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#595783 - 02/09/12 02:48 AM Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel?
Alexander Ness Offline
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Hey comic book industry friends and fans, send me your opinion on this http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/gary-friedrich-enterprises-llc-et-al-v.html to be considered for use at http://Poplitiko.blogspot.com . I am doing a piece about the case, and what it might mean for comics in general. Hit me at Alexanderness63@gmail.com

and to begin with
http://poplitiko.blogspot.com/2012/02/marvel-comics-ghost-rider-and-gary.html

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#595784 - 02/09/12 03:51 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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I hadn't followed this case at all. Friedrich was foolish to pursue it, given we already had the example of Marv Wolfman trying to get a piece of Blade. But how do they figure Friedrich owes Marvel $17K for copyright infringement? Selling GR stuff at conventions or something?
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#595785 - 02/09/12 04:50 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Alexander Ness Offline
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It is basically a shot to his drawers to say "Next"!?

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#595786 - 02/09/12 10:23 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
MBunge Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Selling GR stuff at conventions or something?


That's pretty much as I understand it. Somebody at Marvel obviously realized that as they try and exploit more and more of their character library, they faced the possibility of more and more of these kind of lawsuits. It's pretty much a warning to the creator community that the days of Artist's Alley and selling unauthorized sketches at conventions may come to an end if they make too much of a fuss.

Mike

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#595787 - 02/09/12 12:38 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Joe Lee Offline
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Does Nick Cage know about this?

We should all tweet him.

Being a comic fan he wouldn't want to be the Hollywood guy that was part of something like this. He has enough clout to get a Ghost Rider sequel made, despite all the reasons not to. He could maybe cut the guy a check or help get the message out, get some serious good guy cred for himself while he's at it.

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#595795 - 02/09/12 10:22 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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http://poplitiko.blogspot.com/2012/02/gary-friedrich-ghost-rider-and-marvel.html

Mike Grell, Stephen Bissette and Chuck Dixon give their views on the situation.

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#595796 - 02/10/12 12:56 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Joe Lee Offline
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This article below makes the prediction that Marvel won't sue everybody for "artist alley" sketches, etc., they'll save it as a threat. They'll hold it in reserve using Friedrich as an example, a message to anyone who might be thinking to claim ownership in the future. The message being that their will be a price to your impudence.

It's a smart move right out of The Art of War. The lawyers are making an example of Friedrich, they are giving a clear order and showing the punishment for not following them.

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/22111.html

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#595798 - 02/10/12 01:25 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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Maybe there's an address where 17,000 comic book fans could send Gary Friedrich $1 checks and write "MARVEL KISS MY ASS" where the work-for-hire contract would normally go on Marvel checks?

And if there happens to be more than 17,000 checks Gary could keep the extra?

Maybe call it the Ghost Writer Fund?

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#595800 - 02/10/12 01:30 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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I don't think Marvel thought through all the fall out possibilities. It'd been easier to pay Friedrich 100k and say thanks than do all this and get a black eye from the bad press.

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#595801 - 02/10/12 01:52 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Jimbo Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Maybe there's an address where 17,000 comic book fans could send Gary Friedrich $1 checks and write "MARVEL KISS MY ASS" where the work-for-hire contract would normally go on Marvel checks?

And if there happens to be more than 17,000 checks Gary could keep the extra?

Maybe call it the Ghost Writer Fund?


If you set it up, I'll donate.
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#595802 - 02/10/12 01:58 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Jimbo]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Just find Friedrich's email address and Paypal him.
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#595804 - 02/10/12 02:41 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Joe Lee Offline
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Originally Posted By: Alexander Ness
I don't think Marvel thought through all the fall out possibilities. It'd been easier to pay Friedrich 100k and say thanks than do all this and get a black eye from the bad press.
Yeah, but the lawyers are worried that action would encourage more lawsuits. By stomping on a guy they discourage anyone from even thinking about it.

The best leverage here is going after the Hollywood connection, bad press could mean low box office and who is most invested in this film...

http://bcool.bz/zarfXf


Edited by Joe Lee (02/10/12 02:43 AM)

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#595805 - 02/10/12 02:44 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Jimbo]
Joe Lee Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jimbo
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Maybe there's an address where 17,000 comic book fans could send Gary Friedrich $1 checks and write "MARVEL KISS MY ASS" where the work-for-hire contract would normally go on Marvel checks?

And if there happens to be more than 17,000 checks Gary could keep the extra?

Maybe call it the Ghost Writer Fund?


If you set it up, I'll donate.
Some press guy like Ness would need to ask Mr Friedrich where he would like the checks sent, and I was thinking Ness' site, would be an appropriate host, since they are already doing some nice coverage of the story, and they get decent traffic...

http://poplitiko.blogspot.com

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#595806 - 02/10/12 03:06 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Thanks for the plug, but I think the best people to check into this would be Daniel Best, http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/ He has been on top of this since the very beginning. Also, I've been told that there is going to be some sort of fund raising event. Our friend Steve Bissette who has been on Comicon boards now and then knows more there.
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#595808 - 02/10/12 09:37 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Joe Lee Offline
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Went and looked up the answer straight from the source.

Marvel Spotlight #5, pg1...
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qZK742rc1hc/SQi0f4Y4HiI/AAAAAAAACnY/xmPzvTLKp4Q/s400/Marvel+Spotlight+005-02.jpg

Originally Posted By: The credit box reads:

Edited by: Stan Lee
Conceived and Written by: Gary Friedrich
Drawn by: Mike Ploog


How does it not mean anything in court that in Marvel's own published issue with the character's first appearance, it credits ONLY one guy with "Conceiver"?

How big was the fine print on the checks?

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#595809 - 02/10/12 09:52 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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zactly.

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#595810 - 02/10/12 10:08 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
MBunge Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Lee

How does it not mean anything in court that in Marvel's own published issue with the character's first appearance, it credits ONLY one guy with "Conceiver"?


So, you're saying Stan Lee's middle name is legally "The Man"?

Mike

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#595811 - 02/10/12 10:19 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Joe Lee Offline
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Wouldn't that be a "common-law moniker?" wink

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#595812 - 02/10/12 10:28 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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And a nickname like "Doc" is a do-no-harm moniker. grin

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#595813 - 02/10/12 10:31 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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And Jack "KING" Kirby, was a Monarcher. whistle

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#595821 - 02/10/12 04:54 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Lawson Offline
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Definitely asshole behavior by Marvel/Disney.

And I predict it costs them almost nothing in lost sales. A few enraged fans will grumble. But nearly everyone who planned to buy a Marvel comic or see the new Spider-Man and Avengers movies and buy the T-shirts will go right ahead and do it, anyway.

Folks talk boycott all the time.

Then they hand over their money.

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#595826 - 02/10/12 06:55 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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Hey, y'all. I've been meaning to get back here, but I saw this on another site and just had to come post.

How about if... someone indulged in a little civil disobedience? A little disobedience of the law for a good purpose?

I read that John Byrne is willing to write, pencil, ink, and letter a custom comic for $20K. I'm assuming you pick the characters, and he'll give you what you want, original art and all.

He's taking the view that (as long as you don't try to print it, I'm assuming) it's okay for him to sell art and story based on Disney properties.

Well, what if... some people... hypothetically... started a Kickstarter-type funding vehicle to pay out-of-work creators, like Friedrich, to create new Marvel material. An underground Marvel.

So that these hypothetical people weren't just boycotting Marvel, they were creating an alternative.
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#595829 - 02/10/12 07:41 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Charles Reece Offline
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Well, Ghost Rider wasn't particularly good to begin with. I don't really want to donate for more of it.
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#595830 - 02/10/12 09:23 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Charles Reece]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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After thinking about this over a nice steak dinner, I wanted to expand on something, not necessarily illegal.

What about a Kickstarter-type web-page for proposed comics, showing a cover, a creative team, and listing an amount that needs to be raised for the comic to get made. Basically, the amount would be the creative costs plus a cut for the business.

The "donations" would be a certain amount. For a higher level of donation, you get a page of original art.

The amount would need to be raised in a certain amount of time, or it doesn't happen. Once the financing goal is made, the creative team has two months to do the book (based on a 20 page comic) or everyone gets a refund. When the book is done, everyone gets a PDF of the comic.

I don't think piracy would matter if the creators get paid first. Sharing of PDF's could just be considered promotion.

Then, a print copy could be solicited in Previews. The art's paid for. There could be a way for the original "investors" to get a free copy of this, I'm sure.

I'm seeing it with high profile creators, people who could attract the sales based on their reputation. A page of proposed stories by Art Adams, Paul Smith, Steve Rude. The writer would probably have to do stories on spec, then the artist (and colorist) would do a cover. Other than that, the rest of the work is only done when the money's in the bank.

It would be a great way to do illegal Marvel and DC comics, but I think this could work for legitimate stories, too.
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#595835 - 02/11/12 10:42 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
MightyQuin Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Maybe there's an address where 17,000 comic book fans could send Gary Friedrich $1 checks and write "MARVEL KISS MY ASS" where the work-for-hire contract would normally go on Marvel checks?

And if there happens to be more than 17,000 checks Gary could keep the extra?

Maybe call it the Ghost Writer Fund?


From Joe Lee's mouth to God's ears or at least Steve Niles! Niles has set up an authorized donation site for Friedrich here: http://www.steveniles.com/gary.html

There really seems to be a substantial fandom mobilization at work.

