Here’s an interesting thought.
Fandom has never been cooler or more engaged. Readers know everything that’s going on at every level of the industry because of the democratisation of information via so many different multimedia operations. But I wonder… do fans still care about creator rights like they did in the past?
I bring it up because I was flicking through some old fanzines from when I was a kid and every other article was about mistreatment of comic book professionals by big companies. The campaign to get Kirby his artwork back was a huge deal when I was a teenager and there was a lot of talk about what Adams had done for Superman’s creators when he shamed DC into giving them a modest pension and an invite to the 1978 movie premiere.
This was all very evident on the cooler edges of fandom in the late 80s especially where being a Marvel fan in particular was a very derogatory term and editorial could even be hate figures. But it was actually quite a shock to read through all this old stuff because if anything the IP has become even more valuable with the billions generated from TV, games, merch and movies making this all SO much more valuable when so many of the people behind it are impoverished or close to it. A stark moment for me was Green Lantern’s creators not even getting a credit on the movie, which seemed an especially retrograde step given that even Superman’s creators were eventually credited in 1978. The excuse was that that FOUR creators (instead of the usual two) were behind the two incarnations of Green Lantern, but the obviously answer to that of course was simply four names in the credits.
But it’s interesting how different internet journalism is now. The Woodward and Bernsteinism of the Comics Journal era - where the big companies were under constant scrutiny - seems to have given way to something a little more press-release orientated. Do we need fans to be radicalised again? I dunno. But it’s interesting to read through those old mags and what a very different comics press existed. Have we as fans maybe been TAMED a little too much? Has corporate loyalty replaced creator rights? I’m watching Daredevil and loving it like Sopranos or The Wire, but a big part of me feels uneasy when I don’t see Frank Miller’s name in those credits when pretty much every scene in season one comes from his 1980s run and the Man Without Fear graphic novel.
We live in the time of the Twitter crusade and yet fandom is very, very quiet on these things now, just happy to watch a good TV show.
I see a good discussion here. What’s your feelings on all this?