Julie Taymor claims she should get money for ‘Spider-Man’, a character she didn’t create

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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4 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    I’m not sure I get the apparent belligerence towards Taymor. She’s not responsible for any injustice that Steve Ditko may or may not have faced from Marvel. If anything she’s a (far lesser) victim of the same “grab it all, own it all, drain it all” corporate philosophy that has polluted comics for decades.

    To put it another way, if a post-Ditko artist of Spider-Man found out Marvel was reprinting his work without any royalties (or “incentives”) they had promised, would you dismiss any complaints with “now you know how Ditko feels”?

    Regarding Mike Gold’s comment, could you cite at least one of the repeated occasions where Ditko clearly stated what you present as his position? Ideally in print in a venue where he had final editorial control, rather than in private conversation with you or someone else (because I can point to other reported private conversations with Ditko that indicate the opposite, that he feels he was promised royalties that remain unpaid).

  2. Mike Gold says:

    Bob, there’s a difference between royalties — which Marvel has been paying under certain published circumstances, in a manner that seems haphazard and arbitrary to me — and ownership. Steve doesn’t do interviews, but he does talk to people off-camera (as in the Jonathan Ross / Neil Gaiman discussions sited in Jonathan’s documentary about Steve) and off-tape, and his Objectivist views are well known. Google around, you’ll find them.

    If Steve was promised royalties or reprint fees that he hasn’t received, my guess (emphasis: GUESS, although based upon information) is that Jim Shooter when he was running the plant, or somebody in a similar position (Jim is very loyal to his friends and has ALWAYS stood behind Steve Ditko, to my knowledge and recollection) made that promise and is no longer in a position to enforce such a policy.

    You might have noticed Marvel has changed hand lately and is presently owned by the second-cheapest motherfuckers in the entertainment industry (IMHO), a company that historically would rather pay lawyers to fuck creators than to pay the creators themselves.

    Now, let’s talk about Kirby. Or Siegel and Shuster. It does get depressing.

  3. Bob says:

    Well, you specifically said “when it comes to the money thing, he’s been quite clear”, and I’m just saying that I don’t think he’s ever addressed “the money thing” publicly, and the hearsay evidence of his view is inconsistent at best.

    It’s the same with the ownership issue. I have never read a statement by Ditko saying one way or the other his view on it (and I’ve probably read over 90% of his published essays), much less “perfectly clear” statements on “repeated occasions”. I do know he stressed at one point that he was a freelancer, not an employee (“The Ever Unreachable”, 2009), which undercuts one part of the work-for-hire argument (although as the Kirby case shows, pending appeal, some courts are willing to adopt a wider more corporate friendly definition).

    Googling seems to only yield more hearsay (often contradictory) and people assuming which position would be consistent with their understandings of his objectivist views. And such “understanding”, when you question it, often turns out to be based on assumptions rather than a reading of Ditko’s published words, though I’m sure that’s not the case with you. A lot of people seem to go from “I hear Ditko is an objectivist” to “Ayn Rand was The Objectivist, so I can apply everything I think I understand about her views to Ditko”. Hence my request for a specific citation if you’re going to claim Ditko has actually said something.

    I’d be interested in reading more about Marvel’s inconsistent royalty/incentive payments, if you can get people to go on the record. I think people tend to hear something about Marvel paying royalties and then assume that they always pay royalties, which sounds like it’s far from the case, so it would be good to have someplace authoritative to point to which demonstrates what the reality is.

  4. Luigi Novi says:

    Where in that yellow-boxed quote does it say that Taymor “claims she should get money for the *creation of the character*? I don’t see that anywhere in it.