Some links about creator rights issues this week, with my usual historical biases:
Item! Toronto comics scholar Sean Rogers reviews the re-issue of the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely Flex Metallo comic book, with some added thoughts on Morrison’s recent unsympathetic utterings on Siegel and Shuster. It’s a great review, not least because it gets at aspects of the Morrison style that are often hard to articulate but are nonetheless disturbing (faux-profundity, unexploded idea bombs).
Item! Canadian comic book writers Anthony Del Col (Kill Shakespeare) and Ray Fawkes (One Soul) are quoted in this newspaper article about the unsung creators of popular superheroes, like JAck Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Siegel and Shuster. Quoth Fawkes: “The world of superheroes tends to complicate the question of rightful recognition because, in most cases, the creation of the characters was part of a work-for-hire contract,” says Toronto artist and writer Ray Fawkes, creator of the Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel One Soul.
“Many of the characters have subsequently been through dozens–possibly even hundreds–of writer-artist teams, who have built a legacy of reinterpretation and re-imagination around them,” says Fawkes, who has done work for Marvel, DC and a range of smaller publishers. “I spotted nods to stories by over a dozen comic book creators in The Dark Knight Rises.”
Item! Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich has launched his appeal against Marvel. He lost the recent lawsuit in which he claimed ownership of the character, after which Marvel famously asked the court to force Friedrich to pay for his use of the character on prints he sold at conventions. Comics fans heroically came to Friedrich’s aid with donations. I hope something similar happens this time around. Daniel Best posts the entire legal document: “This case involves, inter alia, the renewal term copyrights covering a comic book which first introduced the “Ghost Rider” character and origin story. The undisputed facts as set forth below and before the District Court establish Friedrich conceived the Ghost Rider characters and origin story long before that comic book existed, that it was Friedrich’s idea to produce the comic book, and that he was the motivating force behind the creation of the comic book that became known as Marvel Spotlight 5.”
Item! There is a great Jack Kirby interview at the Kirby Museum from Kirby’s late-80s angry phase, when he was battling to get his artwork back from Marvel. Select quote: “There’s a lot of guys that might feel (laughter)… My own son feels I’m uncool but my grandson loves me. Being cool or uncool is a generational thing. But as a personal thing, I really love everybody in sight. I’d love to see Stan Lee at peace with himself. I mean, really at peace with himself. Not money-wise, not ambition-wise, not being driven–whatever drives him. But I’d like to see him at peace as a human being.”