Confront Marvel Comics

Hello all,
I’m not really a comic-book fan, but this just crossed my radar and I think it’s of interest to most everyone here. Marvel Comics has successfully sued the creator of their popular “Ghost Rider” character for $17,000. He is already poor. The settlement also states that he’s not allowed to make any money from the character. Naturally, since you are all artists yourselves, I think you can sympathize with this appalling behavior. So here’s a petition…generally I don’t think that petitioning corporations helps much, but at least it’s something.

These jerks forgot what things were like in the old days, it’s a shame. I lost what little respect I had for Lucas after seeing this crap

It is rather amazing to me why anyone in this world draws comics. I have been to ComicCon in San Diego many times and watched in wonder as these people “just do it,” and yet, to them, it’s just a job. But “it’s just a job” to them be-cause they derive no financial compensation at all from anything that they do, beyond their very temporal salaries; whereas their employers, who contribute absolutely nothing to the creative work itself, will make a fortune in perpetuity.

This, quite frankly, is why I never decided to try to make my living in the creative arts: the game is rigged against you. If you are the one who actually came up with the ideas, drew the lines, painted the cels, did all the work … and what you get is a paycheck … and someone else, whose only claim to riches is that his name is on that copyright registration, has that mansion in the foothills for his children’s children’s children … WTF?!

I can’t retire on my copyrights, but, by gawd, the few ones that I do own … they’re mine and no one else’s.

Disgusting is what it is, I haven’t bought anything Marvel for years so I guess I don’t change much there but I did sign the petition :stuck_out_tongue:

Its not disgusting, its business. If an artist wants to have piece of the pie they needed to negotiate that when they contracted with the company. Unless the artist has already made a name for themselves a good weekly pay check is probably the best they can hope for.

Business is business right? I loathe people who use that kind of garbage argument when hard working honest folk are bleeded for everything they have. I see it every week at least where I live. They should have prepared their life better right, they should have gone to college right, they should have piled up the money for their health care 20 years earlier, right?

Life deals some people really bad cards and neither you nor I have ANY real justification to downplay their way of trying to cope with it.

Go to hell.

I am well aware that life is unfair, I was born with a serious heart condition. But this isn’t about life in general. The comic book business is a business like any other. Anything an employee creates for a company belongs to that company. That is basic work for hire law.

If he created the character while working for Marvel Comics, it would depend on the contract he would’ve signed, I believe there are some contracts out there that say that anything you create for the company while working with them belongs to the company.

Now if he only created the character for his own interests and Marvel is just suing him because he was working for the company despite him not creating the character for their profit, then there would be a possible issue.

He doesn’t own any rights to the Ghost Rider character, I don’t believe there is a dispute about that. From a cursery glance at the links Marvel are objecting to him earning money at conventions etc by the fact that he is claiming to be the creator of the character (which as far as I can see he was)

Slightly harsh, but I absolutely agree.
What I don’t understand is, if the argument holds that anything a creator creates while working for the company is the property of the company, then why does the company not own the children of the employee conceived while the employee is on at that particular corporation. After all, corporations are people (according to the US Supreme Court…) too, right?

The thing that gauls me about bills like SOPA and other attempts to “make the internet safe for intellectual content creators” is that that argument is a whitewash also, and cases like this with Marvel prove it. As has been mentioned, creation is a rigged game. The artist spends his life starving, living only to bring their ideas to life, to create something new, hoping against hope that they “get discovered” someday by some fat bald rich bastard who will hand them a contract and get their album/book/film/game/whatever out there to be sucked down by the millions. The notion is that, at least, the years of starvation will end and the artist will get to create in peace without fear of scarcity.
And IT WOULD BE NICE if bills like SOPA really were intended to protect the rights of creators of films/books/shows/songs/sculpture/etc. But that isn’t what it’s about.
It’s about those rich fat balding guys, who have never created anything in their lives, and their right to monopolize on other people’s creative work by destroying YOUR right to privacy and the ability of anyone to move around freely on the internet.
This is a truly ridiculous world we are living in.

then why does the company not own the children of the employee conceived while the employee is on at that particular corporation
Only if concieved in business hours

Then I think there are many children who would actually fit the bill, at least if some of the news stories I’ve heard in recent years are any indicator…

I’m at a loss, I don’t remember hearing any cases where an employer has tried to legally claim the children of their employees. (not in my lifetime at least)

Anyway, it seems the point of this thread is people trying to get Marvel to respect the artists who created their characters as the creator of that character, which I would in this part agree with.

As for rich guys handing prospective artists a contract that results in the artist getting into situations like seen in this thread, the only thing I can say is that you should be careful to never sign those things on impulse, take it home, read the text, and always read the fine print. I do think it is possible that there have been artists over the decades who have indeed signed without reading it. The problem here would be if the company itself violated what was in the contract or the company misleads the artist by putting in statements it never planned to follow, which even then you might be able to find possible indications of such like statements that sound too good to be true.

