There's a lot of talk lately about the treatment of creators in the comic book industry. As superhero movies continue to be the biggest events in Hollywood, fans have wondered what sort of compensation the actual creators of these characters might receive. It's a tough subject, and too often the work-for-hire creators get completely screwed out of the billions their characters earn for big corporations. There have been some victories - I have been told that the Kirby and Simon estates see money every time Captain America shows up anyplace - but it still feels as though perhaps the creators aren't quite getting their due.
An LA Times article shows how much the creators are not getting their due.
Spoilers for The Avengers follow.
Jim Starlin, the man who created Thanos - the mystery villain in the film's end credits - saw no money from the movie. "Financial compensation to the creators of these characters doesn’t appear to be part of the equation," he says. There are some (people who mysteriously side with super-rich giant corporations) who will reply "Tough titty, guy, you signed the contract, no matter how exploitative it was." Sure. But what about this:
"[T]his is the second film that had something I created for Marvel in it — the Infinity Gauntlet in “Thor” being the other – and both films I had to pay for my own ticket to see them."
That kind of sucks, doesn't it? Setting aside any larger issues about what is the right thing to do when it comes to compensating these creators for characters who earn so much money, shouldn't Marvel Studios and Disney at least INVITE THEM TO A SCREENING? The film screened for press in every single reasonably-sized city in America. At the very least Starlin should be getting invites to any screening near his home. It's just a common courtesy.
So come on, Marvel and Disney - even if you aren't going to pay creators for their creations, at least give them a free screening. And maybe even a popcorn and a soda - if that doesn't hurt the film's BILLION DOLLAR take too much.
By the way, Starlin thought Thanos was a little too purple:
"My only surprise when I saw Thanos up on the screen was how violet he was. I always saw his exposed hide as being more grayish violet. I’ve only seen the film once and the Mad Titan appears quite briefly, but I had the impression he could perhaps use a bit more chin, but I could be wrong about that. I liked the voice."