WLG #396: Creator Rights

A column article by: Matt Spatola

Creator rights.

The last couple of weeks they have seemed to have been the dominant news story in comics. And those stories came at the subject from different angles.

When Before Watchmen was announced and finally confirmed the years of Watchmen sequel rumors there were many different emotional responses. Many readers were of the belief that the seminal work should be left as a standalone graphic novel and that by ‘muddying the waters’ with the amount of prequel miniseries, the original work by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons loses some of its luster. As expected this is something that Moore himself has repeatedly stated through the years. Also the news reminded fans of the contract dispute Moore has had with DC in regards to Watchmen that basically once the book was out of print for a year ownership of the work would revert back to Moore and Gibbons. This was a contract created and signed before anyone had the idea that trade paperbacks would be the huge part of publishing that they are today. Watchmen will never be out of print and never be owned by them.

The plight of Gary Freidrich in his lawsuit with Marvel is another story that seems to have been going for years. After losing his bid to regain some ownership and copyright of Ghost Rider Marvel won a countersuit judgment in the amount of $17,000 for profits he gained from selling Ghost Rider prints at conventions the last years. Many creators took to the ‘net in support of Freidrich and in disappointment of Marvel in the face of that judgment. Several different donation drives were created to help Freidrich, such as this one from author Steve Niles: http://www.steveniles.com/gary.html.

And finally came the one that I saw coming a long time ago. Right before the weekend we all learned that Tony Moore, the original artist on the Image Comics sensation The Walking Dead had filed suit against creator/writer and former childhood friend Robert Kirkman stating that not only was he coerced into signing away his rights to the huge franchise but also that Kirkman was not even honoring that contract and the monies that were owed him. How this suit will be resolved will surely be a long time down the road.

As a creator myself what did I take away from all this? Well basically that intentions and friendships and the publishing business do not mix well with ideas of moral rightness and the creative process.

I could go on some more here but really should get to this week’s picks for What Looks Good. It’s running late and Paul is tired of waiting for me I’m sure. So here we go:

DC

Batman #6 $2.99 (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)

“Trapped far beneath Gotham City and hunted by the Talon - the Court of Owls' unstoppable killer - Batman lies bleeding and broken. With no way out and no one to help, is this the end for The Dark Knight?”

Is there anyone who is still not reading this series? Anyone at all? Hello?

Well I certainly hope not. Snyder has become my favorite Batman writer since probably Frank Miller in his approach to the character and all his trappings, be they kid sidekicks, homicidal villains or strange ancient societies.

And he has done all this in the shadow of Grant Morrison. This issue continues current Court of Owls storyline and its building up of the first Batman family crossover event of the New 52.

Oh yeah- Capullo’s Batman art is fan-tab-u-lous!

IMAGE

Peter Panzerfaust #1 $3.50 (Kurtis J. Weibe & Tyler Jenkins)

“'THE GREAT ESCAPE,' Part One The city of Calais is the first city in France to fall to the Germans in the spring of 1940. A mysterious American boy named Peter rallies a handful of plucky French orphans and they must work together to survive Europe's darkest hour. From the writer of the critically acclaimed GREEN WAKE and THE INTREPIDS comes a new ongoing series: PETER PANZERFAUST, a high energy action story that blends Red Dawn with Peter Pan.”

We all know about Image and first issue sell outs of new series. Will this be one of them? Don’t know. But I’m guessing yes. This book will be looking to catch the same readers that have made Fables such a hit for so long as well as viewers of the TV shows Grimm and the like.

A hot premise with a great creative team. This is the book we all should be trying out this week. Support your independent titles folks!

MARVEL

Winter Soldier #2 $2.99 (Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice)

“Bucky and Black Widow are on the hunt for men trained by the Winter Soldier himself! Who is trying to kill Dr. Doom? Also featuring - talking gorillas! Yeah, you heard me.”

Ok I think it’s been apparent during my time with What Looks Good that if it's written by Bru then I’m ‘in’. It’s been that way for years. For me personally his Captain America #1 from seven years ago was what brought me back into regular comics purchasing after several years of an on and off approach to reading comics.

The debut issue of this series from two weeks ago was classic Brubaker. It completely captured the spy thriller noir feel of the first two years of his Captain America series. He has created an interesting character out of Bucky Barnes and his version of the man out of time vibe. And Black Widow has never been more interesting to me then when Brubaker is handling the character.

As to the art, Guice’s style is perfect here. He’s taken the work he was doing on Captain America and turned it inside out and into the realm of scratchy realism. And with Lee Bermejo doing covers for the series the art is top notch on all fronts.

The Winter Soldier is another new $2.99 ongoing from Marvel, joining Punisher and Daredevil. I hope this title takes off just like those two have and that Marvel leaves the book to itself to grow and develop without being locked into Marvel main continuity madness like they have with the others.

Alright so we just covered my picks for What Looks Good. Think of those as the super-locks. Now let’s do a quick rundown of some other books I’ll be checking out this week.

  • Avenging Spider-Man #4- no Joe Mad but we got Greg Land and movie costume Hawkeye instead.
  • Wolverine #301- Jason Aaaron’s last arc, the debut of a new Silver Samurai and Adam Kubert on art!
  • Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #1- set 25,000 years before Star Wars: A New Hope, classic Star Wars team Ostrander/Duursema gives us the origins of the Jedi order.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #6- the secret between Starfire and Jason Todd will be revealed. What could that be? My guess- it has something to do with sex.
  • Invincible Iron Man #513- has there ever been a column where I didn’t mention this book? Probably not.

There you have then. This week’s picks for What Looks Good. Thanks for reading. Feel free to share your picks or even comment on mine. See everybody again in 3.

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