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#595836 - 02/11/12 12:09 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MightyQuin]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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I've been non-stop facebooking and sharing, copy/pasting every link or post made by independent creator or professional artist on this. I've got lots of Steve Bissette's angry posts as well. Alex Ness is on my friends list and probably has seen the response as I have. I've been shouting "Occupy the Mouse", OTM. Lots of people are pissed about this...but like OWS, everyone's a bit scattered with what they want to do to fight this. Steve Niles already commented that his charity isn't about fighting anything just helping out Friedrich. I assume he still wants work, hahaha. Niles that is.

Others? Aren't worried about working for the House of Mouse and don't feel like remaining silent.
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#595837 - 02/11/12 12:46 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MightyQuin]
ChrisW Offline
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[after reading the first 'read this]
The contract states Marvel informed Friedrich that they only commission or purchse work on a work-for-hire basis and he signed it. Barring a good reason for waiting so long to sue them for nonpayment, he's lost Ghost Rider and unfortunately for him, this is just a nuisance suit.

On the issue of copyright renewal, a good case could be made for reclaiming the ownership of the original issues between Friedrich, Ploog and other credited contributors. The testimony on the creation of Ghost Rider was an incredible account of what went into (and, generally, always goes into) the creation of a comic book in one form or another.

And retroactively working the 50's western Ghost Rider into the intellectual property is something I don't have a clue how to answer. Marvel would have that, but how to divvy up the pieces?

[reading the rest]
Yep. Friedrich can't claim any of the trademark or copyright, but I don't see that barring him from selling drawings, saying (without legal authority) that he created Ghost Rider, which he essentially did. Even the court recognized that.

The testimony looks like a good document to use for determining intellectual property rights in the 21st century with something as vague as the comic book superhero. Prime originator (clearly Friedrich), prime visual designer (Ploog, the stereotypical 'don't bother me/just a job' artist), verbal contributors (Roy Thomas) as well as others like Stan Lee who gave a small-scale description of what any comic-producing entity goes through then, now or in 1935.

But Friedrich sued them. He signed all the documents and didn't protect his rights then, and after this one character was making big bucks, he sued. Paying Marvel's legal costs isn't nice, but it is fair.
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#595841 - 02/11/12 01:46 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Carlton Donaghe

What about a Kickstarter-type web-page for proposed comics, showing a cover, a creative team, and listing an amount that needs to be raised for the comic to get made. Basically, the amount would be the creative costs plus a cut for the business.

The "donations" would be a certain amount. For a higher level of donation, you get a page of original art.
...

It would be a great way to do illegal Marvel and DC comics, but I think this could work for legitimate stories, too.


Hi Carlton, I'm pretty sure that Kickstarter has been used to finance the printing of a number of comics already. I don't know if it's a sustainable model in the long term, but it has certainly been a nice shot in the arm for a number of artistic projects that otherwise wouldn't have had access to startup capital or credit.

But that's an entirely separate issue from whether there is any way to do stories or art featuring Marvel/DC characters without the authorization of those companies. Friedrich's Ghost Rider prints flew under the radar for years, and Marvel did nothing about them until Friedrich's lawsuit gave them a motive to go after him punitively.

Friedrich's prints were done privately, but that didn't protect him from having to give an accounting of his income from them when the court demanded it. Likewise, comics funded through Kickstarter or any similar website would be vulnerable to lawsuits from Marvel and DC, with the added downside of there being electronic evidence of how much cash they've collected, which could be used against them in court.

So while I'm sympathetic to artists who want to sell their work outside of the big company plantations, I don't think there's any real way to guarantee their right to do so, if they are using corporate characters.

The Big Two have been willing to look the other way in the cases of convention Artists Alleys, even online commission sketches and artist's sketchbooks. They've granted permission for charity comics, like for the Hero Initiative and CBLDF. But they can clamp down at any time, as we have seen here with Friedrich. And I think the kind of unauthorized Kickstarter comics that you are proposing here would also cause them to unleash their legal hounds.

I wish they would leave Friedrich alone, and I wish they would pay him decent royalties for the use of the character he created. But the courts are on their side.

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#595842 - 02/11/12 01:52 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: ChrisW]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Originally Posted By: ChrisW
[after reading the first 'read this]
The contract states Marvel informed Friedrich that they only commission or purchse work on a work-for-hire basis and he signed it. Barring a good reason for waiting so long to sue them for nonpayment, he's lost Ghost Rider and unfortunately for him, this is just a nuisance suit.

On the issue of copyright renewal, a good case could be made for reclaiming the ownership of the original issues between Friedrich, Ploog and other credited contributors. The testimony on the creation of Ghost Rider was an incredible account of what went into (and, generally, always goes into) the creation of a comic book in one form or another.

And retroactively working the 50's western Ghost Rider into the intellectual property is something I don't have a clue how to answer. Marvel would have that, but how to divvy up the pieces?

[reading the rest]
Yep. Friedrich can't claim any of the trademark or copyright, but I don't see that barring him from selling drawings, saying (without legal authority) that he created Ghost Rider, which he essentially did. Even the court recognized that.

The testimony looks like a good document to use for determining intellectual property rights in the 21st century with something as vague as the comic book superhero. Prime originator (clearly Friedrich), prime visual designer (Ploog, the stereotypical 'don't bother me/just a job' artist), verbal contributors (Roy Thomas) as well as others like Stan Lee who gave a small-scale description of what any comic-producing entity goes through then, now or in 1935.

But Friedrich sued them. He signed all the documents and didn't protect his rights then, and after this one character was making big bucks, he sued. Paying Marvel's legal costs isn't nice, but it is fair.


BULL FUCKING SHIT IT IS!!! This shit was before the Copyright legal protection act of 1976 wasn't it? Fuck that noize man.
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#595844 - 02/11/12 02:30 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Maybe there's an address where 17,000 comic book fans could send Gary Friedrich $1 checks and write "MARVEL KISS MY ASS" where the work-for-hire contract would normally go on Marvel checks?

And if there happens to be more than 17,000 checks Gary could keep the extra?

Maybe call it the Ghost Writer Fund?


I like the way you think!

But think more plural.
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#595845 - 02/11/12 02:39 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: ChrisW]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Originally Posted By: ChrisW
[after reading the first 'read this]
The contract states Marvel informed Friedrich that they only commission or purchse work on a work-for-hire basis and he signed it. Barring a good reason for waiting so long to sue them for nonpayment, he's lost Ghost Rider and unfortunately for him, this is just a nuisance suit.


No, there were genuine questions of fact and law for the court to decide. The situation is not nearly as cut-and-dried as you describe it. It was not a "nuisance suit."

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#595847 - 02/11/12 03:06 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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The only fact I look at is the one where Disney paid a billion dollars to buy Marvel. I'm pretty sure they didn't do that in the interest of creators' rights and fair compensation.
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#595849 - 02/11/12 03:09 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
The only fact I look at is the one where Disney paid a billion dollars to buy Marvel. I'm pretty sure they didn't do that in the interest of creators' rights and fair compensation.


Total truth. Just not really fair imo.
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#595853 - 02/11/12 03:24 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: THE Anti-Hunter]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Not fair in my opinion, either, but that acquisition should have been a clear sign that the property was untouchable. And the saddest part is, Friedrich would probably have been happy with getting less than what Disney paid their lawyers.
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If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#595855 - 02/11/12 03:36 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
And the saddest part is, Friedrich would probably have been happy with getting less than what Disney paid their lawyers.


Very true!

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#595857 - 02/11/12 04:16 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Yea, again you speak the brutal truth. Buuuut...in favor of everyone getting their say...I'm going the Alex Ness route and looking for participants to chime in on a few articles and eventually maybe guest spots on a podcast to do a rountable discussion about this case and over all creators vs. corps rights.

I'm inviting Alex Ness publicly to sit on this panel, and I've privately invited a few others.

Allen would you be interested? I mean are you okay with your "voice" on the air if this goes through? Or would you prefer a write in vote?
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#595859 - 02/11/12 05:26 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: THE Anti-Hunter]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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A podcast? What's that supposed to accomplish?
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If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#595860 - 02/11/12 05:56 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
A podcast? What's that supposed to accomplish?


Not a goddamned thing Necro.

Nevermind.
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#595862 - 02/11/12 06:15 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: THE Anti-Hunter]
Gerald Offline
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So he tried to sue Marvel for the rights to Ghost Rider after they expired? Is that because of the law that allows creators of properties to reclaim ownership?

What needs to be proven in order for the original creators to wrestle back ownership from these corporations?
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#595863 - 02/11/12 07:19 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Alexander Ness Offline
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If I could call in I'd do it, if I have to be nearby of course I can't. I have no money.

I've not done podcast before that I know of. But I am still amazed we are using CDs and not 8track tapes. And the Ipoop and stuff confuses the fuck out of me.

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#595864 - 02/11/12 07:29 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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It's just logging into a chat server and talking through your mic. I've got a USB port condenser mic that I've never gotten around to setting up.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595865 - 02/11/12 07:35 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
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Registered: 01/24/02
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You can call in with a cell as well...but that'd take me some time to set up...right now..I've talked with a few others and we might go the essayist route first....then go from there...
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Check out my crap. It is what it is. http://www.webcomicsnation.com/hunter/

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and the art blog: http://j-m-hunter.livejournal.com/

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#595882 - 02/12/12 11:58 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: THE Anti-Hunter]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
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Nah, you gotta get Ness on a video podcast web cam!

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#595883 - 02/13/12 12:13 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
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Loc: Minnesota
That AIN'T gonna happen. All the animals come out at night, freaks, ghouls, someday a real rain will wash the scum off the streets...

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#595886 - 02/13/12 12:26 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
So no you tube channel anytime soon.

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#595899 - 02/13/12 07:48 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Jimbo Offline
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#595903 - 02/14/12 01:31 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Jimbo]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
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Loc: Minnesota
I rather disagree with this, Friedrich almost certainly is responsible for the work, and even Marvel credited him as conceiving the character in the first issue of its existence. Were others involved? Sure. But they don't actually take issue with who FIRST came up with the idea.

