In a tale as old as time itself, the creators of comic book characters are criticising Marvel and DC over their unfair pay. Ed Brubaker, the creator behind Winter Soldier, recently spoke about how little Marvel paid him for creating the character.
Brubaker isn’t alone though, as numerous writers have spoken against Marvel and DC over pay. The frustration seems to be that many characters now go on to be part of huge multi-billion deals, with the original creator seeing a fraction of the money.
Artists have been signed out of money on numerous occasions, including the original creators of Superman. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character in 1938 and sold it for a meagre $130, an amount that seems tiny in comparison to the money Superman went on to gross.
The recent boom in value for the industry is likely what has spawned the discussion again. Disney, DC and other businesses are making billions of the back of creators, so it;s only fair that those creators receive the right numeration for the work they have done.
Fatman Beyond Podcast
Brubaker made the comments about pay while speaking to Kevin Smith and Marc Bernadin on the Fatman Beyond podcast. “I have made more on SAG residuals than I have made on creating the character,” commented Brubaker.
This was in reference to his cameo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), for which he received Screen Actors Guild pay.Those receiving SAG will earn continual pay on subsequent reruns and viewings of films or TV shows. Similar to how musicians earn license fees when their music is used commercially.
Businesses like Marvel and DC aren’t obligated to pay artists for their work once an initial deal has been made. Studios will, however, send thank you payments to creators, as a way of keeping them happy. DC is known for typically paying better in this regard, but it still isn’t enough according to many creators.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Comic creator Jim Starlin publicly outed Disney’s poor record on payments back in 2017. Starlin highlighted how DC had paid him more for a minor character in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice than Marvel did for creating Thanos, Gamora and Drax combined.
This led Disney to negotiate his deal, however it’s an indictment of how little some businesses are paying creators for their artistry.
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