I have done a bit of research on the character of “Ghost Rider” and found that Marvel may well be in their rights to claim Mr. Friedrich did not create it. The basic idea was given to him by an editor as a possible villain for DareDevil. Mr. Friedrich built upon the idea making the character interesting enough to warrant making it a dark hero type and give it its own comic. At best Mr. Friedrich could be consider a co-creator. Furthermore, as suspected, the character has been trademarked by Marvel (like many of their characters). To retain a trademark a company is legally bound to aggressively enforce and protect that trademark. Marvel may feel waving the settlement amount could jeopardize their trademark and simply won’t take that chance.

I liked the ghost rider movie with it’s special effects and good storyline.

No, no, Ace. I haven’t heard of Corporations claiming the children of employees (you have to go back to the times of Slavery for such a thing, as far as I can tell…)
What I meant is that I’ve heard plenty of news reports of people indulging in Mankind’s Oldest Sport while on the job.
However, watching the news, I’m struck, especially lately, by the old Writer’s Axiom: “You can’t make this stuff up!” Especially when it comes to American politics (and no, I’m not trying to start a political discussion on BA. Obviously that’s to be avoided like the Plague…) I constantly find myself feeling that, no matter how absurd some story idea is that I might come up with, it’s simply tame compared to the absurdity of modern life. I’ve decided that, when it comes to writing, I’m simply going to embrace the absurd from here on out, since my best attempts at creating the most “absurd” plot will eventually pale in comparison to how absurd actual life is becoming in the world.
That’s why I’m CERTAIN that, at some point in the near future, you will start seeing MANY news reports about American corporations claiming the offspring of their employees as property of the corporation. And, since corporations are officially “people” in America (according to the US Supreme Court) there could be huge benefits to the corporation in doing this. It could be a way around anti-cloning legislation, and it would be a perfect solution for corporations seeking not to have to pay “death taxes” (also known as “the Estate Tax”)…
For any writer with an over-abundance of imagination, this little seed could be the beginnings of a hell of a story. In fact, I’d be surprised if it didn’t soon find its way into comic books… in which the people who actually created the characters and story never see a dime for their work…

Either way it’s bad PR for Marvel, let the guy go to conventions and stir up enthusiasm for a character. Everybody is happy and Marvel doesn’t look like a bunch of jerks.

That’s what I don’t get. You would think that anyone running such a famous company would, if they had a brain, realize that Ghostrider is a major movie franchise now (although I’m not sure why people pay money to watch Nick Cage do or say anything…) and would therefore hire the artist back as a spokesman or something. All they would have to pay him to do would be to go to conventions and do what comic people do, talk. Tell funny stories. Be nostalgic. Half the time, that’s why people love comics so much, because of things they heard the creators say at a convention. I’m still a huge Battlestar fan (the remake, not so much the old one with Dirk), and one of the coolest things for me was seeing YouTube videos of the cast at different cons, talking to Kevin Smith about the funny stories and inside jokes they had together while working on that show. It really heightens the experience of such a thing for everyone, gives it a very “family” sort of atmosphere, makes it feel like something you’re happy to follow.
Unfortunately, it would cost money to have the artist work as a PR guy, so I guess sueing him to make him shut up about creating the character, or anything else, is just “good for the bottom line.”
It makes me wonder if the first step to establishing any sort of utopian civilization as presented in Star Trek etc, wouldn’t just be to take all the business managers and their drones out and shoot them. This comment will inspire plenty of angry retorts, I know. But a guy can dream, right?
The odd part is, it sounds like the beginning of several good Twilight Zone episodes. Hmmm. Well, I guess it’s just a good start for sci-fi stories. Our world is run by the business drones. It’s more likely that they are all that would be left if it all hits the fan. They have the money and “connections” to ensure a spot in the fallout shelters…

Sorry for the outburst. I usually start hyperventilating when I hear stuff like this.

At the moment we are at a difficult transition phase toward a world united. Large companies strive as a whole to transfer all of the world’s capital into a single entity thus providing the means of restructuring and channeling both manpower and resources into bringing humanity into a kind of utopia. No more wars, hunger and suffering.

Survival of the fittest. You need a lot of drive and ambition (and talent) to make it into the top tier positions of society. Your Star Trek utopia will only be realized through a competitive and creative environment. Luckily, a number of thought schools has actually helped us justify the fact that we can suppress our moral obligations for the benefit of man as a whole. I kind of blame Gnosticism’s justification for the existence of both right and wrong as portrayed by Hollywood and other more mainstream thought processes.

It’s always funny to me when people complain about other people’s suffering like we should do something about it. For millions of years we were subjugated to all kinds of environmental factors that contributed to our amazing rise. Some species died out because they couldn’t adapt (sometimes out of sheer bad luck). We have millions of years of ingrained thought (instincts) and fine tuning by mother nature and the fact is we could go so much further if we just let ourselves.

But no, we need to carry along these useless eaters. Get rid of them and we can take our place amongst the stars.