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#595904 - 02/14/12 02:00 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Ah. So Stan Lee singlehandedly created Spider-Man.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595905 - 02/14/12 02:01 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 3867
Loc: Minnesota
Came up with the idea? I think timing would show that Gary Friedrich already did a series called Hell Rider. It is the initial concept. Ploog helped. Thomas was along for the ride as mid-wife. IN MY OPINION.

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#595907 - 02/14/12 01:03 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
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Steve Bissette posted this on Facebook ALERT, ALL COMICS CREATORS [Reposting, for a necessary (requested) edit; reposting all comments, too, after this main post. Apologies.]: With permission, I'm quoting key points my dear friend and own legal advisor/contract consultant (since 1992) Jean-Marc Lofficier raised on his posts to a Yahoo forum discussing Ty Templeton's cartoon concerning the Gary Friedrich v Marvel judgment. Jean-Marc succinctly notes WHY this judgment has changed EVERYTHING for anyone who has worked for Marvel, or what this judgment changes (probably irrevocably) about the landscape for all concerned:

"...with all due respect to Ty, he's talking (drawing?) out of his ass.

So to clarify again, here is what I thought is important to remember here:

1) This is the first time Marvel is using convention sales of copyrighted Marvel characters as a "weapon". They are of course perfectly entitled to do so, legally speaking. But it does mean that, from now on, all of you here who draw sketches of Marvel characters for money at conventions or sell sketchbooks containing pictures of Marvel characters are on notice that you might be sued (usually for triple the amount you made) should Marvel decide to go after you.

My legal advice to you guys is simple: STOP and destroy all sketchbooks for sale with copyrighted materials in it. I'm serious. You've just been put on notice by this case.

[Note: In a followup comment to a question on the matter of selling sketches/sketchbooks at conventions featuring Marvel characters, Jean-Marc added:]

If Disney and/or Marvel have a policy to deal with that sort of business, I would encourage anyone planning to sell sketches, etc. to contact them and obtain a waiver or a permission of some kind under that program.

--- [name withdrawn] is incorrect about one thing: Disney, if not Marvel, does have a full office staffed with para legals of young lawyers whose only job is to look for copyright/tm infringements and send C&D (cease & desist) letters. I have seen them. They don't do it for the money or to be a pain the the ass, they do it based on the legal theory that if you don't actively protect your (c)/tm, you run the risk of it being used against you as an affirmative defense in an infringement case.

Based on the GHOST RIDER case, it is, in my opinion, only a matter of time until Disney, now aware of the issue, sends one of their young attorneys with a stash of blank C&D letters at conventions and start handing them out to everyone selling Marvel sketches without authorization.

Receiving that letter will oblige you to hire a lawyer and even if Disney lets you off the hook (which they probably will), you might be out of a couple of grands by the time the process is over -- or you run the risk of being stuck with a $15K bill if you fight them.

Again, I emphasize: this is sound business practice for Disney; NOT doing it entails risks far greater than doing it. They have gone after children's nurseries before which had Mickey painted on their walls for the same exact legal reason. And that was far more time consuming and bad PR-wise that going after some comic book guys at artist's alleys.

It is only a matter of time.

So if they have a waiver/permission program as Ivan says, join it; if not, stop.

[Back to Jean-Marc's original, full post:]

2) Although there never was any serious dispute that Marvel owned whatever share of GR Gary Friedrich was claiming (personally, I'm not a mind reader but I think Friedrich was hoping for some kind of settlement), there remains two legal issues that Ty obviously didn't grasp:

2.1) When Moebius drew his SILVER SURFER with Stan Lee, he got royalties and he was still getting them when Starwatcher split in 2000. You will note that modern-day WFH agreements spell out that the money you're getting will be the sole compensation you will ever receive and you're not entitled to anything else. It is spelled out because if it is not, courts are at liberty to interpret the contract and decide whether or not you should be gettong something extra.

The back-of-the-check contract signed by Gary did transfer ownership of GR to Marvel, and the amount of that check was the consideration for publishing rights, but nowhere did it actually state (as it does today) that it was the ONLY consideration to which Gary might be entitled in the event of a film or a TV series. The Court could have easily decided that on the absence of that clause, Gary was owed something.

2.2.) There is a famous case about singer Peggy Lee who won her suit against Disney for their reuse of her songs in LADY & THE TRAMP on video, because that medium didn't exist when she signed her original agreement with the Mouse, and contracts at that time didn't specify the now standard "and other media to be invented in the future". The Court chose to interpret that lack of specificity in favor of Peggy Lee. When Marvel sold the rights to GR to the studio which produced it, they likely sold the video, DVD and game rights. These media did not exist when Friedrich signed his back of the check contract which did not list any and all future media. Therefore, based on the Peggy Lee case, the Court could have found that Marvel didn't own those rights, and therefore couldn't resell them, or, as in the Peggy Lee case, simply that they owe the plaintiff some kind of percentage, that's all.

So it remains my contention that Marvel owes "something" to Friedrich (and Ploog as well) based not on the publishing, but purely on the disposition of the multimedia rights to GR. That the Judge decided otherwise is a tough break for creators, and unjust.

3) Which brings me to my next point, which is that documentary standards are being unfairly applied throughout the judicial system, and somehow mistakes always seem to favor the corporations, not the small guy. The enforceability of a contract depends on accurate documentation which must be produced in Court. If you have a mortgage, but the bank cannot produce your properly signed promissory note, then the court has the possibility of nullifying your mortgage. It's happened in a few rare cases, but more often than not, people have been thrown out of their homes despite banks being unable to produce a properly signed note.

In this case, has any of you seen the back of the check signed by Friedrich?
Was that check properly endorsed? Was there anything crossed out? Why should mistakes in documentation automatically benefit the corporations, and the little guy should be held to standards of evidence that the companies themselves don't respect? Why did the Judge assume that the paperwork was in order & automatically benefited Marvel? What I'm saying is, if people can lose their homes despite proper paperwork, well, then, Marvel could lose GR despite its paperwork. It's up to the Court.

So whether or not you feel any sympathy for Gary and his cause, this is another loss for the Little Guy which, in the greater scheme of things, impacts all of us."

SPREAD THE WORD. SPREAD THIS LINK.

And QUIT doing, creating, selling ANY sketches or sketchbooks or prints featuring Marvel/Disney characters, IMMEDIATELY. And let fans know WHY you are no longer doing them, and/or CANNOT do them ever again.
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#595908 - 02/14/12 01:27 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
I'm not sure I understand the above cartoon's arguments.

Templeton claims fans are saying "Gary made Ghost rider a huge hit series and Marvel did nothing but steal his work." Who's saying that?

It then goes on to say t he character wasn't even popular until the nineties.

The X-men were not very popular until Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum revamped them, creating the "version" that was made into three or four animated series, and then the movies. Does that mean by the cartoon's logic, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby don't deserve credit as the creators?

Is the cartoon trying to have it both ways, giving Thomas and Ploog creator credit AND then claiming GR wasn't a popular character until the nineties anyway?



Edited by Joe Lee (02/14/12 01:43 PM)

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#595915 - 02/14/12 02:44 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Gerald Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
I think the cartoon started the out good showing the other side of the argument, but I agree with you that the concept wasn't popular till the 90s is a very weak argument.

Was he selling Mike Ploog prints though?
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"My head's lopsided *****!"-Red Gumby

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#595917 - 02/14/12 03:01 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Not sure exactly. My understanding from all the various articles, was that he was signing color copies of covers from the Ghost Rider comics that he wrote. Is that common? What do writers sell at cons?

I wonder is how many Ghost Rider sketches Mike Ploog has sold at cons? More than $17,000? Can you go after one guy and not the other, without it hurting your case? Isn't that part of what Mr. B was saying above? They will have to go after everyone at some point, or it weakens any given case doesn't it?


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#595918 - 02/14/12 03:06 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Gerald
I think the cartoon started the out good showing the other side of the argument,
Agreed. I wish he would have stuck to making a serious point. If there are valid reasons for the action, beyond trying to scare the pants off anyone else thinking about suing, I would have liked to hear them.

The cartoon above seems to be making the claim that these lawsuits are unfair somehow. Painting Marvel as a victim. The cartoon oversimplifies the situation and mocks the fans, distorting the valid arguments into gross and idiotic statements, but I don't see what's wrong with one guy testing the system to see if he is owed anything, legally, if he has a case. And from Mr. B's post above it sounds like there was a valid argument to be made on several grounds, and some legal precedents.


Edited by Joe Lee (02/14/12 03:38 PM)

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#595919 - 02/14/12 04:07 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Gerald Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
It's too bad that the couldn't automatically give a bonus or something to these creators when movies are made.

Would that be some kind of legal admission that the original artists/writers were the real owners?

The imaginative artists and writers really did make that place the house of ideas.

Another point against the comic strip. While the 90s Ghost Rider was possibly more popular, the movie is based on the Johnny Blaze deal-with-the-devil concept, not the Danny Ketch version.
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#595920 - 02/14/12 07:56 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 1619
Loc: the American Desert
Two things:

First, some laws SHOULD BE disobeyed. Imagine if we lived back in the days when interracial marriage was against the law.

That is a law that SHOULD BE disobeyed.

Disney went out and bought the laws they wanted.

Second, I would challenge the "contract on the back of the check" thing.

An artist is hired to do work. He does the work. He gets the check after having done the work, and on the back there's an "oh, by the way, if you want to get paid for this work you just did, you need to now sign over all rights to it."

