. What Teri said, but with considerable more venom. You’re scum.

  10. “But that old, broke freelancer is going to be most of us someday if we don’t smarten up now.”

    In all seriousness, what is the “smarten up” remedy to this sort of crackdown? If Disney is deciding to protect its intellectual property and do away with the “gentlemen’s agreement” (i.e. non-written contract) regarding con sketches & commissions, what can “smartened up” pros actually do about it?

    Not taking a side…just puzzled.

  11. “I do have sympathy for Friedrich but HE WAS DOING WORK FOR HIRE. Does it suck that creators of his era don’t get some of the benefits modern comic creators do, let alone what folks in the TV and movie business get? Yes. Should Marvel try and come up with some way of helping out old pros who’ve fallen on hard times? Absolutely.”

    Isn’t that what the HERO Initiative was for? An organization that Marvel works with?

  12. Dennis V. says:

    Sure, I feel sorry for Gary Friedrich (and I don’t have anything against people wanting to help him out of this mess he created), but sorry, Marvel is not in the wrong here. I will not be participating in any silly boycotts.

  13. Will Naslund says:

    From what I know of IP law, making a counterclaim is often pro forma when one gets sued for copyright/trademark issues, so I harbor no particular venom towards TPTB @ Marvel for doing what they did. They were most likely following the advice of their lawyers w/r/t the counter-suit.

    That said, now that Marvel has won, it would behoove them to be gracious in victory and opt not to wring a trivial (for them) sum of money from an aging creator who can ill afford to pay it.

    So kudos to Steve Niles for stepping forward and setting this fund up. I’ll be donating out of my next paycheck.

  14. ‘Work for hire’ does not necessarily mean “Keep every single farthing for ourselves – and by the way, fuck you – give us $17,000 and never speak of this again to another living soul.”

    What corporations like Disney & Time Warner never seem to understand is that a little compassion amounts to a lot of positive PR. Giving Gary a screen credit & a check for $20,000 is not something to HAVE to do – but it should be something they WANT to do – for both Gary & themselves & the fans. Everybody wins.

  15. Here’s something someone pointed out over on Bendis’ board. It makes sense and shows that some people need to stop and think about things before they go on the “grrr Marvel is teh devil” mindset that is in vogue on the net;

    Let’s imagine we’re Marvel. We have two problems, both caused by Gary Friedrich’s suit.

    For years, we’ve been turning a blind eye to creators selling prints and such of our characters. We do that with lots of folks. It’s little or no money out of our pockets and it benefits people who’ve worked for us, most of whom we think well of. As long as we can plausibly say we don’t know it’s happening, we’re not risking our copyrights and trademarks. (Bear in mind that failure to defend a trademark can result in loss of trademark: see this nice writeup by Bohen, Mathers and Associates, a law firm specializing in intellectual property.)

    Then we get sued by Gary Friedrich. The whole matter goes to court (most suits don’t), and it goes on for five years. Our defense costs are probably well up into the six figures. Eventually we win hands-down.

    Should we ask for our legal costs? No way he has that kind of money, it’ll bankrupt him, and we’ll get nothing except further legal costs and bad press (insert blood from turnip phrase here). There’s no way he can make us whole in any sense of the word.

    Should we allow him to continue to profit off of us? No, we don’t owe him any further consideration on that point. He’s no longer one of our friends.

    Further, in the course of the defense it comes out that he’s been selling prints of our characters. Since it’s now a matter of legal record, we have to take action to defend our trademark. So we formally forbid him future use of the characters, and ask for only for the $17,000 of his profits on the sales. No punitive damages.

    Only $17,000? Yeah. It’s big enough that the court will regard it as a real defense action of our trademark. It’s small enough that he might be able to pay it. If he doesn’t pay (probably because he can’t without going further into the poorhouse), so long as he cuts out the shit we can not bother pursuing him to actually pay.

