Wake Up, Sneaker Pimps!
It’s somewhat daunting to be reminded of fellow colleagues in the creator community defending DC and Marvel, during heated debates on the “creator revolution” (I wonder what happened to that, or did some of the comics press effectively kill it by turning a blind eye to the real debate?), against my charges of their mistreatment of creators as being the root cause for their intentionally keeping the industry in a constant decline mode.
But every once in a while a series of events converge to give us a clearer picture of the ugly practices of major publishers, relative to creators who are the source and cause of their success, and who are mostly discarded like bloody rags when they’ve been sucked dry of stories and properties with which publishers build their empires.
At Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston reports about the Kirby Estate losing the Summary Judgement against Marvel for Entitlement to Termination of properties that Kirby co-created with Stan Lee. He posted the entire document of the ruling which is a revealing statement on the mitigating conditions creators work under, relative to Intellectual Property rights they should ostensibly have a legal avenue by which to reclaim. Looks like it was an easy win for Marvel who can now be even more emboldened against such future claims.
And in contrast, over on Tom Spurgeon’s The Comics Reporter, he posts links to two articles by creators, revealing a realization and fighting spirit that we can hope to see more of, and touching on mitigating instances of publishers’ behavior towards writers and artists:
1. WAKE UP: Matt Seneca on a Marvel tribute to Gene Colan in Daredevil.
2011-: It isn’t the tribute itself, which is a touching example of hearts in the right place and even carries traces of what seems like genuine emotion at points. It’s what it stands for: a tiny gesture of remote pity by an immortal giant watching the lives of the people who built it pass more quickly than they should. It is a hypocritical expression. A lie.
This is what happens to the lives that give themselves to the world’s most beautiful medium. This is what working in comics does to people.
Something is wrong.
2. SNEAKER PIMPS: Warren Ellis on publishers lying to and pitting creators against each other.
Not only are they fostering a creative condition where even Eddie fucking Campbell can’t triumph, but they are finding new and interesting ways to piss off more people than they’re hiring. Now, comics has no shortage of resentful people – but do you really want to create exponentially more? People who can identify the exact individuals who fucked them over, and wait?
Commercial comics can be enough of a snakepit even in relatively benign times. But bringing back a process both demeaning and creatively inferior, and just fucking lying to people about it? I don’t like what that says about the next cycle in the field. I guess the Nineties really are coming back.
If the Kirby judgement is any indication, and it certainly seems to be, it looks like things will get worse before they get any better. But will this help awaken the comics community, creators, fandom and press alike, to overcome an overriding complacency we continue to try to resist?
Or will we be forever wooed by 52 Relaunches and Retailer Gimmicks meant to divert attention away from the more sinister reasons for the decline of the printed comic book?