You are under no obligation to honor this 'after the fact' agreement. You've already done the work. If they are forcing you to agree to something AFTER you've done the work, that's duress, and it invalidates the contract.
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Carlton Donaghe
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#595921 - 02/14/12 08:00 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 1619
Loc: the American Desert
One more thing. Even though you don't have to honor the 'contract on the back,' since we live in a country run by corporations, you'd better believe they'd spend the treasure of Midas to convince everyone otherwise, even though they're wrong.

Just because it's a law, doesn't mean it's right.
_________________________
Without Wax,
Carlton Donaghe
somewhere along the Rio Grande

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#595922 - 02/14/12 09:16 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Gerald Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
In reponse to artists/writers hired to do work under the impression that they would have certain rights, only to find out if they cash the check they relinquish them, is that true? I can understand Siegel and Shusters naivete back in '38 but wasn't it common knowledge by the time the 60s and 70s arrived that it was work-for-hire?

Everything else I agree with you.

That said, corporations like Disney lobby for copyright extension acts. Why not contact members of congress when the issue comes up, and they do support copyright extension despite it being detrimental, why not vote against them?
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#595925 - 02/14/12 10:25 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 1619
Loc: the American Desert
Gerald, you should speak to Rick Veitch and Steve Bissette about that.

Also, if there's a contract on the back of the check, you can alter it in any way you choose.

If the bank refuses to cash the check, Marvel can't use the artwork if you haven't been paid for it. I mean, they will, but now you have actionable cause against them, should you choose to defend the rights of a person against the powers of a corporation.

And to answer your last question, you can't vote it out. Disney will always have the money to buy the next congressman. The only thing you can do is make the price too high for Disney to operate and make a profit.

That is the ONLY remedy here. That is... unless you want to live under their thumb.
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Carlton Donaghe
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#595926 - 02/14/12 11:04 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Gerald Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
We can't vote the actual law out, but what members of congress voted for the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act/Sonny Bono Act/the Mickey Mouse Protection Act? And what were the reasons cited?
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#595927 - 02/14/12 11:20 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
Alex, thanks for reposting that Steve Bissette/Jean-Marc Lofficier post. Sounds like good advice, unfortunately.

Bissette also mentioned on Facebook that he used to cross out the back-of-the-check contract whenever he worked for Marvel, and he signed the check on the other end. Another clever idea that few would have thought of.

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#595931 - 02/15/12 12:36 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 1619
Loc: the American Desert
Gerald, here's what I think: Most congressmen don't have the expertise in the issue that Sonny Bono had. They have to rely on the information provided them. Most of that information comes from lobbyists. The lobbyists come prepared with good arguments that make sense. The best arguments money can buy. The congressmen who vote in the interests of corporations over people will probably tell you that they've "studied" and "learned" about the issue and are convinced they acted in the public interest.

The problem is, because we've convinced ourselves (through one of the best arguments that money can buy) that "money is speech," we don't have any real mechanism for ensuring that those very congressmen have access to both sides of the argument. I talk to lots of conservatives and creationists who are frankly shocked into silence when I not only challenge their arguments but can actually argue my own position.

Liberals, or even just people who want to put people's needs and wants above the needs and wants of the corporation, are so comfortable in the knowledge that they are on God's side forget that they have to have a clear, reasoned argument for the things they believe in.

Regardless of whatever laws the unliving, undying Disney corporation have been able to buy and put in place in this new global economy, I'm not willing to accept that's the end of the argument. I'm not willing to give the will of the corporate state the final word.

The work-for-hire laws create the fiction that it was not Gary Friedrich or Jack Kirby that created the Marvel characters, it was some entity known as Marvel Comics. Right now, legally, it is not Brian Bendis writing the Avengers, but a corporate entity known as Marvel Comics.

I disagree. I'm saying that Marvel can create nothing. They can certainly exploit the work of human beings, but without those human beings, they create nothing. Do you suppose that without Gary Friedrich, the Ghost Rider character upon which the movie is based, the character would somehow have just bubbled up out of the corporate culture? There's only one answer--everything else is meaningless speculation: You can use weak and limp-wristed words like "might," "maybe," and "possibly," but that's not what happened. What did happen is that Gary Friedrich brought the character we know as Ghost Rider into being, the character upon which the movie is based--the character upon which the prints he was selling was based. Someone could hem and haw and tinker around with that last statement all they want to, but God damn it, that's just playing games, and I'll shoot that argument down right now. The character that appeared in Marvel Spotlight is the character we're arguing about. Any tag-lines, later story-lines, or artistic interpretations do not subtract from that.

It's not Walt Disney that the law needs to be taking care of, regardless of whatever law is on the books right now. The Disney Corporation is just fine. It is the real and actual lives of American citizens, real flesh-and-blood people whose interests must and needs be protected by the law.
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Carlton Donaghe
somewhere along the Rio Grande

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#595938 - 02/15/12 06:41 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Carlton Donaghe
Disney went out and bought the laws they wanted.

The laws were already in place long before Disney came into the picture. They're just defending their investment. While I wish they had done things in a more honorable fashion, I do understand their acting the way they did.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595939 - 02/15/12 06:45 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Gerald
wasn't it common knowledge by the time the 60s and 70s arrived that it was work-for-hire?

Exactly so. If they gave it any thought at all, guys like Friedrich, Wolfman and Gerber must have thought, "Oh, they won't screw me like they did S&S or Kirby."

I would be curious to know on what grounds Friedrich even thought he had a case.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595942 - 02/15/12 10:23 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
I would be curious to know on what grounds Friedrich even thought he had a case.


From the longer post above...
Originally Posted By: Steve Bissette on Facebook, reposted here/above by Alexander Ness
...Although there never was any serious dispute that Marvel owned whatever share of GR Gary Friedrich was claiming (personally, I'm not a mind reader but I think Friedrich was hoping for some kind of settlement), there remains two legal issues that Ty obviously didn't grasp:

2.1) When Moebius drew his SILVER SURFER with Stan Lee, he got royalties and he was still getting them when Starwatcher split in 2000. You will note that modern-day WFH agreements spell out that the money you're getting will be the sole compensation you will ever receive and you're not entitled to anything else. It is spelled out because if it is not, courts are at liberty to interpret the contract and decide whether or not you should be gettong something extra.

The back-of-the-check contract signed by Gary did transfer ownership of GR to Marvel, and the amount of that check was the consideration for publishing rights, but nowhere did it actually state (as it does today) that it was the ONLY consideration to which Gary might be entitled in the event of a film or a TV series. The Court could have easily decided that on the absence of that clause, Gary was owed something.

2.2.) There is a famous case about singer Peggy Lee who won her suit against Disney for their reuse of her songs in LADY & THE TRAMP on video, because that medium didn't exist when she signed her original agreement with the Mouse, and contracts at that time didn't specify the now standard "and other media to be invented in the future". The Court chose to interpret that lack of specificity in favor of Peggy Lee. When Marvel sold the rights to GR to the studio which produced it, they likely sold the video, DVD and game rights. These media did not exist when Friedrich signed his back of the check contract which did not list any and all future media. Therefore, based on the Peggy Lee case, the Court could have found that Marvel didn't own those rights, and therefore couldn't resell them, or, as in the Peggy Lee case, simply that they owe the plaintiff some kind of percentage, that's all.

So it remains my contention that Marvel owes "something" to Friedrich (and Ploog as well) based not on the publishing, but purely on the disposition of the multimedia rights to GR. That the Judge decided otherwise is a tough break for creators, and unjust.

3) Which brings me to my next point, which is that documentary standards are being unfairly applied throughout the judicial system, and somehow mistakes always seem to favor the corporations, not the small guy. The enforceability of a contract depends on accurate documentation which must be produced in Court. If you have a mortgage, but the bank cannot produce your properly signed promissory note, then the court has the possibility of nullifying your mortgage. It's happened in a few rare cases, but more often than not, people have been thrown out of their homes despite banks being unable to produce a properly signed note.

In this case, has any of you seen the back of the check signed by Friedrich?
Was that check properly endorsed? Was there anything crossed out? Why should mistakes in documentation automatically benefit the corporations, and the little guy should be held to standards of evidence that the companies themselves don't respect? Why did the Judge assume that the paperwork was in order & automatically benefited Marvel? What I'm saying is, if people can lose their homes despite proper paperwork, well, then, Marvel could lose GR despite its paperwork. It's up to the Court.


Seems like three solid reasons.


Edited by Joe Lee (02/15/12 10:34 AM)

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#595943 - 02/15/12 11:51 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
I can be persuaded that, though some technicality, Friedrich might be entitled to some sort of ownership stake in Ghost Rider and therefore deserves a cut of any money made with the character. It certainly would serve Marvel and/or DC right if they got tripped up by something like that.

However, I find it hard to believe that Friedrich did not know he was doing work-for-hire at the time he created Ghost Rider and was happy with that arrangement. He went to court because he saw a big pot of money out there and wanted some of it, something I can't blame him for.

I also think in all the moral indignation over the issue that it should be remembered that without work-for-hire, Marvel Comics as we know it would never have existed. Neither would DC, Charlton or the overwhelming majority of comic book publishers. Neither, would that matter, could stuff like Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon exist without work-for-hire. Or those Star Trek novels, some of which made it onto the New York Times best seller list. Look no further than the legal messes over Miracleman, Gaiman vs. McFarlane over Spawn and the new lawsuit over The Walking Dead for proof of that.

Mike

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#595944 - 02/15/12 12:19 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
For me the difference has always been pretty clear distinction, that get easily muddied in practice.

Writing and/or drawing a Spiderman comic is one thing, inventing Spiderman is another. But, in the process of creating a comic for an existing character like Spiderman, you might invent something new, whether it be characters, concepts, whatever.

