The Flash has been a big hit for The CW, giving the network a one-two superhero punch alongside Arrow, both of which are based on popular characters from the DC Comics. Along with Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), several other characters have their roots in the original comic books, such as Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and a slew of villains who pop up every week. While comic book fans will surely recognize these characters, as it turns out, their creators apparently aren't getting what they deserve, in terms of their characters being used on a TV series like The Flash.
Comic book legend Gerry Conway explained that DC set up a program several years ago, where the creators of comic book characters would be entitled to a share of revenue from adaptations created in other forms of media. However, that program seemed to dissipate when DC Comics turned into DC Entertainment, which became a part of Warner Bros. Gerry Conway also learned that he now had to request an equity participation contract in writing before that character appeared in another form of media, since they wouldn't issue payments retroactively. However, Gerry Conway adds that even if he did turn in the paperwork on time, DC could still deem that his creation is "derivative," and he isn't owed any compensation.
As it pertains to The Flash, Gerry Conway co-created the original version of Killer Frost with Al Migrom in 1978, who went by secret identity Crystal Frost. During DC's New 52 reboot, Crystal Frost was then changed to Caitlin Snow, created by Sterling Gates and Derlis Santacruz, but, Gerry Conway reveals in a new blog post on his Tumblr page, none of these writers are receiving credit or compensation for use of Caitlin Snow on The Flash. Here's an excerpt from Gerry Conway's blog post below.
"Let's say DC agrees you created a character, like, for example, Killer Frost. In your original creation, Killer Frost had a secret identity named Crystal Frost. Later, a "new" Killer Frost is created for the New 52, and this new Killer Frost has a secret identity named Caitlin Snow. You'll be pleased to hear (I hope) that DC agrees I and Al Milgrom are the co-creators of all manifestations of "Killer Frost." We are also considered the co-creators of Crystal Frost. And, of course, by the twisted logic that credits Power Girl as a derivation of Superman, Al and I must also be the creators of Killer Frost's New 52 secret identity, Caitlin Snow. Right? No. We're not. And DC insists we are not. And I agree with DC. Caitlin Snow was created by Sterling Gates and Derlis Santacruz. Except, according to DC Entertainment, she wasn't. Because she was "derived" from the original creation of Killer Frost. Which means Al Milgrom and I created her. Except, according to DC Entertainment, we didn't. Nobody created her. Or, rather, nobody gets credit and creator equity participation for creating her. And that, my friends, is truly obnoxious and despicable."
Gerry Conway went on to call DC's tactics, "marvelous catch-22 that allows them to cheat creators by using both sides of an argument to serve DC's interests." Of course, Caitlin Snow has yet to transform into Killer Frost yet on The Flash, but that certainly may happen either at the end of this season or in The Flash Season 2. Rob Liefeld, who created Deadpool, X-Force and a number of other popular comics, also responded to Gerry Conway's blog post with his own stories about creator compensation, which you can check out below. What do you think about what Gerry Conway has to say? Chime in with your thoughts below.
I'm glad that legendary creator @gerryconway brought this to light today in his blog. The "derivative" is a way to screw creators.— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) April 29, 2015
My female rendition of Dove, previously a boy, is considered a "derivative". I also do not get paid for Kestrel, the villain I co-created.— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) April 29, 2015
Somehow, I think that Frank Miller gets compensation for his "derivative" Carrie Kelly. Hmmmmmmm......— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) April 29, 2015