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Gerry Conway (Power-Girl, Firestorm creator) slams DC over ownership rights


#1

Gerry is one of my heroes. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with him in Los Angeles a couple of years back too and he’s as great as I wanted him to be.

He creator Power-Girl, Firestorm and a clutch of other DC characters which have been exploited in cartoon and TV shows over the years, possibly having created more successful characters in the DCU than anyone since the main characters had face-lifts in the Silver. Now he’s being treated like this. It’s so shoddy and disrespectful. Spread the word:

MM


#2

Spot on comments by Mr. Conway!


#3

Gerry Conway is one of those writers who I loved before I even knew that someone wrote the comics. He wrote the Death of Gwen Stacy for crying out loud. I read about this and I’m really unhappy that he’s being messed about.


#4

I wonder if this has less to do with Paul Levitz and more to do with the fallout from the Superboy case. It’s certainly not fair but it sounds like DC is being overly controlled by their legal department.


#5

This is especially disheartening considering that relatively recently there are such stories about how Lucius Fox in the Nolan Bat-films paid for a new house etc.

The madness is that they could introduce any characters with a “background/identity tweak” and thus cut everyone out.


#6

Who received payment for Lucius Fox? Was he created after participation started? I had dinner with Denny O’Neil around the time of Batman Begins. He said he got no participation from Ra’s Al Ghul but DC did throw him the novelization job. Still not the best situation but he sounded OK with it. It’s possible that Ra’s was just created before participation started.

I think the problem isn’t that they introduced a character with a “background/identity tweak” on the show. It’s that the characters they created are now considered derivative of another character. It stems from the Siegels case to try to reclaim rights to Superboy since he was created under different circumstances than Superman. The courts deemed that he was a derivative character of Superman and therefore connected to the ownership of that character. It sounds like this is being applied very liberally now. This sounds like legal advice. DC really needs someone higher up advocating for the rights of their creators.


#7

Len Wein.

And yeah, you’re right. But they could create more derivatives of the original created characters, like Killer Frost. If they were so inclined.


#8

It looks like Ra’s was created in 1971 and Lucius was 1979. So the participation must have started somewhere in the middle. I’m surprised there aren’t stronger advocates for this sort of thing.

In my line of work, it depends on which company you work for as to whether you’re offered participation in your creations. My company does not. However, I feel that my job is a bit different in that I am compensated better on the front end and have more security than most comic creators working as freelancers.

I would like to see Robert Kirkman’s ideas for comics come true. Creators start at the Big 2 and cut their teeth there. Then, they move on to creator-owned work. I like that the Chief offers the security for artists to be able to make this leap. I feel like he’s given so many people their “fuck you money” to be able to choose what they want to do.


#9

A lot was Paul Levitz Ronnie, many have acknowledged he made agreements where legality was beside the point.


#10

I don’t disagree with that completely. Shooter did some similar things at Marvel. The Superboy case has just set a different precedent in the interim that complicates that matter along with DC moving more towards a larger entertainment business rather than just comics. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t agree with it but I don’t think even Levitz could fight corporate legal on this one.


#11

It must be difficult, in a business where one tries to work with friends or at least to be friendly, to speak harshly about those who pay the money. So few get the shot at going pro, when one gets there, there is a strong tendency to walk the company line. Even if it’s a dozen companys at once. Then comes protectiveness of fans and protecting of the industry itself. Marvel was sinking, inches from bankruptcy, when they began carving up the characters. Share profits with the creators? Why? We paid them for their work! So what if there were no benefits nor is there a mechanism for complaining about it.

Hmmm. Does DC or Marvel have an H.R. department? I doubt it!


#12

The abolutely will have a HR department, but they’d only handle the full-time staff, who’ll be editorial, management, executive and whatever support they need. Comics creators are independent contractors and as such aren’t employees of Marvel or DC.