If Stan Lee and Jack Kirby got a got a creator royalty for X-men, what should Dave Cockrum and Chris Claremont get for re-inventing the X-men and creating the template for the comics, animated cartoons and movies for decades, that makes way more money than the original ever did. Who really deserves compensation from the other media? Add Wolverine to the mix and it gets even muddier.

And if Siegel and Shuster deserved compensation for Superman, and Stan Lee and his family got millions how is it Jack Kirby only received work-for-hire compensation for co-creating the vast majority of the characters and concepts that are still being exploited today? Why shouldn't the men who created characters, even more recent characters like Blade and Ghost Rider deserve some part of the money being generated by their creations, beyond their original work-for-hire situation? These characters couldn't have been nearly as popular without Marvel, but where would Marvel have been without these creators?

I refuse to believe that their isn't something better to be done here, for the handful of people who invented all this stuff.

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#595945 - 02/15/12 02:18 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Seems like three solid reasons.

I didn't ask about "seems like." I asked about what specifically made Friedrich think he had a case, especially in light of the Blade case that had already turned out in favor of Marvel.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595946 - 02/15/12 02:48 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 10266
Loc: oceanside,Ca
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
For me the difference has always been pretty clear distinction, that get easily muddied in practice.

Writing and/or drawing a Spiderman comic is one thing, inventing Spiderman is another. But, in the process of creating a comic for an existing character like Spiderman, you might invent something new, whether it be characters, concepts, whatever.

If Stan Lee and Jack Kirby got a got a creator royalty for X-men, what should Dave Cockrum and Chris Claremont get for re-inventing the X-men and creating the template for the comics, animated cartoons and movies for decades, that makes way more money than the original ever did. Who really deserves compensation from the other media? Add Wolverine to the mix and it gets even muddier.

And if Siegel and Shuster deserved compensation for Superman, and Stan Lee and his family got millions how is it Jack Kirby only received work-for-hire compensation for co-creating the vast majority of the characters and concepts that are still being exploited today? Why shouldn't the men who created characters, even more recent characters like Blade and Ghost Rider deserve some part of the money being generated by their creations, beyond their original work-for-hire situation? These characters couldn't have been nearly as popular without Marvel, but where would Marvel have been without these creators?

I refuse to believe that their isn't something better to be done here, for the handful of people who invented all this stuff.


I quoted this post cause I like what it says.
_________________________
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#595948 - 02/15/12 04:58 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Seems like three solid reasons.

I didn't ask about "seems like." I asked about what specifically made Friedrich think he had a case, especially in light of the Blade case that had already turned out in favor of Marvel.


Actually you asked...
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery

I would be curious to know on what grounds Friedrich even thought he had a case.
The points outlined above by Mr. Bissette, are all relevant and more than enough to support this being a valid case.

But, if you want to know what specifically Friedrich was thinking, you'd have to ask Mr. Friedrich, wouldn't you.

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#595949 - 02/15/12 06:21 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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#595957 - 02/15/12 10:42 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
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I just had a car accident monday, I could spot you a couple hundred thousand in the hole.
_________________________
I write lots.

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#595960 - 02/16/12 12:26 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Gerald Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
Was he selling prints of Mike Ploog's Ghost Rider artwork?

Does DC have some kind program that compensates creators retroacively? I'm reading that Len Wein gets more money from the creation of Lucius Fox than Wolverine.
_________________________
"My head's lopsided *****!"-Red Gumby

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#595962 - 02/16/12 01:51 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Actually you asked...

Yes, the scroll wheel on my mouse is functional, you pathetic little bitch.


Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
But, if you want to know what specifically Friedrich was thinking, you'd have to ask Mr. Friedrich, wouldn't you.

Or the doofus who advised him that his case had merit. Neither of which is Steve Bissette, I'd wager.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595965 - 02/16/12 08:54 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Yes, the scroll wheel on my mouse is functional, you pathetic little bitch.
Nice. Did I actually do something to provoke you this time, or is this just your normal unpleasant self?

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#595971 - 02/16/12 01:19 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
MightyQuin Offline
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Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 1069
Loc: Tallahassee,FL
Originally Posted By: Alexander Ness
I just had a car accident monday, I could spot you a couple hundred thousand in the hole.


Hope this was nothing very major, Alex, everybody walked away from it ok?

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#595973 - 02/16/12 02:40 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MightyQuin]
Alexander Ness Offline
Member

Registered: 09/17/03
Posts: 3867
Loc: Minnesota
Car bad, people ok.

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#595974 - 02/16/12 04:06 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Alexander Ness]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Alexander Ness
Car bad, people ok.


Glad you're OK, Alex.

Cars can be replaced. You can't.

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#595976 - 02/16/12 04:21 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Posts: 7086
That's debatable.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#595977 - 02/16/12 04:26 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
shjonescrk Offline
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Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 1351
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I might be missing something here but apparently by signing the back of a cheque that Gary signed away his rights to Ghost Rider. But does a copy of that cheque/contract still physically exists. If it doesn't how do we know he signed it and therefore signed his rights away.

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#595978 - 02/16/12 04:44 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: shjonescrk]
MightyQuin Offline
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Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 1069
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I don't think the wfh statement on the back of Gary's check was the real linchpin of Marvel's legal argument. Plenty of Marvel's artists and writers crossed it out and cashed their checks anyway. I've read that some even deposited the checks without endorsing them, but I know my bank wouldn't let me do that. It was his actual contract with Marvel detailing his work for hire status that sealed his fate.

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#595988 - 02/17/12 12:13 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MightyQuin]
Lawson Offline
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Posts: 11978
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I'm not a lawyer and don't possess any inside knowledge of Marvel's business practices, beyond what we all know.

And I sympathize with Gary Friedrich's plight. I understand why, if you co-created Ghost Rider and you see these movies getting made, you would want some financial compensation.

But -- just as a longtime comics observer -- I have to agree with Allen's pragmatic cynicism. Over the years, Marvel and Disney have made their positions on creators' rights very clear: They don't believe in creators' rights. Whenever possible, they have crushed the creators who challenged them. They have beaten them in court when laws allowed, and when laws looked shaky, they have bought new, more favorable laws from Congress.

Certainly since Marv Wolfman's Blade lawsuit -- what, 15 years ago? -- it's been made clear to creators that Marvel only takes; it does not give beyond this week's paycheck. If you think you can return years later and stake a claim to your ideas because they're making some serious coin now, you are outta luck.

So ... it's a free country, and you can work for Marvel if you choose, and you can later sue Marvel if you choose. But how can anyone say they're surprised by this outcome?

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#595990 - 02/17/12 12:19 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Joe Lee Offline
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I can't wait to see guys like Quesada and Bendis bitching maybe twenty or thirty years from now, about how Marvel screwed them over.

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#595991 - 02/17/12 12:25 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Lawson Offline
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Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
I can't wait to see guys like Quesada and Bendis bitching years from now, about how Marvel screwed them over.


What did Joe Quesada ever create?

Your ideas can't be stolen from you if all you did is play with the toys made by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

I suspect this trend of outraged creator lawsuits demanding compensation will be unique to the Bronze Age pros. They were the last generation to create any characters to speak of. After the early 1980s, what major new DC or Marvel heroes or villains were added to the lineups?

The modern pros grew up watching Jack Kirby have to beg for the return of his original artwork. They took jobs in the industry as Marv Wolfman and other old-timers got slapped down in court trying to win a piece of the Hollywood money for the characters they created.

It's not a coincidence that nobody creates new characters for the Big Two anymore. Why the hell should they? So Disney can make another $200 million off it?

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#595992 - 02/17/12 12:30 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Lawson
I suspect this trend of outraged creator lawsuits demanding compensation will be unique to the Bronze Age pros. They were the last generation to create any characters to speak of. After the early 1980s, what major new DC or Marvel heroes or villains were added to the lineups?
Good point.

What is there that passes for NEW at the "House of Ideas," recently, a Red Hulk?



Edited by Joe Lee (02/17/12 12:34 PM)

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#595993 - 02/17/12 12:54 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Lawson
Why the hell should they? So Disney can make another $200 million off it?


No, it's so that the next generation of creators can have the same work-for-hire opportunities to pay their own bills. If you think you're going to create the next Batman or Spider-Man and are paranoid about some EEEEEEEVIL corporation stealing it from you, don't go to work for those people. However, taking the money to do work-for-hire and using up other people's creations to pay your bills, but then not contributing anything back so there's something more for the next guy to work with, that's not exactly a blameless act.

Mike

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#595994 - 02/17/12 01:04 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Doesn't that depend on the terms of your employment?

Were you hired to create the next Spiderman, or create the next issue of a Spiderman comic?

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#595995 - 02/17/12 01:14 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Were you hired to create the next Spiderman, or create the next issue of a Spiderman comic?


And in creating that Spider-Man comic are you not using characters and concepts created by others? Yes, you are. Why is it okay for you to exploit the creations of others to pay your bills but God forbid you create anything that others might make similar use of?

Mike

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#595996 - 02/17/12 01:21 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: MBunge
However, taking the money to do work-for-hire and using up other people's creations to pay your bills, but then not contributing anything back so there's something more for the next guy to work with, that's not exactly a blameless act.


I used to feel this way.

I don't anymore.

Marvel and DC have, by their own actions over the years, including the full assimilation of ownership rights in most cases, encouraged their writers and artists to do nothing but play with the toys already in the toy box.

Furthermore, the readers show little interest in anything other than the timeworn corporate franchises: Batman, the X-Men, Spider-Man.

If your boss won't share with you the value of your creations and your customers show no desire for them, why produce them?