    The legal paperwork says he’s got to pay the judgement. But if he doesn’t it’s not worth the further expense to go after him (repeat blood from a turnip remark here). We don’t want to bankrupt him; if we did, we’d have asked for punitive damages. But we’re out a shitload of time and money on this, and we don’t want someone else with an equally dubious claim to come after us. Nor do we want him making any more money off our trademarks and characters. So we need to do something big enough to deter. Whether he actually pays us the $17,000 doesn’t make a damn to our bottom line. It’s the deterrent effect that we care about, both on him and others.

    As long as he doesn’t screw with us in the future, we’re not gonna screw with him. But now there’s this big sword hanging over his head. He screws with us again, we go back to court and ask for payment, back interest, and maybe punitive damages to boot. He spends most of his productive hours in court for years, then goes straight to bankruptcy. But that’s the nuclear option, and we’d rather not do that. Instead, we create the bomb and make it obvious to him that he’s the one with his finger on the trigger.

    Then we walk quietly away.

    IMHO, that’s what we do if we’re a smart Marvel. It’s not a win-win, but it’s the minimal lose-lose.

  16. Shannon OLeary says:

    We’re talking about two corporations who supported SOPA here. This is just a far more heartless example of where constantly chasing the bottom line will get you – straight to the bottom, divorced from artistry and standard decency.

  17. Will Naslund says:

    “Giving Gary a screen credit & a check for $20,000 is not something to HAVE to do – but it should be something they WANT to do – for both Gary & themselves & the fans. Everybody wins.”

    Agreed — but it’s probably worth noting that the $17,000 judgment stems from the outcome of a suit Friedrich brought against Marvel, and not vice versa. IMHO, it’s also significant that Friedrich claimed sole credit for Ghost Rider’s creation, when other accounts credit Mike Ploog and/or Roy Thomas as co-creator(s).

    Friedrich shouldn’t have to pay Marvel one red cent, but this isn’t a clear-cut case of ruthless exploitation as the Siegel & Shuster/Superman debacle.

  18. Though Marvel may have the right to do this to Gary, they really should forgive the 17K. Hope my portion helps.

    Gary, thank you for your contribution to comics. Can’t wait to see GR onscreen (hopefully Neveldine and Taylor speak up about this on your behalf).

  19. I generally support the little guy, but not in these silly Marvel/DC creator fiascos. Would it be nice if the companies paid out pensions or participations? Sure. Did any of these creators sign a contract for this? No. An artist should retain ownership rights to their work if they think they’ve got a lottery ticket on their hands. It’s not like Marvel was licking it’s chops about what a steal they were getting on Ghost Rider.

  20. “Giving Gary a screen credit & a check for $20,000 is not something to HAVE to do – but it should be something they WANT to do – for both Gary & themselves & the fans. Everybody wins.”

    So anytime anyone claims they created something Marvel or any other large company should just pay up, no questions asked? I think that sets a dangerous example. I’ve never read one thing that says Gary 100% created Ghost Rider. This is definitely not a clear cut case. A judge decided, it’s unfortunate it wasn’t in Gary’s favor.

    Why is everyone just assuming Marvel is wrong and Gary is right? Artist and writers are never wrong? And when they are wrong they deserve our unquestioning loyalty and financial support?

  21. Maverickman874 says:

    I hope Mr Friedrich financial situation improves and Marvel never really collects the 17000 but the case doesn’t seem to be black and white.

    Every blog post has stated that Gary sold Ghost Rider related merchandise. What exactly did he sell ? From what I understand sketches sold by artists at conventions of characters they don’t own is not considered illegal.Neither are commissions. Did he sell t-shirts or something that got him into trouble ?

  22. Stazzy says:

    Anybody who thinks that this is just about Gary Friedrich is kidding him or herself or is in strong denial. That is NEVER what such rulings are about.

    And BTW, using corporate shill Bendis to support the merits of Marvel’s case is a bit silly.

  23. Chris Hero says:

    Reading these comments, I feel like I’m seriously beginning to hate comic fans. So many don’t have a shred of empathy for anyone.

