Sunday, February 19, 2012

How's That GHOST RIDER Protest Going?

Marvel is suing the man who created its GHOST RIDER property, Gary Friedrich, for $17,000. The movie opened this weekend. For the background on this, please take a look here. You may give to Gary Friedrich here.

Conversation I had Friday at the bank. Maybe I should change banks. That's me in the circle there:

You may give to Gary Friedrich here.

Ink and watercolor on butcher's paper.


Ty Templeton said...

First off Mike, you got your facts wrong. Marvel isn't "suing" Gary Friedrich, they defended themselves from Gary's meritless lawsuit against Marvel, and they were awarded 17,000 dollars by a judge who determined that Gary had illegally pirated Marvel Trademarks and copyrights, and admitted as such during the depositions. That money was RECOVERED by Marvel at the trial, it was not awarded to them as a punishmnent, that's a huge distinction. 2) Gary is not the "creator" of Ghost Rider, but one of at least three co-creators who were all working for Marvel at the time under the direction of a Marvel editor. That makes the character a clear "work for hire", a fact known by all three of Ghost Rider's creators at the time. That's another important distinction that you've made incorrectly. 3) Gary signed not one, but two contracts, relinquishing his rights to the character for fair compensation back in the 70s. There was no coercion or duress when he signed both contracts (Gary testified to that under oath) and he was fairly compensated on both occasions. In fact, the recent lawsuit Gary brought against Marvel were for rights he literally imagined that he had. He believed he'd retained the movie rights to the character despite both contracts clearly stipulating that he did not, and he never discussed these movie imagined rights with anyone at Marvel at the time or since, or never mentioned these imagined rights to anyone else in the ensuing 40 years. He held them literally only in his mind. That's a preposterously weak case to bring to a lawsuit, but Gary did anyway. 4) Gary left Marvel comics as a writer because of personal problems, not because of a dispute between he and Marvel, and at the time of Gary's leaving, Ghost Rider was not a popular character, who ended up in cancellation. It was later creators who brought value to the character, and enhanced this Marvel brand to the point that it was popular enough for a film franchise. Gary is suing Marvel (and has promised to appeal this latest decision) either because he's getting terrible legal advice, or isn't willing to let go this idea, no matter what the evidence. As sympathetic a character as Gary Friedrich is, everything that has happened to him has happened because of bad decisions he's made, and not because Marvel has misbehaved in the slightest. You have fallen victim to bad information, internet rumor and anti-Marvel hype. In fact, the very story you link to includes some of the correct version of facts you got incorrect. You may or may not dislike Marvel for all sorts of reasons, but their behaviour in the Gary Friedrich case cannot sensibly by one of them, as Marvel has not harmed Gary Friedrich one iota. Not one.

Ty Templeton. Crusader for truth.

Mike Lynch said...


I want to thank Ty (a cartoonist I admire) for spending so much time on a Sunday letting me know I have "fallen victim to bad information, internet rumor and anti-Marvel hype."

Of course, this is embarrassing. I now wonder if I am a dupe.

Any opposing views?

Jim Keefe said...

Having had an artist alley table at numerous conventions I'd like to chime in.

in regards to Marvel recovering money the judge decided they were owed, I think this decision is a huge game changer. You walk down any artist alley aisle and there are a TON of prints, sketchbooks, etc being sold that are trading off on copyrighted images the artist at that table has no legal rights to be hawking.

With this decision artists would be wise to start being more proactive and not play so loose with copyright law. I've always been very up front with King Features in regards to what I sell at conventions, in some cases a payment is made for the use of a Flash Gordon image. The days of the "gentleman's agreement" between the publisher and artist alley are over.

-Jim Keefe

Dan Reynolds said...

I WAS going to make certain comments re: this, but now I see, after reading Ty's comments, it wold make no sense.
Surfing the internet is like driving a definitely has it's blind side. There are some things you can just never be sure you're seeing correctly.
From what Ty says, it sounds like this was handled correctly. I can say from my own experience that I have people over the globe ripping me off EVERY day. I think there can be a certain level of parody, but I think it's clearly infringement when someone uses your ACTUAL work and makes money from it. That's a no brainer, however I do realize there are lots of people who don not HAVE brains so they STILL don't get the infringement concept.

skarab said...

Still. I just sent Gary twenty five bucks.