Anyone who has gone to work for Marvel or DC in the last 25 years has recognized this was the situation. If they aspired to greater creativity, and many have, they did it elsewhere. The current employees are for-hire hacks who owe nothing to the for-hire hacks who will follow them.

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#595997 - 02/17/12 01:35 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Lawson Offline
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Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Lawson
Furthermore, the readers show little interest in anything other than the timeworn corporate franchises: Batman, the X-Men, Spider-Man.


For example, Marvel's best-selling titles in December:

1. AVENGERS/X-SANCTION - An Avengers-X-Men team-up

2. DEFENDERS - An Avengers spinoff with Namor, Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer

3. UNCANNY X-MEN

4. AVENGING SPIDER-MAN

5. WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN

So it's pretty clear to Marvel, and to me, what Marvel's remaining readers want. You would be an idiot for any number of reasons to take a job at Marvel and try to create the next Ghost Rider for them. Just write your fuckin' Wolverine comic and keep your mouth shut.

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#595998 - 02/17/12 01:39 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Lawson
Marvel and DC have, by their own actions over the years, including the full assimilation of ownership rights in most cases, encouraged their writers and artists to do nothing but play with the toys already in the toy box.


Now this, I can't argue with. I'd say it's more true of Marvel than DC, but neither company is clearly all that interested in the creation of new characters or all that concerned about their creators not doing it. And when it does happen, new characters are usually the product of some editorially directed process (like that Spider-Girl they tried to pass off in place of DeFalco and company's brilliance).

Mike

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#596001 - 02/17/12 05:21 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: MBunge
Why is it okay for you to exploit the creations of others to pay your bills but God forbid you create anything that others might make similar use of?
That's a great question.

But I'm not sure what argument you're making.

Are you saying that the current employees at Marvel are trying to have it both ways? By refusing to be exploited the same way as the employees before them, but still having no problem working at Marvel themselves and exploiting the work of employees past.

Unless an artist or writer is willing to make the sacrifice themselves, they have no moral right to work on these characters? That they are no better than Marvel themselves. It's like a moral price of admission to the cultural toybox, that's held captive by the evil empire?

I think I see the logic in that.

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#596004 - 02/18/12 10:40 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
FYI, Gary Friedrich, himself, posted this statement online last night on facebook to help answer some questions concerning whether GR was a collaboration or a solo creation...

"WHO CREATED THE GHOST RIDER?: Recent articles across the internet continue to be heartwarming. For the record, however, to the extent some of those articles reference others as being co-creators of Ghost Rider with me simply aren't accurate. I created the Ghost Rider principal characters andthe original story over a period of severalyears before I suggestedthe comic book project to Marvel. Roy Thomas, Mike Ploog and others came on board later, in the implementation stage. To the best of my knowledge, neither Roy Thomas, Mike Ploogor even Stan Lee,for that matter, has ever claimed to be a co-creator of Ghost Rider.................thanks, Gary Friedrich"

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#596006 - 02/18/12 10:58 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
This was interesting. Anyone else think this might be Allen? No, seriously, watch the part at the end when the guy gets really mad a few times and even talks about an Occupy Marvel movement, I thought he might break some stuff...

Stand Up Against Injustice!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVIWI0LYtOI&feature=youtu.be

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#596007 - 02/18/12 11:16 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Allen Montgomery Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
This was interesting. Anyone else think this might be Allen?

No, but I think you might possibly be retarded.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#596009 - 02/18/12 11:22 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
A 9:56 video? No thanks!

Folks are free to boycott Marvel for its shabby treatment of the creators who made it worth billions of dollars.

But I doubt most fanboys have the fortitude for a true boycott: no Marvel comics; no reprint books of old Marvel classics; no toys, T-shirts, games or other goodies licensed by Marvel; no tickets to any Marvel movies, including this year's Avengers and Spider-Man flicks. No nothing connected to Marvel. Ever again.

And that's just Marvel. If you're also going to boycott Disney, as this You Tube protester suggests, then good lord -- that's close to half of the TV shows and movies. The ABC television network? Pixar? To successfully not give money to the Mouse at this point, you almost need to live in a tent in the woods.

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#596010 - 02/18/12 11:32 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
No, but I think you might possibly be retarded.
Are you sure it's not you, originally I thought no way this guy isn't effeminate or harmless looking enough to be you, but then the guy seemed so passionate about Ghost Rider and comics in general, and was so concerned about making a case for why Stan Lee might be the next victim of a Marvel counter suit, plus the reluctance to go the Occupy Marvel movement route, all of it got me thinking, and I said to myself, self, only someone who was a genuinely caring nice guy with a big heart would try and hide behind such a gruff persona like Allen Montgomery, and pretend to be such a jerk all the time.

It's ok big guy.

You can go ahead and cry, we won't feel any less about you.

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#596011 - 02/18/12 11:37 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Lawson
A 9:56 video? No thanks!
Seriously, it's hilarious.

Originally Posted By: Lawson
I doubt most fanboys have the fortitude for a true boycott
Absolutely. No way this would ever happen. Fanboys heads would burst if they weren't in the first available showing of Avengers.

And you'd have to become Amish to successfully avoid all Marvel, Disney and any other content that doesn't screw over somebody somewhere.

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#596012 - 02/18/12 11:45 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Allen Montgomery Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Stan Lee might be the next victim of a Marvel counter suit

That would be poetic justice.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#596013 - 02/18/12 11:50 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
I think Marvel's a bunch of corporate scum-suckers.

But I'm perplexed by the fanboys' furious, surprised response to the Gary Friedrich case.

Why now? Why not the last half-dozen struggling creators we watched get screwed by Marvel? Why not 40 years ago when publisher's nephew Stan Lee signed a deal for a lifetime of riches and artist Jack Kirby got the shaft?

I don't really disagree with the fanboys who are skulking around, talking boycott and cursing the suits at Marvel. But let's not be disingenuous. We all knew what Marvel was as we -- including me -- gave it our money for comics, toys and movies. We helped pay for the lawyers that beat Gary Friedrich like a rug. This isn't a new development. Unless you've never given Marvel a penny in your life, you're part of the problem and shouldn't start acting indignant now.

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#596038 - 02/18/12 10:23 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
I think the added twists to this case have justified renewed outrage and surprise. Specifically: 1) the creator actually having to PAY Marvel, and 2) the implied threat to close down the commissioned sketches business (even if that fear is overblown).

Sure, it could have all been predicted by earlier trends, if you subscribe to slippery slope arguments. But not everyone does. We hope for some reasonable accommodation, and each time the envelope of corporate overreaching gets pushed farther, we react.

And sure, we are all complicit with our dollars. But that doesn't mean we can't complain about what's done with those dollars. On the contrary, it gives us even more reason to complain.

Geez, Lawson, your crotchety-old-man persona seems to be out of control today. Normally you're the venomous voice of reason, but this is just cantankerousness run amuck.

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#596039 - 02/18/12 10:24 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
oops, double posting run amuck!


Edited by Peter Urkowitz (02/18/12 10:24 PM)

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#596043 - 02/19/12 08:18 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Peter Urkowitz
We hope for some reasonable accommodation, and each time the envelope of corporate overreaching gets pushed farther, we react.

If the brief period of rampant creator ownership in the 80's had never happened, I might could see that. But it did, and everyone became painfully aware of how Marvel, DC and Archie do business. If Disney shuts down the leech business of selling unauthorized artwork featuring their characters (and I wonder how many sellers send a portion of their sales to the original creators of those characters) at cons and on eBay, it's truly a fate deserved.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#596045 - 02/19/12 11:30 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Stan Lee might be the next victim of a Marvel counter suit

That would be poetic justice.
Not likely though.

He's not a sympathetic as some, not destitute and Lee has sued Marvel before, but could you imagine the hype that would be generated despite all that? It would be as if they sued Walt Disney, or Jim Henson.

"Beloved creator of the comic book and every cartoon character ever, is being sued by the very ungrateful, evil bastard of a corporation built with his own blood, sweat and tears..."

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#596059 - 02/19/12 11:20 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
I ran across this journal entry at deviantArt, where an artist tells of an actual real life incident he had with Marvel's legal department, regarding sketches.

If you don't want to read the whole entry, skip down a few paragraphs to the one that starts, "Last year I drew the Wolverine ABCs..."

http://seangordonmurphy.deviantart.com/journal/Grays-285895348

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#596083 - 02/20/12 10:49 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
That Sean Gordon Murphy guy is a really good artist! I love his architectural backgrounds, especially.

Interesting that Marvel wanted to own his Wolverine ABCs art without compensating him in any way at all. Maybe that was just their opening stance for negotiation, but still. They probably could have marketed a book of those drawings and done very well, if they had just offered a fair deal.

And yet Murphy graciously admits that HE was in the wrong. And he promises not to do any sketches of characters he doesn't own again. Good for him to have taken such a principled stand, but I think he's selling himself and his rights short. There is still such a thing as "fair use" in the law. Even if the big corporations would deny it.

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#596084 - 02/20/12 10:56 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Perhaps he's thinking "fair use" is simply "free advertising."
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#596089 - 02/21/12 10:58 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
I've never really been clear on why artists can make money by drawing and selling pictures of copyrighted characters when they don't hold the copyrights.

For John Byrne, that's been the bulk of his income for ages. He makes tens of thousands of dollars a year in commissions, nearly entirely of Marvel and DC superheroes. But Byrne didn't create those heroes and he doesn't hold the copyrights on them. He just makes more money off a quickie Superman sketch than Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster made creating Superman in the first place.

Whenever I asked, I was told that Marvel and DC have an unspoken agreement to look the other way on such things.

