Friday, May 01, 2015

UPDATED Gerry Conway: DC Allegedly Uses Spurious Logic to Screw Creators

Comics writer Gerry Conway, who created hundreds of characters while writing comic books for DC, writes at his Conway's Corner Tumblr about not being compensated for a character he created for THE FLASH TV show, and DC's policy of not paying creators.

First, if you created a character while working at DC, you need to send them a letter requesting equity participation. You need to send them one letter for each character you feel you created. And you have to do it before that character appears in a TV show or another form of media. If you wait, and see your character on TV -- it's too late.

And if DC disagrees, then, well, that's that. No equity participation.

Another thing: DC has decided that "derivative characters" are not actually "created." Here's an example that Mr. Conway writes about:

What, exactly, is DC’s definition of a “derivative” character? 
It’s a character that DC decides was “derived” from some other previously existing character. 
For example, Power Girl– “derived” from Superman, because, like Supergirl, she’s a relative of Superman. Which means I can’t claim to be her co-creator because Superman is a pre-existing character. Fair enough, I suppose. The logic here is that Superman is the original creation, so Power Girl is derived from that original creation, so in effect, Power Girl is an extension of Superman, which means, by this tortured logic, that Power Girl was more or less created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

People want stuff for free, and that includes corporations. Oh heck, the Supreme Court says corporations, like Warner Communications, which owns DC Entertainment, IS a person.

So, yes, EVERYBODY wants stuff for free.

So … the other people -- those special, crazy, wonderful creative people -- who create stuff for a living -- are being attacked in small and large ways.

Incrementally, I am seeing my work, and the work of my colleagues, being taken without my knowledge and permission.

But let's get this straight: It's OK if somebody takes a cartoon of mine and shares it on social media. They are showing it for fun. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are just the new way of cutting out a cartoon and putting it on the fridge.

But when corporations and their lawyers conspire to destroy any incentive for a creator to create (i.e. that want all rights forever and not pay the creator a dime), what then? They should know better. They are cutting their own throats.

So … should cartoonists and writers boycott ARROW and THE FLASH?

More anon ….


Neal Adams Talks Gerry Conway, DC Comics and Who Owns What


Bob Buethe said...

This gets even more confusing. In 1978, Gerry Conway created the villainess "Killer Frost," whose true identity was Dr. Crystal Frost. This character was eventually killed off. But in 2013, writer Dan Jurgens introduced a new Killer Frost (the third, actually; there was another one in between) named Caitlin Snow.

So Gerry Conway created Killer Frost, but not Caitlin Snow. The Caitlin Snow on the Flash TV show is not, and may or may not ever become, Killer Frost.

So what, exactly, is the claim? That the TV show has a character whose name is the same as a character who was a derivative of a character that he created? I'm not arguing one way or the other, just observing how convoluted this can get.

Bob Buethe said...

OK, disregard pretty much all of what I just said. Gerry covered it all in his post. For some reason, I didn't get all of it the first time I clicked on the link. Never mind.