  24. Marvel / Disney will continue to squeeze every last nickel and give no credit to those who made them billions. They’ve been very successful so far, they have no reason to change, unless it begins to cost them money. Don’t buy their books, don’t go to their movies, don’t do work for them. I can hear it now: But I must do work for them — it’s what I do. Then don’t be surprised when you’re 69 years old and some lawyer slaps you with a cease and desist.

    I just plunked down my money at Steve Niles’ site. I encourage everyone else to. Be a man or be a sheep.

  25. Chris Hero says:

    I just went in for $100. I dare people to match me.

  26. Good man — I did the same Chris!

  27. Chris Hero says:

    Awesome, Cliff! You’re good people, too! I think you’re restoring my faith in comic fans.

  28. I donated a little – what I could afford right now. Hopefully, more later.

    How can people claim to love SUPERHERO comics, and then have the callous, cruel feelings towards the creators of those comics that I read here?

    Steve Flack and those who agree with him: listen to yourselves. What you are saying is what Scrooge would say, or any other villain of fiction: “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” I’m sickened.

  29. fake name says:

    Marvel is one of the only companies I can think of that looks the other way as former employees reproduce their trademarked images for money. He sold the character to Marvel but now he needs money so he sued 7 different companies over rights he has no new proof of ownership to. He cost these companies millions of dollars in legal fees. So they made an example out of him and sued him back. So unless people want an end to comic conventions as we know it, unless artists want to start paying royalties for every sketch and print they sell, how about dialing the outrage back and act like the artist is the primary reason (if any reason after 30 years) for a characters market value.

  30. fake name says:

    And by Marvel I mean all the major comic book companies. NFL, ASCAP, The Sierra Club, etc. would be all over a former employees ass if they tried to sell reproductions or recreations of trademarks they own. NFL players cant even sell pictures of THEMSELVES in uniform unless it has a NFL royalty stamp on it.

  31. I honestly can’t believe some of you are trying to justify this. I don’t know or care to know the details of the case Friedrich brought to court, mostly because I have never given a shit about Marvel and don’t plan to start. But we all know this is a symbolic middle finger to all the old school creators who were duped into bad contracts because they needed the money and might be looking for some piece of the gigantic pie Marvel is making off their creations. Doesn’t matter that Marvel might technically be right to do this or that in a legal sense they should — until corporations can treat artists like real people instead of means to an end, I for one cannot support them.

    Hey guys, whatever money you normally spend on Marvel products, donate that money Friedrich or discover an independent artist trying to make it work outside of the conventional corporate business model. There are plenty of smaller comic publishers putting out really great work and treating their creators very well in the process. Vote with your dollars, it’s as simple as that.

  32. fake name says:

    Of course you can’t believe I am trying to justify it, you admit you dont care to know the details. Name one other company that lets former employees make money on the side using their trademarks? Every business in the world works like this. Do people think the chemist that invents bug spray or baby shampoo while working for Dow chemical gets residuals of sales for the next 35 years? Or that a screen writer that sells his script later gets toy residuals? This guy is FUCKING OVER every artist in the business. He sold “ALL RIGHTS” he had no case but needed money so filed half a dozen lawsuits figuring they would pay him to go away rather than run the $100,000s taking him to court. Figuring he had nothing to lose, well he was wrong. Ghost Rider makes money not because some penciler drew what the writer described to him. He has nothing to do with the money being made now. But he figured he’s create nuisance lawsuits until someone paid him to go away. Remember this when Marvel & DC start demanding royalties or prohibiting artists from selling merch or artwork at conventions.

  33. fake name = no brain

  34. Hikaru says:

    The comics industry needs a union. I know it’s a long shot in hell but its way overdue.
    It needs to be done for artistic integrity and to give a voice to those that can’t afford to raise their own.

    Suing a man currently in financial ruin simply to “send a message” to other creators as some have said is a racket. Disney has proven time and time again that they don’t fuck around. They go for the jugular and they will do every thing they can to protect their interests.