Sounds like the unspoken agreement may be coming to an end.

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#596090 - 02/21/12 11:34 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Lawson
Why not 40 years ago when publisher's nephew Stan Lee signed a deal for a lifetime of riches and artist Jack Kirby got the shaft?


I know Stan's the easy target because he made out so much better than Kirby, but the reasons for that go far beyond who Stan's uncle was.

Stan became the public face of Marvel because he was good at it and he was willing to do it. To the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence that Kirby either wanted to do any of the promotional/hype BS or that he was good at it OR that he was ever prevented from doing that stuff if he wanted.

Kirby was also a singular talent who didn't really care to work with others if he could prevent it, while it was Stan's collaborative approach that actually made Marvel Marvel for 30 years or so.

And if the lesson of how Siegel and Shuster is to watch your back, the lesson of Jack Kirby is to be careful what bridges you burn. The tragedy of Kirby is less about Marvel screwing him and more about how when the public taste cooled toward him, his ego/pride left him unwilling or incapable of finding the soft landing spot he should have had with either Marvel or DC.

Mike

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#596091 - 02/21/12 11:59 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Yes, Ditko has been treated much better since he hasn't made a nuisance of himself.
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#596092 - 02/21/12 12:12 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: MBunge
The tragedy of Kirby is less about Marvel screwing him and more about how when the public taste cooled toward him, his ego/pride left him unwilling or incapable of finding the soft landing spot he should have had with either Marvel or DC.
Do you have any examples of these soft landing spots that Marvel and DC give out?

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#596097 - 02/21/12 03:00 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Lawson Offline
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Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: MBunge
The tragedy of Kirby is less about Marvel screwing him and more about how when the public taste cooled toward him, his ego/pride left him unwilling or incapable of finding the soft landing spot he should have had with either Marvel or DC.


Stan Lee's style of writing fell out of favor around the same time Jack Kirby's style of drawing did -- the late 1960s.

However, Stan became the publisher, and then the publisher emeritus, at Marvel and drew a fat salary while lecturing at college campuses and not making movies in Hollywood. Jack had no such financial security. He was no one's nephew. He had to keep drawing comic books into his old age until the animation industry finally threw him a bone in the 1980s.

In the decade after Stan and Jack parted ways, Jack worked like a fiend, launching a half-dozen new titles at DC that continue to be mined for ideas today -- returning to Marvel -- and then producing his own work at indie publishers.

If there was a soft landing spot for Kirby, someone should have pointed it out to him.

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#596098 - 02/21/12 05:15 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
shjonescrk Offline
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Lawson, you're suggest that because "Stan Lee's style of writing fell out of favour" was the reason he stopped writing comics. I don't think that is the case at all. He'd been writing and editing comics for nearly 30 years so decided it was time to move on to a more executive role.

The reason why Jack fell out of favour is that simply his new stuff wasn't anywhere near as good as his best stuff from the mid-60s and his writing was not very good either. At times, unreadable and I speak as a fan. Jack never did any really good work after he returned to Marvel and beyond. There were exceptions, of course, but much of it wasn't very good.

Since he stopped writing comics in the early 70s, Stan has been promoting Marvel, comics and himself on a daily basis. Whatever deal Stan got with Marvel, I think Marvel got their money's worth. Basically, they didn't give money because he was someone's nephew and anyway his uncle was long gone anyway.

Of course, Marvel should have looked after a comic book great like Kirby and made sure he was looked after as they should look after all their old staff from the 60s and 70s. Stan did offer Jack a staff position of art director in the 60s but he refused it as he got paid more as a freelance.

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#596099 - 02/21/12 05:33 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: shjonescrk]
Lawson Offline
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I'm reading Kirby's Fourth World comics right now, which he wrote and drew in the early 1970s, not long after leaving Marvel.

For my money, they're as good as most of his Marvel work -- batshit insane in many respects, yes, but full of energy and creativity. I think the Fourth World failed, as much as anything, because it was too big and sweeping an epic than young comics readers were prepared for in 1970-whatever.

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#596100 - 02/21/12 06:41 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: shjonescrk]
Joe Lee Offline
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Originally Posted By: shjonescrk
Of course, Marvel should have looked after a comic book great like Kirby and made sure he was looked after as they should look after all their old staff from the 60s and 70s. Stan did offer Jack a staff position of art director in the 60s but he refused it as he got paid more as a freelance.
A staff job that paid less than he was already making? You'd have to be insane to not take that. Less money is how I'd want to be, "looked after."

I'm sure Stan took a huge cut in pay when he went from Editor to Publisher.

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#596101 - 02/21/12 06:46 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Joe Lee Offline
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Originally Posted By: Lawson
I'm reading Kirby's Fourth World comics right now, which he wrote and drew in the early 1970s, not long after leaving Marvel.

For my money, they're as good as most of his Marvel work -- batshit insane in many respects, yes, but full of energy and creativity.
I'm reading the Kamandi Omnibus right now. Great comics, some of the greatest ever, very fun. And some seriously crazy stuff.

I love his stuff from around this time. The Demon, Omac, the whole Fourth World, then back to Marvel, The Eternals and Black Panther and his return to Cap. Even Devil Dinosaur. That should have been a Saturday morning cartoon and toy line.

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#596103 - 02/21/12 11:26 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
ChrisW Offline
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Quote:
A staff job that paid less than he was already making? You'd have to be insane to not take that. Less money is how I'd want to be, "looked after."


He got paid so much because he drew so much (which we're all grateful for). The staff job wasn't worth as much.

Quote:
I'm sure Stan took a huge cut in pay when he went from Editor to Publisher.


This is where it does help to show up to the office every day for twenty+ years. Someone earlier in the thread pointed out Kirby tried to avoid working with people anyway, so a daily commute to the office wouldn't have been a plus.

These are the sorts of trade-offs that have to be made. In an internet-based world, it's easy to pontificate what Lee deserved, but every week was another chance for unlettered "Tales of Asgard" pages to go out in the middle of an issue of "Captain America" and it wouldn't be Kirby who got the blame for this or any other mishaps.

Keeping all sorts of moving parts going is a difficult task, and Lee did it for years. Also, without Lee, Kirby would be remembered as a notable creator of popular books and Ditko might be noticed as an artist if anything. They wouldn't be "The King" and the co-creator of Spider-Man.

This doesn't deny that the creators of valuable properties should get more from their work, particularly if they were created under archaic terms, but there's no way to do it that won't open a huge can of worms as a precedent for nuisance lawsuits.
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#596104 - 02/21/12 11:34 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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In the 1980's, DC gave Kirby the opportunity to do some redesign work on his New Gods characters that they wanted to use in their animated TV shows. That allowed DC to give Kirby royalties for the use of those characters under the terms of their more generous contracts of the time, whereas just using his 1970's designs could have been done under more restricted contract terms. That was a relatively soft landing, although not enough for Kirby to retire completely.

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#596114 - 02/22/12 11:27 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Lawson Offline
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Originally Posted By: Peter Urkowitz
In the 1980's, DC gave Kirby the opportunity to do some redesign work on his New Gods characters that they wanted to use in their animated TV shows. ...


Yes, this is a nice story and a credit to -- I believe -- Jenette Kahn, publisher of DC Comics at the time. DC ended up being more generous to Kirby than the company he built.

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#596115 - 02/22/12 11:31 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Lawson Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
I'm reading the Kamandi Omnibus right now. Great comics, some of the greatest ever, very fun. And some seriously crazy stuff.

I love his stuff from around this time. The Demon, Omac, the whole Fourth World, then back to Marvel, The Eternals and Black Panther and his return to Cap. Even Devil Dinosaur. That should have been a Saturday morning cartoon and toy line.


As a wee fanboy in the late 1970s, early 1980s, I didn't "get" Kirby. I wanted the realistic-looking stuff, like Neal Adams, Marshall Rogers, George Perez and John Byrne. Kirby was insane! His stories were nutty and his art was this frenetic explosion of cartoons and color.

I had to become an adult to properly appreciate the stuff that Kirby was aiming at kids during the 1970s. I dunno if that says more about him or me. His relatively weak sales in the 1970s suggests that a lot of kids felt as I did. But in hindsight, yeah, I love his comics now.

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#596117 - 02/22/12 12:42 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Charles Reece Offline
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Realism is for kids!
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#596119 - 02/23/12 01:04 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Charles Reece]
Joe Lee Offline
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I just read that Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. is suing Dynamite over the company's "Lord of the Jungle" and "Warlord of Mars" comics.

Kind of a some strange, reverse, irony on several levels.

Film coming out, and the estate is suing people who are making money off of comics and not paying the creator or his estate. And Marvel is producing the John Carter comics legally authorized by the estate, directly or indirectly through Disney.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/02/16/owner-of-tarzan-sues-comics-companies-for-infringement/

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#596128 - 02/23/12 02:30 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
shjonescrk Offline
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Originally Posted By: Lawson
I'm reading Kirby's Fourth World comics right now, which he wrote and drew in the early 1970s, not long after leaving Marvel.

For my money, they're as good as most of his Marvel work -- batshit insane in many respects, yes, but full of energy and creativity. I think the Fourth World failed, as much as anything, because it was too big and sweeping an epic than young comics readers were prepared for in 1970-whatever.


On artistic level, I think the Fourth Worlds fails because it is a bit of a mess. Sure there is some good stuff amongst it all - the Pact and Mr Miracle Issue 9 were especially good - but overall, I just didn't like it.

My favourite Kirby work post-Marvel was Kamandi but perhaps because I was reading them as they came out, I had no pre-conceptions whereas with the Fourth World, I was being told this was some unfinished masterpiece so when I did get to read in the 80s, I was not greatly impressed. When I read Kirby's work on Thor & FF, I read them in British B&W reprints as if the stories were being written now so again, I had no preconceptions.

