MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Creators Are People Too

Marc Alan Fishman

Marc Alan Fishman is a graphic designer, digital artist, writer, and most importantly a native born Chicagoan. When he's not making websites, drawing and writing for his indie company Unshaven Comics, or rooting for the Bears... he's a dedicated husband and father. When you're not enjoying his column here on ComicMix, feel free to catch his comic book reviews weekly at MichaelDavisWorld, and check out his books and cartoons at Unshaven Comics.

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6 Responses

  1. Eric Garneau says:

    Great post, Marc. I think this is the heart of the situation – and it’s the reality of work for hire. You sign the contract, you make a character for someone else – I mean, it sucks when you get screwed later, but that’s the biz.

    And, not to side too much with the 1%, amazing things have been done with characters like Superman, Batman, etc. precisely BECAUSE they inhabit a shared universe where lots of talented people get their say. Yes, the world could have done without Chuck Austen’s Justice League, but would comics be the same if guys like Curt Swan, George Perez, Joe Kelly and Grant Morrison hadn’t been able to do what they wanted with him?

    So while it totally sucks to see creators go destitute, I think you’re absolutely right that it’s on them to know the deal and abide by it. It’s tough, but so is making a buck. And when you’ve got an industry where lots of people (like yourself and me) would kill to break in, the people who do typically won’t be treated that well.

  2. mike weber says:

    I’ve read in a couple of places that Steve Ditko has expressed himself in much the same terms, or at least to the same effect: “You signed it, you’re stuck with it.”.

    Of course, that fits with his political positions…

    Now, Marvel singling Friedreich out to go after for what almost every pro who does the con circuits has done from time to time … that’s sort of petty, to say the least, and it’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

  3. Mindy Newell says:

    Mazel Tov on the birth of your son, Marc!!! What’s his name?


  4. Mindy Newell says:

    The other side of it, Marc, is that Marvel/Disney has gazillins of money and lawyers to keep a case going for years and to swamp a creator in bankruptcy hell–remember, since Gary lost his suit, he now has to pay his lawyer’s fees, too.

    I understand the “hey, you signed the contract” argument, of course. But of course there’s the “fairness doctrine,” too. Even if GHOST RIDER–and any other comic-related movie–is considered a bomb, “creative accounting” in Hollywood will see that the studios will make not just their money back, but a fair profit, too.

    A related story, courtesy of Wikepedia: Back in 1977, actor Cliff Robertson received a note from the Internal Revenue Service indicating he had received $10,000 from Columbia Pictures. He had never received the money, and discovered that his signature on the cashed paycheck had been forged. Robertson’s report started a criminal investigation. The LAPD and the FBI verified that the $10,000 check was a forgery, and it was tracked to Begelman. He was ultimately sentenced to community service for the forgeries.

    Columbia Pictures suspended Begelman on a paid vacation and announced its own investigation. It discovered Begelman had embezzled an additional $65,000 through other forged checks. But the board of directors wanted to keep the matter out of the press, and after a brief reinstatement, Begelman was quietly fired. The studio released a statement saying he had suffered emotional problems.

    Despite the pressure to remain quiet, Robertson and his wife Dina Merrill spoke to the press. David McClintick broke the story in The Wall Street Journal in 1978, later turning it into the best-selling 1982 book Indecent Exposure. Robertson later claimed he had been blacklisted during the 1980s for coming forward about the Begelman affair, and had few roles during this period.


    • Marc Alan Fishman says:

      His name is Bennett Reed. Thanks for the reply. As I said above, I feel for Gary and all the other creators who have gotten the short stick by way of more powerful companies wrecking legal havoc to make a mean and petty point. It just frustrating that the industry chooses to hamper it’s greatest asset simply because they can.

  5. Paul McCall says:

    Proof positive that I will read any post that is illustrated by the original Mr. Terrific!