  35. As the first reporter to cover Jerry Segal and Joe Shuster’s battle with DC in the mid-70s, I am elated to see how much support this case is getting. Maybe with the power of social networking, we can actually start a meaningful campaign to get real justice for the people who really did the work in our field. For too many years, many of these powerful corporations have really acted only by greed. Money seems to be their only God so perhaps if money can be taken away from them by the people, we can make real change. They can change their contracts and treat all creators fairly.

  36. I salute Steve Niles for spearheading this fund to help my friend Gary. I made my donation this morning. I wish it could have been more, but it’s been a few months since I had a paying gig.

    However, I would like to call on all comics creators who ever got paid for working on Ghost Rider comics to donate to this fund. L

    And, if you have a few bucks to spare after making that donation, give to the Hero Initiative.

    Comics people need to take care of our own.

  37. Richard Watson says:

    Here’s a handy tip. If you don’t want other peopple to own your characters publish your own comics.

    I’ve no sympathy for Friedrich or Kirby or anyone else who was too lazy to do the work for themselves so let Marvel, DC or whomever take all the risks and spend all the money. How dare they then turn around and ask for anything in return.

    You were adults, you had two choices, you took the easy way out. Now you have to live with it.

  38. Mario Boon says:

    @Richard Watson, here’s a handy tip for yourself: educate yourself first in this issue before making such moronic statements

  39. Maverickman874 says:

    Reading more about the case , it seems Friedrich argument and stance is a flimsy in the eyes of the law and it seems he wants to appeal this decision. Whoever is giving him legal advice seems to be a moron. If the guy is as destitute as people say, why waste money over legal proceedings anyway ?

  40. Every artist at every con this year should draw Ghost Rider, sell it and either give the money to Gary Friedrich or Hero. Let them try to sue EVERY artist. A real “I am Sparticus” moment.

  41. Maverickman874 says:

    @CitizenCliff

    Isn’t the issue here that he setup a company to sell Ghost Rider merchandise ? Correct me if I am wrong though.

    I don’t think Marvel/ Disney and DC sue every artist who sketches their properties at conventions or makes money through commissions. Also, Gary seems to claimed that he was the sole creator of Ghost Rider and that claim seems to be in dispute with both Roy Thomas and Mike Ploog who claim to be co-creators.

    Anyway I hope Gary is better off financially soon.

  42. Stazzy says:

    Fake Name wants you to be afraid, for Disney is a jealous god! Please, stop angering Disney or they’ll come for all of us!!!!

    You’d fit right in with the Vichy government Fakey! Also, your grasp of what goes on in the creative world lacks considerably.

  43. Secret Identity says:

    @Maverickman874 Most cases like this are done on contingency. Meaning the plaintiff pays nothing unless plaintiff wins.

  44. @ Patrick McEvoy
    “How can people claim to love SUPERHERO comics, and then have the callous, cruel feelings towards the creators of those comics that I read here?”

    Well, I think you just hit the nail on the head. The people running companies like Marvel and Disney don’t love superhero comics, or comics in general. THEY LOVE MONEY. And the people running the company in the 1970s aren’t the same people running the company in 2012, so they don’t know Gary Friedrich from Adam, and they don’t care.

    Except to get the 17,000 bucks.

  45. Maverickman874 says:

    @Secret Identity

    I am not knowledgeable about legal matters at all but doesn’t it also imply that if there is ruling in favor of the plaintiff then the lawyers/ legal firm get a cut of the settlement or any monetary reward. Isn’t it more beneficial to the lawyers to be getting a contingency fee ?

    Mr Friedrich’s case seems to be on very shaky grounds because (and correct me if I am wrong) he claims Marvel never filed the right paperwork to retain the copyright for GR. He seems to be engaged in a legal battle with a whole host of companies. Any protracted legal battle where the ruling is highly likely to be against him seems counter intuitive to his own physical and financial well being.

  46. Matthew Southworth says:

    @rich–“The people running companies like Marvel and Disney don’t love superhero comics, or comics in general. THEY LOVE MONEY.”

