Saturday, April 05, 2014


Mephisto by Neal Adams and Joe Sinnott from Thor #180.
I'm with people who rail at DC and Marvel for their gross mistreatment of creators like Siegel & Shuster, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko when it comes to proper crediting and compensation. There really should be more of a hue and cry from the comic community. Yes, there should be. When Stan Lee and current creators are dropped in for cameos in the Marvel films, fans love that stuff yet they fail to understand why it's another slap in the face to those who feel under compensated.

That said, I'm in the crowd who's been waiting for these Marvel movies for decades. Ever since the days of Stan's Soapbox in the 70s where he hawked potential Spider-Man and Silver Surfer films. Remember that? I do. That's why when I saw Sam Raimi's first Spidey film I was a ten year-old kid reveling in watching the webslinger swing through the canyons of Manhattan. The X-Men grabbed my attention, too. That was my favorite comic, the Claremont/Byrne/Austin/Orzechowski/Glynis run.  I was a subscriber and my comics arrived mailed flat in a brown wrapper that slid right off. The cover reveal was almost always a 'holy shit' moment.

But the failure to compensate beyond token credit was already in full swing and Stan himself was taking credit for nearly everything. And he continued to do so here and there. The beginning of the Internet saw revisions of history presented as fact.

Is it bad that I want to see the Marvel movies despite the failure of Marvel as a company and now their owners as a corporation haven't made these things right? That in fact they are actively fighting against sharing anything other than a token 'created by' credit in the films? Yes.

I go see the films anyway. I've even purchased a few of them. I'm a Marvel Zombie when it comes to this, I can't help it.

I'm also with the Northwestern football players who want to unionize. All they really want, it seems to me, is to ensure that if they're hurt they are taken care of and even allowed to finish getting a degree. Scholarships aren't free rides to college. They aren't even guaranteed four years any more, apparently. They're renewed from year to year. And some of the guys who get these scholarships are reading at a third to fifth grade level. Some of them are enrolled in a course of study they didn't choose.  And some of those classes don't even meet.

Go figure.

The common denominator is money. Big Money. BIG Big Money. Think about how many people fill those football stadiums - tens of thousands. Those tickets ain't cheap, folks.

The box office for the Marvel movies is huge, too. The comics not so much, but the movies rake it in hand over fist. The ancillary items (shirts, toys, etc...) also rake the money in.

But the creators of the comics the movies are based on and the players who draw the crowds don't see much, if any, of that BIG Big Money. They are treated as sub-contractors or employees and have no health care, no benefits beyond the pay. When your career is over, it's over and done. The creators and the so-called student athletes are getting short shrift and the general public don't want to be informed so they don't have to care.

Because if they cared they would be denied their entertainments. We would be denied our entertainments.

If I'm honest, I cringe every time I sit down to watch a superhero movie whether it's Marvel or DC. But I don't stop because I love the characters and I'm drawn to the movies. Every college basketball game I watch I should turn off because I know some of those guys aren't getting the education that they should, even the ones who leave after a year or two. In fact, they didn't get an education going into college. They're woefully underprepared for college. But they can play ball.

So I should stop. I really should.

But I can't. Well, I probably won't. But I should.


Mike Sullivan said...

So, the devil you know, Jason? Is that what the Mephisto image represents?

I'm with you on the credit-where-credit-is-due department on these characters. I can only assume that it is this way with most big budget movie properties. I don't know. I don't investigate further. I'm already depressed.

And, yes, I'll go to these movies. Most of them, probably. Not the new Spider-man stuff. I stepped away from that. Thought I was done with the X-Men movies (okay, the Wolverine movies. I still want to see an X-MEN movie).

You should stop. I should too. But what would we do otherwise?


Jason Arnett said...

Well, Mike, (and thanks for stopping by to comment!) Mephisto and Loki make great stand ins for Marvel and Disney, don't they?

The last Spider-Man movie I saw was the one with Doc Ock and that was the better of the two as far as I'm concerned. I watched about ten minutes of the reboot and decided 'meh' was my attitude. That said, I saw the trailer for the new Spider-Man and maybe it'll be good but I'll wait for reviews.

I don't immerse myself in Variety to know who makes how much in film, I don't care enough to do that. My point is that when someone's making millions of the work of someone else -whether it's writer, artist, quarterback or point guard - money should change hands. It's business after all.

The X-Men movie looks terrific. So does Godzilla. But Captain America was great. It owed a lot to the Bourne movies - as much as it did to the comics - and it was a terrific thriller with lots of action and [gasp] actual character development.

When Hollywood is finally done with superheroes, Cap 2 will stand alongside the great comics films like Superman The Movie and The Dark Knight.

As for what we'd do? Well, I'd hope there'd be original stories to fill the void and college players who could read and cared enough to get a four-year education.

But wish in one hand and spit in the other...