IDW’s #3!

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, and on iNetRadio, (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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7 Responses

  1. Tony Isabella says:

    And will ComicMix being taking any position on – or even reporting on – IDW's not paying royalties to the Star Trek writers and artists whose stories it is reprinting?You can find an open letter from Mike W. Barr on this matter here:…Tony Isabella

    • Russ Rogers says:

      What are the "Standard" rates paid to writers and artists for reprinting their work? Do those rates diminish over time? Is it cheaper to reprint something 60 years old versus 10 years old? Are heirs found and paid when the artists have died? What if there were a non-profit organization, like ASCAAP or BMI, that handled this kind of "royalty" payment between publishers and artists? Would that simplify things for publishers and artists or just bring in one more level of red tape?

      • Mike Gold says:

        There are no standards — some publishers don't pay squat, others promise one thing and then send out letters demanding talent agree to lower rates. It is cheaper to reprint stuff where there's no reprint agreement, but depending upon the sales of the book in question it's only marginal at best. In the case if those publishers who do pay royalties (as opposed to "incentives"), heirs are paid when those heirs are known and the rules of the estate are clear. Sometimes that's a problem.However, in the case of Star Trek, you've got a huge, huge problem here. About a million different comics publishers have had their hand in the stuff, and each had its own reprint plan in place (if any) at the time. Depending upon how the work order agreements (you know, vouchers and contracts) are worded, royalties (which are different from reprint rates) may or may not be binding upon subsequent publishers. To my experience, the licensee pays a fee to the licensor for the rights, and it's up to the licensor to honor the obligations of the original publisher as they may have inherited those obligations when the rights reverted back.But it all depends upon the written agreements between the original publisher, the talent, and the licensor. It's possible that these royalty obligations have been passed along to IDW (I kind of doubt it), but if they're paying Paramount for the reprint rights ("if"???) then it's almost certainly Paramount's obligation.My only defense of IDW is that they're the most ethical comics publisher I've ever worked with. Otherwise, we wouldn't have signed our deal with them. Duh…I'm not a lawyer, but I do play one in comics.

        • Russ Rogers says:

          I really can't speak for them, but I don't think Mike W. Barr or Tony Isabella expect IDW to dig up Malibu's old contracts and honor those. (But maybe they do.) For me, as an outside party and just a fan, t's not a question of what is or is not binding in the original contract, it's a question of what seems fair.Personally, I think that if it's standard (the norm) for creators to get a complimentary shelf copy of their work from the publisher, IDW needs to send one to Mke W. Barr and the other credited artists on the reprints. If IDW generally pays their artists a "reprint honorarium," then the artists who worked on these comics deserve SOMETHING. It's about respect. OK, IDW has paid somebody to license these comics. They may have had to pay both Malibu for the rights to reprint it's materials AND Paramount in order to use the characters. That might be as much money (or more) than they would pay the original artists on one of their own reprints. So where does the money to pay these original artists come from?IDW, Paramount and Malibu may have NO legal obligation to give the original artists any sort of honorarium (money) for their work. But is there a moral obligation to see that these artists not only receive a byline credit, but a little "buy-line" credit too? Question: who normally gets paid when something gets reprinted? What is the standard? What is normal? Do both the Penciler and Inker get paid? Do they get the same rate? And if a Penciler inks his own stuff, does he get double? Does the Letterer generally make anything off of reprints? How about the Colorist? The Editor? What about uncredited staffers? The color flatter. Certainly IDW is not only giving Mike W. Barr credit for his writing, but they are also using his name to help sell their reprints. It seems to me that Mike W. Barr deserves some kind of compensation. What does Mike W. Barr think would be fair? Should the ACTORS whose images are used and whose original performances the characters and stories are based on get any money? Does René Auberjonois deserve any written credit or money because he played Odo? How far down the line do we have to go before we don't care any more?

  2. Mike Gold says:

    I know something about the Paramount deals; for one thing, the Star Trek books were part of my editorial group back when I was at DC. So I can say with little reservation: Paramount owns the work outright, and when Malibu et al were no longer in the picture, everything went to Paramount.Your point about the actors is a good one. Any such obligations are administered through Paramount. When they (Paramount) made their deals with the sundry publishers, the likeness rights were not only included but Paramount had approval rights. In this sense, administering the disbursement of the royalties Paramount receives is on Paramount, again, according to the contracts involved. For your information: Letterers and colorists rarely, if ever, receive a cut of the royalties. And editors, damn it, never ever do. If so I could retire off of my DC and First work.I don't know if IDW pays "reprint honoraria" as my arrangements with them have always been by contract. There's an interesting debate about any sort of obligation because they use the names of the creators in their promotion, but then again you can't sell a book into the direct sales market without creator credits. It's part of the package, and usually most publishers state in their agreements they have the right to promote their product using those names and, possibly, photos. Does this transfer to Paramount? Gotta look at all those contracts, but probably so.I'll bet dollars to donuts that IDW has sent, or will send, comps out to all of the talent. They do that. I know Mike got his Maze Agency copies because he gave me one. Generally, the publisher gets his bulk copies from the printer around or slightly after the comics shops get them, and office logistics being what they are, they probably wait until they've got a bunch of titles ready in order to minimize effort. Most creators are aware of this, and many have standing orders with their Friendly Neighborhood Comics Shop to sell them at least one copy of their work so they can see it the same time the readers do.Mike and Tony are both good people, and even reasonable people — for writers. I'm sure this will be resolved fairly, if people don't make it needlessly personal.

  3. Tony Isabella says:

    It's not personal for me at this point…other than it's an issue involving a friend of mine and writers in general. In fact, I'm not even aware of IDW reprinting any of my few Trek stories. But Mike requested a forum, which I gave him. I added my comments, which were factual and, in my opinion, reasoned and tempered.If my ire is raised at all, it's because the comics press tends to ignore issues like this. Or seems to automatically side with publishers.However, unless IDW requests a similar forum from me, or unless I have factual information to add, I've spent all the time and energy on this that I'm going to…except to respond to a couple of private e-mails from an IDW employee after I've had time to mull them over.Tony

  4. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    I just need to say it… I want to redo the Malibu books so bad, I'd sell my first born for the chance to.