    Agreed, except I’d differ with the use of the word “people”. The film THE CORPORATION (which I highly recommend) makes the point that a corporation, which is a legal term of art that defines a group as a “person”, has one legal reason to exist–to make money for its shareholders. That its function is amoral–its only reason is to make money for shareholders.

    And so I agree that corporations don’t give a shit about art or entertainment or being on the right side of a moral issue. But to expect a corporation to ever make a moral decision (right or wrong) is foolish given its design.

    We’ve all been encouraged (by marketers) to have brand loyalty–Coke or Pepsi, Nike or Adidas, Marvel or DC?–and it’s only been fairly recently I’ve learned what a sucker I was for ever believing in that idea.

  47. @ Matt: “We’ve all been encouraged (by marketers) to have brand loyalty … and it’s only been fairly recently I’ve learned what a sucker I was for ever believing in that idea.”

    Well said.

    Also, when I say “the people running the companies,” naturally I’m not refering to the editors, editor-in-chiefs, etc. The so-called humans “running the company” are the people who couldn’t tell an issue of GHOST RIDER apart from a pineapple or a stereo system. To them, their product is a spread-sheet and an accounting system.

    On the other hand, if the company made a morally correct decision, look at all the money that would SAVE. Instead of writing a check for a cool million to Gary, they probably spent five times that on lawyers to fight him. That $17,000 they want in return won’t even cover the lunches that the attorneys charged to their expense accounts.

  48. Gary has been a close friend since the mid- to late ’60s when I worked at Magazine Management, which at the time owned Marvel. He would frequently share with me his idea for the motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider even before its first appearance in a Marvel comic. There is certainly no doubt in my mind that he is the “creator.” Sure, Mike Ploog was the more-than-capable artist, and I’m equally sure the multi-talented Roy Thomas had a hand in editing and helping to further develop later storylines, but for the skeptic here who said he’s never seen a “shred of evidence” that Gary was the creator need only hunt down a copy of Marvel Spotlight #5 in which it clearly states on the opening splash page that it was “Conceived and Written” by Gary Friedrich. Gary, like so many before him, has been treated badly. Some of the criticism recorded here is unjust, obviously written by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Gary deserves all the support we can give him, both morally and monetarily.

  49. Wraith (AKA Blade X) says:

    If people are so concerned about making sure older creators are taken care of and properly compensated for creating,developing ,and revamping characters and concepts under work for hire contracts, they should forget about all of these well intentioned charity organizations and take this news to the mainstream news media and shame/embarrass the companies into providing some health benefits and reasonable lifetime payments for these creators.

  50. If people want to make sure older creators are taken care of, forgetting about getting them financial assistance when they need it seems like a bad approach. If people want to take it to the news media and shame the publishers, they don’t have to abandon fundraising to do it; they can presumably do both.

    But the argument “Don’t give money; try to shame someone else who doesn’t want to give money into doing it” seems to have a fatal flaw in it, and it’s in the first three words.

  51. Joe Lawler says:

    Was it Tom Spurgeon who said that no other industry so lives its Colonel Parkers and so distrusts its Elvis Presleys?

  52. Wraith (AKA Blade X) says:

    If people want to make sure older creators are taken care of, forgetting about getting them financial assistance when they need it seems like a bad approach. If people want to take it to the news media and shame the publishers, they don’t have to abandon fundraising to do it; they can presumably do both.

    But the argument “Don’t give money; try to shame someone else who doesn’t want to give money into doing it” seems to have a fatal flaw in it, and it’s in the first three words.

    ________________________

    Good point Kurt. They could (and should) do both. It just seems to me that there’s more people giving money and less people going to the mainstream news media and talking about how financially bad many older creators have it.

  53. Jason Wood says:

    The hypocrisy in this matter overwhelms me. Especially from some of the creators who profess to be so passionate about creator ownership and the evils of piracy.

    Gary was selling an image of Mike Ploogs art!!! It’s not even analagous to the artists who draw licensed characters in their own image at Artist Alley.

