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#444353 - 12/28/99 04:51 PM Hellblazer's creators
The Visitor Offline
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Registered: 09/02/99
Posts: 389
Loc: SA,TX USA
I don't read the ongoing Hellblazer series--in fact, as I said on another thread, I wasn't even aware that the book was still being published.

But I've been enjoying the character as I've re-read the old Swamp Thing comics this past month.

One thing that suprised me, though, was that when I did actually see a new issue of the book, there was no acknowledgement of those who created him. What's the deal? I thought that at least that much acknowlegement was getting to be standard practice.

Can we assume from the absence of propper credit that those same creators are also not seeing a penny from the ongoing book?

With creator's recent attempts to reclaim Superman and Captain America, I am starting to think it is time for some newer and more radical copyright laws that can allow people to get their creations back before they are 80.

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#444354 - 12/28/99 06:28 PM Re: Hellblazer's creators
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
I'm not sure why they aren't listed in the books, Visitor, but HELLBLAZER's "official" creators are Jaimie Delano, Steve Bissette and John Totleben. I say "official" because Alan Moore obviously created the "writing half" of John Constantine and I pencilled his first appearance as a character in SWAMP THING #38. Alan passed on his part of the ownership to Jaimie as a gift when he Jaimie started the HELLBLAZER title and I decided to step away and do the same for Steve Bissette (who actually did a lot more work on developing the character than I ever did. I only pencilled that first issue as a fill-in fluke.)

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#444355 - 12/28/99 10:59 PM Re: Hellblazer's creators
The Visitor Offline
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Registered: 09/02/99
Posts: 389
Loc: SA,TX USA
That's what I thought, Rick. Your and Alan's generosity to your friends stands in stark contrast to DC's tightness.

Still, it seems to me that someone--whether it be you two or your designated "heirs"--should be collecting a check every time that Sting-looking limey appears in a comic.

And it certainly wouldn't kill Time-Warner to do so. Nor would it kill them to publish your long-lost Swamp Thing story as a one-shot or some kind of elseworlds deal or something.

I mean, with all the money ABC is making them right now, you'd think they'd want to bend over backwards to see to it that Alan and his colleagues are comfortable. I know that you, at the present time, are not; so we won't be seeing your work on Greyshirt after #12.

This is a shame, as Greyshirt is great. But it is understandable. It would be so easy for DC to just make a gesture or two. And it is frustrating to realize that they probably won't. Even in the upcoming jubilee year.

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#444356 - 12/29/99 09:05 AM Re: Hellblazer's creators
Stuart Moore Offline
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Registered: 07/26/99
Posts: 201
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Steve Bissette can post in more detail on this if he wants, but I think this is the wrong issue to beat up on DC for.

The lack of a creator credit for Constantine is exactly because of the complicated nature of the character's creation, some of which is detailed by Rick above. It does NOT correspond to a lack of payment to the creators relative to, say, the creators of Impulse. I can't remember the exact royalty terms of this kind of equity deal (a character created within the confines of a work-for-hire comic, spun off into his own book), and Constantine's definitely a weird case -- it's not my place to get into the specifics of it. But it's not one I've heard the creators complain about much (and they're pretty vocal with objections to DC policies!).

Not to defend my former employer too much, but...DC as a company is so bad at defending itself against any attacks that not many people know about its work-for-hire equity deals. If you create a character within a work-for-hire book (Constantine, or Steel, or Impulse), you're entitled to a percentage of spinoff revenues in perpetuity. It only applies to modern (Jenette-Kahn-era) creations; it doesn't apply in certain team-up situations; and it doesn't give the creators any control over their creation. But it's been a nice source of passive income for a number of people.

Geez, I've got to beat up on DC a little after that, or I'll lose all my self-respect (and probably be kicked off this board). Their whole publishing plan makes absolutely no sense to me; they're locked into an outmoded model of publishing that will only make them more desperate as time goes by. (How's that?)

Happy New Year everyone...

--Stuart
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#444357 - 12/29/99 09:50 AM Re: Hellblazer's creators
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Stuart,
That's great!!! We want MORE!!!

Seriously, I'm sure Steve Bissette will jump in at some point and clarify things better, but I believe he and John Totleben have received royalties on the character since issue #1 of Hellblazer. As I understand it, once sales dipped below a certain number (40,000?) those royalties based on comics sales stopped, but when the character was used to create a statue which sold well, they got surprise checks in the mail. I know there has been talk for years about a HELLBLAZER film, and I suspect they'll see something from that if it happens.

