Everyone knows Stan Lee had a major hand in the creation of some of the greatest comic book characters of all time. But few people know about the individual comic writers and artists who are responsible for the superhero graphic novels that were later adapted into movies for the MCU and DCEU. Those writers and artists rarely see a dime from the billions of dollars such movies make at the box office. In a new column for BleedingCool, Ben 10 co-creator Steven T. Seagle criticized the way movie studios sideline the hard work of the people in the comics industry.
"No... "Thank You" is not enough. I have grown weary of watching superhero, and other comic book originated genre blockbuster films and TV shows and seeing the very last credit be a swath of inspirational comic book creators lumped together for the non-credit "credit" of "thanks" while others take credit for concrete, tangible aspects of that film or TV show that was whole-cloth cut from the work of the people left holding the "thanks." And then the inevitable list of people the production forgot to give even a "Thanks" to while fully remembering to make use of their ideas."
The issue of giving credit for superhero movies has long been a point of contention. Since the company DC Comics holds the rights to characters like Superman and Batman, it gets credited for creating the characters, when in reality, the characters were created by artists like Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Such artists struggle to get any compensation for their work beyond the standard freelancer fee from the company, even as the company makes billions based on their ideas. According to Steven T. Seagle, tacking on a "special thanks" to the comic artists in the end credits is not nearly enough of a payback for their contributions.
"The idea that some creators are flattered enough by seeing their name "up there" - anywhere on screen has led mega-productions to do exactly that. "See your name?! You're welcome!" But the fact is, those original ideas are in the very DNA of these big productions. They're not the inspirational afterthought; they are the thought itself. The film or TV series would not hold the shape it does without those original creators' ideas. The actors would often not play the characters the way they do without the original conception. The fan base gravitating to those original elements in the film or TV show out of a sense of nostalgia is specifically geeking out over the preceding work's presence. The new fans responding to the film or TV show are often responding to story beats, character tropes, plots, and visual designs that worked in the original telling of the stories and are working the same way again."
In the rest of the article, Seagle repeats his point that comic book creators deserve remuneration in proportion to the success of the film that was made based on their characters and creations. While the demand seems logical enough, it will be a long and hard road towards getting Hollywood studios to agree to it, as that would entail their having to share in the profits from their movies with the comic artists. And if there is one thing the history of Hollywood has taught us, studios absolutely hate parting with their cash. This news first broke at Bleeding Cool.