    I guess violating court upheld ownership rights is a-ok so long as its a big corporation getting screwed? I’m mortified at the hypocrisy of some of you, shameful really.

  54. Jason Wood says:

    Rich said “On the other hand, if the company made a morally correct decision, look at all the money that would SAVE. Instead of writing a check for a cool million to Gary, they probably spent five times that on lawyers to fight him. That $17,000 they want in return won’t even cover the lunches that the attorneys charged to their expense accounts.”

    ———————————–

    If Marvel wrote Gary a check for a “cool million”, it would’ve set precedent for the entire work for hire concept being challenged. Why would a company built on the valued of its intellectual property (largely defined as a catalog of owned characters) risk such a thing when, in fact, they were completely in the legal right here in the first place?

  55. Frankly this seems more like Disney’s doing than Marvel. Disney is know to be hyper protective of their Copyrights and kind of reminds me of how the music industry mad example of people who downloaded pirated music. still dickish none the less.

  56. Maverickman874 says:

    @ Jason Wood

    “Gary was selling an image of Mike Ploogs art!!! It’s not even analagous to the artists who draw licensed characters in their own image at Artist Alley.”

    Yeah, I have seen pictures where Mr Friedrich is selling prints but no one seems to explain if that is promoted by Marvel /DC. It constantly says he was selling “merchandise”, which can mean a lot of things. Did he knowingly violate copyright law ?

    Mr Friedrich claim that he is the sole creator is contentious at best.

    The whole situation is sad because I believe here we have an old man whose only source of income in his old age, when is no longer able to work, is to associate himself with his most popular creation. My personal opinion is that creators/ co-creators should see so me financial reward for the success of their creations (even if not legally obligated as it is morally the right thing to do). I don’t endorse Gary’s legal case against Marvel ( as it seems he was intending to sue Marvel for complete copyright if the property ever made successful transition to more mass market media as far back as 2001. I don’t fault him for seeing it as his ticket to a worry free retirement, if he saw it that way)but the man should at the least seen some monetary compensation. I wish Marvel sat down with him before it ever went to court. Of course the only option they might have has was to defend it because of Gary’s claims who might have been less forthcoming about a settlement.

  57. Earth-2 Chad says:

    If Marvel wrote Gary a check for a “cool million”, it would’ve set precedent for the entire work for hire concept being challenged. Why would a company built on the valued of its intellectual property (largely defined as a catalog of owned characters) risk such a thing when, in fact, they were completely in the legal right here in the first place?

    I doubt it was a million in any of the cases in which it applied, but a while ago, didn’t DC retroactively start paying royalties to past creators on things they’d created whenever they got exploited in other media? I seem to remember Len Wein’s wife making the statement that he’d earned more from creating Lucius Fox than he ever had from Wolverine. Which may be legal, but it’s crazy.

  58. Sean Murphy says:

    I think it is important to separate the legal and ethical issues. Legally, Mr. Friedrich brought up a suit because, while he acknowledged in his testimony he gave due deliberation in signing the rights away, he believed he held the rights to non-comic books works (such as movies). Marvel countersued which required them to come up with some sort of damages… otherwise the suit is frivolous.

    Where one stands ethically depends on whether you believe that creators were cohersed into signing the paycheck endorsements and/or the contracts in the late 1970s or whether you believe that the contracts likely seemed fair at the time given the value of comics. I tend to fall on the side of believing that, whatever their legal rights, companies should reward creators when their creations generate a big cashflow.

    I think we can all agree that fans should show their gratitude for all those creators who toiled on and are now financially pinched. I personally give to Heroes Initiative. If every fan gave up one comic a month and donated the money to that group, it would go a long way to helping all of the creators, not just those few that get in the spotlight every time a lawsuit pops up. Just my 2 cents… I could be wrong.

  59. Friedrich selling prints of Mike Ploog’s art =/= Adam Hughes selling “expensive convention sketches.”

    And boycotting Marvel Comics is going to hurt and take money out of the pockets of current creators — who have absolutely nothing to do with the legal decision either way — much more than it will Marvel corporate.