As to why there names aren't on the book, I dunno!

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Rick Veitch
Invites You To Read THE DAILY RARE BIT FIENDS
updated every day along with news of the world's most popular artform!
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#444358 - 12/29/99 11:01 AM Re: Hellblazer's creators
David Watkins Offline
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Registered: 09/01/99
Posts: 128
Loc: Mpls, MN, USA
>>Their whole publishing plan makes absolutely no sense to me; they're locked into an outmoded model of publishing that will only make them more desperate as time goes by. (How's that?)<<<

That'll do for now. Heh, heh, heh. Can't wait for Hawkman 2000.

Say, how's your new project going?


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#444359 - 12/29/99 03:25 PM Re: Hellblazer's creators
Stephen R Bissette Offline
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Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Sorry, I haven't been on the boards much of late -- so I missed this thread until this afternoon.

Stuart and Rick are right -- and this IS the wrong issue to beat up DC over. There are plenty of others worthy of attention.

Hey, DC has been VERY honorable with John and I on HELLBLAZER. We HAVE received royalties from the beginning, including percentages of the "sculpture" and more.

In fact, we've earned more off HELLBLAZER than ST ever has or will pay in royalties (reprint page rates excluded, mind you).

Now, the NEGOTIATIONS for that percentage is another story... but I won't go into it here, except to say I only got involved because John asked me to get involved when DC's legal department of that time tried to pull a fast one. "Good cop, bad cop" is a great negotiating tactic when you're a team in full agreement on the issues and specifics involved. We got what was ours, fair and square.

As I've said elsewhere before, DC has honored the royalty aspects of every contract I've ever had with them. Unlike Dark Horse and others, every royalty due arrives when it's due, without a hitch that John or I can see.

As for the credits, well, I don't know what that's all about. The original credentials were tied up in Rick's ST #88 fendango and DC's ill will toward Rick over that affair.

Let me add (and Rick will confirm) that Rick, however, has received royalties due on the issues of ST he pencilled when reprints exist. I also cut Rick a personal check out of my share on the specific issues ST reprinted that he helped me on (including backgrounds and a couple pages of layouts for the revelatory #21, the Arcane-as-fly sequence in the Demon issues, and others; when possible, John and I have credited Rick for this work, and will continue to).

John, Rick, and I keep this pretty above-board between us, and will continue to do so in the future as needed.

[This message has been edited by Stephen R Bissette (edited 12-29-1999).]

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#444360 - 12/30/99 09:46 AM Re: Hellblazer's creators
Stuart Moore Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/99
Posts: 201
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Steve: Thanks for clarifying. I can imagine you and John make a pretty strong good cop/bad cop team! I could see, when I started at DC in 1990, that a lot of procedures had been handled on the fly for a long time, and it sounds like you guys set some good precedents for a lot of freelancers by negotiating aggressively. Things are a lot more orderly at DC now (which usually means fairer, but can mean more rigid, depending on where you stand).

David: Thanks for asking about my new company. It's coming along nicely; I always hate to announce things prematurely (or promise things I can't deliver), so I'm not saying much yet. But I hope to have an announcement sometime soon.

Happy New Year everyone...

--Stuart
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#444361 - 12/30/99 02:13 PM Re: Hellblazer's creators
Mark Badger Offline
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Registered: 07/15/99
Posts: 90
Loc: oaklnd, ca usa
>>Thanks for asking about my new company. It's coming along nicely; I
always hate to announce things prematurely (or promise things I can't deliver), so
I'm not saying much yet. But I hope to have an announcement sometime soon.


SOON??? really now? this is kinda interesting news...

heh heh heh

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#444362 - 12/31/99 10:43 AM Re: Hellblazer's creators
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Let me just point out that crediting Delano, et al, with being the creators of Hellblazer really would be a bad idea. While they may be the "creators" in some legal fiction that exists between DC, them, and the kindly creators of John Constantine, an awful lot of people know where JC first appeared. Unless you continually explain the "transfer" of creatorship, people are going to see it as a suspicious stripping of the credits away from Constantine's original creators... a particularly problematic situation because dealings between DC and those creators haven't always been smooth sailing.

Sure, one could claim that Delano et al created "Hellblazer", the series... but that would be kind of like crediting someone besides Lee & Ditko as creators of _The Spectactular Spiderman_.

(Of course, there will always be some wag suggesting the JC credit should go to Michael Moorcock, Sting, and whoever wrote Brimstone & Treacle.)

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