It's clear to me that post-Marvel, Kirby needed a strong editor.

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#596129 - 02/23/12 03:18 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: shjonescrk]
Lawson Offline
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Well, anyone who hails Jack Kirby's Fourth World comics as "a masterpiece" probably is doing it a disservice. These were comic books, not classic literature.

They were merely great fun and enormously creative. Also, if you could wait patiently (and understandably, young comics readers at the time generally did not), Kirby was sewing all of these seemingly disparate stories -- hippies, Jimmy Olsen and the Newsboy Legion, Darkseid, Mr. Miracle -- into one sprawling story.

I'm afraid of lot of the great old comics don't stand up so well after years of being described as masterpieces. What they were, mostly, was great comic books.

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#596131 - 02/23/12 10:04 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
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That ERB, Inc. case is kinda odd, since the earliest John Carter books are in the public domain now, at least in the USA. The trademarks may never die, of course, but Dynamite has at least tried to distinguish their comics from authorized ERB products.

ERB Inc. has done pretty well for itself over the last century, and while I don't begrudge that family its success, eventually it will have to acknowledge the public domain. I wish that a century from now we could be having this discussion about KIRBY Inc. or FRIEDRICH Inc.

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#596133 - 02/24/12 03:02 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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I've been continuing to think about this, and I've come up with a solution.

Proposing a new business model for Marvel Comics.

I'd really like to know what you guys think of this idea. Especially, what are the downsides I didn't think of? Why wouldn't Marvel go for this idea?

And, it provides potential income from NEW Marvel work for every out of work creator... Steve Ditko included!
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#596134 - 02/24/12 03:19 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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We've already got the Direct Market that requires a financial obligation three months before a product ships. Kickstarter adds another level to that faith-backed model by requiring a financial obligation *BEFORE WORK ON THE PRODUCT IS EVEN BEGUN*, and offers no guarantee of the work being done or the product ever shipping.

Before too long, we're going to see an example of a Kickstarter promotion that reaches its funding goal (perhaps even over-shooting it by a wide margin), the funds collected, and then the recipients of those funds disappears. It's a bad business model.
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#596138 - 02/24/12 10:22 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
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Can anyone tell me -- what do Marvel and DC pay for using the work of dead artists? Anything?

For instance, DC is currently publishing great collections of Bronze Age comics by Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Don Newton, Jim Aparo and Marshall Rogers. All of them are dead. With some of them, such as Kirby, their widows are dead, too. They may have children or they may have left behind businesses to manage their estates. I don't know.

If Marvel or DC reprint Kirby's work today, does it owe anyone anything on Kirby's behalf? Or is it free and clear?

Not to sound cynical, but with DC, I can't help but notice that its reprint attentions seem to be lavished especially on artists no longer with us. I wonder if that's cheaper.

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#596150 - 02/25/12 06:00 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Lawson]
ChrisW Offline
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If more Bronze Age creators were dead, DC would probably lavish more attention on the classic comics they created.
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#596153 - 02/25/12 02:08 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Joe Lee Offline
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Originally Posted By: Peter Urkowitz
That ERB, Inc. case is kinda odd, since the earliest John Carter books are in the public domain now, at least in the USA. The trademarks may never die, of course, but Dynamite has at least tried to distinguish their comics from authorized ERB products.

ERB Inc. has done pretty well for itself over the last century, and while I don't begrudge that family its success, eventually it will have to acknowledge the public domain. I wish that a century from now we could be having this discussion about KIRBY Inc. or FRIEDRICH Inc.
I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Usually it's some penniless creator suing Marvel or DC comics for some royalties, as their creation is about to star in a big budget movie. Like Superman, Captain America or Ghost Rider...

The comics are well within the rights of public domain use, as far as I understand it anyway, but I'm a huge supporter of creator's rights. And Burroughs didn't authorize these comics, but just look at your local bookstores has multiple unauthorized reprint versions of old novels now in public domain, including Tarzan and Barsoom.

Plus there was an dreadful, unauthorized movie version called Princess of Mars a few years back.

Is that any different than comics?

I feel like if I support people like Kirby and Friedrich I should be supporting the Burrough's estate on this one too. The owner at the LCS near me, thinks it's because the Dynamite comics are selling better than the Marvel ones. You'd think that would just make them angry at Marvel for not making better comics, or angry at Disney for making them use Marvel.

Seriously, if you see another company selling better, wouldn't he SMART thing be to tell Marvel make better books or we're going to approach Dynamite.

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#596156 - 02/25/12 07:59 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Gerald Offline
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Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
The Marvel Mars comic covers look wack.

Dynamite uses classic Barsoom styled painted covers, as well as doing some good cheese cake ones for the Deja Thoris spin-off.

Probably Disney doesn't want their film to be associated with the more racy Dynamite series and maybe that's part of why the ERB estate is suing.
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#596157 - 02/25/12 08:43 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
MightyQuin Offline
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ERB's lawsuit against Dynamite is detailed pretty well over at The Beat http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/02/17/erb-inc-sues-dynamite-and-company-over-tarzan-and-john-carter/

They claim trademark infringement, unfair competition, and as you surmised, object to something they call Risque Nudes. I only read a couple John Carter books many years ago, but I think most martians, including the 'incomparable Dejah Thoris' are nekkid in the books. It must be the risque part they are objecting to.

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#596159 - 02/26/12 10:31 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MightyQuin]
Joe Lee Offline
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Originally Posted By: MightyQuin
...I think most martians, including the 'incomparable Dejah Thoris' are nekkid in the books. It must be the risque part they are objecting to.
But isn't that part of the whole Public Domain thing? It's part of the original source material. The wholesome Disney versions of Tarzan and Barsoom, are relatively new and are not part of the original works, they are unique to other media and just interpretations, and I would imagine still under copyright protection.

Doesn't Dynamite have to try be as close to the PD versions, while still creating their own interpretation? So being nekkid should work in their favor shouldn't it?

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#596161 - 02/26/12 12:23 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
Alexander Ness Offline
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Registered: 09/17/03
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Loc: Minnesota
mmmmmmm nekkid

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#596162 - 02/26/12 01:34 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
But isn't that part of the whole Public Domain thing?


Intellectual property law in licensed works is a weird thing. Red Sonja in the comics is basically 90% a Roy Thomas creation with very minor connections to the work of REH. If she'd been called Black Sally and debuted in something other than a Conan comic, she'd be a 100% owned Marvel character.

BUT...Red Sonja isn't actually owned by the REH folks either. There's an independent company that owns Red Sonja that is separate from the people who hold the rights to Conan, Kull, etc.

BUT...that independent company licenses the rights to use Hyboria as a setting for Red Sonja stories from the REH people.

Mike

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#596163 - 02/26/12 02:08 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
MightyQuin Offline
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Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 1069
Loc: Tallahassee,FL
Right, lack of and skimpy clothing in Dynamite's ' Mars books ' should actually bring it more in accordance with the original PD material. If ERB's objection is that the treatment of it is more risque, it might be I don't know. I'm not that familiar with either property, but it becomes an obscenity thing, very hard to define and in the eye of the beholder.

I have a feeling the ERB lawyers will rely more on the trademark infringement and unfair competition attack, but being lawyers, they'll throw everything against the wall to see what sticks too. Also as MBunge alludes to, ERB will say they still own parts of the John Carter universe: visualizations, phrases, names besides the later books that aren't in PD. There's such a wealth of material in or coming to PD, I'm interested to see how this plays out!

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#596164 - 02/26/12 05:26 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MightyQuin]
Gerald Offline
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Posts: 1108
So they can only use the characters if they're doing comic adaptations of the public domain novels, but nothing past that?
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#596244 - 03/02/12 11:55 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
So anyone hear anything about Mr. Cage making a new Ghost Rider film?

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#596250 - 03/02/12 01:44 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Gerald]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
Originally Posted By: Gerald
The Marvel Mars comic covers look wack.


It's not just the covers. I took at look at one of the Marvel Mars books while I was at the shop this Wednesday and the art was hideous. It was like that Aeon Flux cartoon that used to be on MTV.

Mike

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#596260 - 03/02/12 04:26 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: MBunge]
Carlton Donaghe Offline
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Registered: 11/23/98
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Loc: the American Desert
It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be Marvel.
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Carlton Donaghe
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#596263 - 03/02/12 04:50 PM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Carlton Donaghe]
Joe Lee Offline
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Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
The old Marvel Mars books were fun, 70s-80s, but the new ones are really bad, I only read one in the store but Mike's right even the interior art was odd.

We were talking about the lawsuit at the LCS, and the owner recommended the Dynamite books, he said they were selling way better than the Marvel one. I picked up a few last week, and I gotta say they are pretty good. I got a Flash Gordon anthology too, some really fun comics. I haven't read the Tarzan one yet.

Seriously, the Burroughs estate may be on great terms with Disney, but they would be better served going to Dynamite with the comics license than suing them.

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#596352 - 03/10/12 12:07 AM Re: Was Gary Friedrich screwed by Marvel? [Re: Joe Lee]
MightyQuin Offline
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Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 1069
Loc: Tallahassee,FL
As referenced earlier in this thread, most characters in Burroughs' Mars books are unclothed, but artists through the decades never drew them that way. Except for this guy brought to light over at The Beat: http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/03/08/the...ou-to-see-nsfw/

He's got an interesting, maybe not polished, style. It's respectful of the original material and I don't find it obscene at all, but as it says in the link, it's NSFW 'cause they're, you know, nekkid. If this is also unsafe for ComiCon, I'll delete it straightaway!

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