    But ok.

  60. David S says:

    Doesn’t Stan Lee sign thousands of comic book covers every year that Jack Kirby created?
    Maybe its time we only support current creators who work on their own books independently.
    Gary Friedrich did not have one tenth as many resources as todays comic writers do yet they still glom on to these huge corporations like Marvel and DC.
    My money is going to Gary. Screw Marvel.

  61. “And boycotting Marvel Comics is going to hurt and take money out of the pockets of current creators — who have absolutely nothing to do with the legal decision either way — much more than it will Marvel corporate.”

    – first, by continuing to work at a place they know is doing this to older creators, they are, in some small way, endorsing what the company does.

    – second, do you have SOME other way we readers can get our point across to those at Marvel/Disney who do wrong to older creators and who only seem to care about money? If you know of a way we can only take money out of THEIR pockets, feel free to chime in with it.

    – third, of course if everyone throws up their hands and says, “well, we can’t make any difference or effect change, so we might as well not try, and just go see these movies and buy these comics,” of course this action will have no effect. But if enough people DO make the effort, something good can happen. To some degree, that is what helped Siegel and Shuster.

    But ok.

  62. Jason Wood says:

    Since we’re now so hellbent on making this about some moral right vs. wrong, since the legal case was so overwhelmingly in favor of Marvel’s legal position — let’s ask ourselves the following hard questions. Let’s take a real look into the mirror.

    1) All those creators and fans desperate to help Gary out now, where were you the last 30 years? He couldn’t get a job in comics for 30 years, 1977 was his last regular gig

    2) Where were all the fans these years in Artist’s Alley? I’ve been to a ton of shows, and spend most of my time in Artist’s Alley. If we’re being real, then let’s acknowledge that Gary’s table is generally devoid of traffic. These same people crying out in effigy right now were all too happy to pass him, and his “Creator of Ghost Rider” signs at conventions for years and years

    3) There seems to be some consideration being paid to Gary’s financial situation as a reason to support him. But have we asked ourselves why he’s destitute? This isn’t a case of a man who’s been working for hire for ages and never got a fair shake. This is a man that has tried to make a living off the creation of one character, more than 30 years ago, and has not worked in the industry for generations. What’s he been doing otherwise to support himself?

    4) Creators have always known that selling t-shirts, prints, and other works that are reproduced was illegal, and the fact that Marvel and DC frequently turn a blind eye is no reason for them to think it becomes OK. And those fear mongers arguing this will mean the end of Artists Alley are — just that — fear mongers. Producing one of a kind original pieces is NOT at issue here, nor has Marvel contended otherwise.

  63. Dildo T. Baggins says:

    I love how all the Marvel fan-boys are trying their best to spin this so their beloved money guzzling corporation doesn’t come out looking bad. I wager these are the same brainless trolls who shout “DC Sucks” and “Marvel RULES” while meticulously detailing how Spider-Man would totally PWN Superman in a fight. What? Afraid you’re going to lose your Internet muscles on comic book forums now? Trying to have a come back when a DC fan boy throws this into your face?

    Shove it up your nose nerds, this isn’t about metaphorical willy waving here. This is about a soulless company who is willing to condemn an artist who gave them a character they use to make millions off of; this is about a man’s life.

  64. Jason Wood says:

    @Dildo Baggins…not sure how this became a Marvel vs. DC thing. Who’s made that contention?

  65. Torsten Adair says:

    “You were adults, you had two choices, you took the easy way out.”

    Sign the contract printed on the back of the check, or you don’t get paid. (Siegel and Shuster)
    Sign this retroactive contract stating you worked for hire, or you don’t get your original art back. (Kirby)
    Sign this retroactive contract, or you’ll never work for us again. (Friedrich)

    Here’s a simple question to ask Marvel:
    why are there no creator credits on ANY Marvel title?

    As for Marvel and Disney, I’m certain they have a full-time legal department on salary. It doesn’t cost them much to argue a case.

  66. Just posting a little comment to indicate how disappointed I am in the vile nature of some of the comments. Shame on you and I don’t even need to mention names–they know who they are.

  67. I am too broke to help, though I hope to give something next month, so I am putting forward the idea that fanboys show their disapproval by waiting for the DVD for the upcoming Ghost Rider sequel, and by waiting until at least the second week to see the Avengers movie. I know asking them to wait for the DVD for that one is perhaps hoping for too much.

    Even if both movies prove to be financial successes, a poor opening weekend, and poor need only mean poorer than expected, would certainly get Marvel Entertainment’s attention.

    The obligatory facebook group page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/364550863564669/

  68. joe.distort says:

    ack, i posted a long diatribe that somehow got eaten by the comment robots. whatever.

    ive dropped the two marvel books i still read.

    i donated my most recent ebay sale of a stack of marvel books. im selling more and will be donating more (search for ‘ghost rider benefit’ if you care)

    just because something is legal doesnt mean its right, and this whole thing is disgusting. corporate comics culture has gotten reprehensible, and this was the straw that broke THIS camels back.

  69. For the record:
    When Gary created Ghost Rider with Mike Ploog assigned as the artist there were NO CONTRACTS stipulating that everything was owed by the corporation.

    1) The whole legal term WORK-FOR-HIRE was devised after Gary created the character in August 1972

    2) The character was devised for PRINT publications NOT mega million dollar movies

    3) Roy Thomas does not claim to have come up with the idea, and he certainly didn’t RIDE A MOTORCYCLE back then either

    4) When Marvel started referring to their freelancers as “work-for-hire” they did so by stamping the backs of checks. No warning…either don’t sign or don’t get paid (i think this was 1975). This has been deem patently illegal in courts since then.

    5) Gary came up with the original visual (if I’m not mistaken)

    6) Gary stopped working for Marvel in 1975 to go work with Martin Goodman (former publisher of Marvel) for a partial ownership deal of creations at ATLAS / SEABOARD publications. So when he was offered a better situation he immediately jumped at it. He knew even then how corrupt the system had become.

    So to my fellow comics readers who think he “signed away the rights with a standard contract”…simply put that didn’t 3exist back then. Gary is a VERY intelligent man, he worked with the hand he was dealt. there is NOTHING WRONG with wanting a piece of something you created out of whole cloth, especially after it’s achieved the level of mega budget movie status.

    This is a DISNEY / MARVEL beat-down.
    All of you creators reading this take note. THIS IS WHAT YOUR FUTURE WILL BE IF YOU DON’T PLAY BY DISNEY’s RULES.

  70. Maverickman874 says:

    @Dildo

    Wtf are you on about?

  71. Jason Wood, please do some research into Mr. Friedrich’s situation before you cast aspersions on the guy and “what he’s done.”

    As to the rant about “where were you fans,” some of us only now heard about this situation.

  72. Jason Woods: “1) All those creators and fans desperate to help Gary out now, where were you the last 30 years? He couldn’t get a job in comics for 30 years, 1977 was his last regular gig”

    Are you serious? How would most people have known what Mr. Friedrich (I’m not close enough to the man to call him “Gary” as you apparently are) was up to the past 30 years?

    Furthermore, so what? Are you opposed to someone giving a few bucks to Mr. Friedrich right now (as opposed to sometime in the past 30 years)? If so, why?

  73. fake name says:

    Fanboys can fawn all they want over Friedrich but the fact is he found himself in a tough financial situation so decided to make a $100,000 nuisance out of himself over freelance work he did 35 years ago and assumed they would just pay him to get them out of his hair. He was wrong and the judge made an example out of him. Ty Templeton sums it up Friedrich and the ridiculousness of the fanboy man-children on his blog in a comic strip. http://tytempletonart.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/now-it-makes-sense-revised.jpg

  74. Ty Templeman sure showed him! Besides Friedrich never created anything as good as the legends Templeman has come up with!

Speak Your Mind

*