Marc Alan Fishman: Exclusivity Is For the Devils

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.

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Mark Turner says:

    Great article Mr. Gold,once again shinning the light on the struggle of creators in the industry! In your article you mentioned “The last time artists with this much clout left Marvel, they made Image Comics. Certainly that won’t happen ever again” What would prevent something like this from happening again? Is it just not feasible or have the conditions/circumstances that allowed Image to happen not there any more? I have always wondered why there hasn’t been more of an organized effort to duplicate the model for creators.

    • Gevian Dargan says:

      I think It may have something to do with the creators themselves. What Mike said was key, “their main source of funds comes directly from material they created, they own, and they see to market.” That last part,”they see to market,” that’s what this is all about. I just completed a negotiation that involved a transfer of IP rights where doing the negotiation, the co-creator was willing to just give us the rights without asking for anything in return (that’s the short version), and we refused to do so. First, he’s our brother. Second, We weren’t even asking for that. Third, this is how we get to these sad, pathetic stories of men wasting away and dying while the creative fruits of their brilliant minds and hands are making billions for others who couldn’t do what they did if God himself showed them how.

      Many creators who work for Marvel and DC know exactly what they are getting themselves into. Many publishers know exactly what they are getting themselves into when they get involved with Diamond. This is about the FEAR of the risk involved when you have to see your ideas, your characters, and your stories to market. This is about wanting to work and live your childhood dream so bad that you are wiling to sign your soul to the devil. This is about creators not having the courage to realize that the days of Siegel, Shuster, and Kirby are long gone. I mean, even in those days, Bob Kane (if the legend is correct and his father was really that much of a stand-up guy) got a piece of what is being discussed here. I mean publishers can absorb the risks of getting work to market but they cannot come up with the work themselves, and until creators in every industry realize that, this will never change.

      Image will never happen again, or not any time soon, because the audience isn’t there for comics. And when Image did do it, they didn’t take it seriously enough and squandered the opportunity of a lifetime. Were they courageous and visionary? AB-SO-LUTE-LY!!! Did they follow through? NO!!!

      There’s an answer to this but don’t forget, even Mr. Rivera was making a buck off the fruits of someone else’s labor who will never get to see a dime of the royalties he earned off their work. So, to the creators of the future, show a little backbone, either publish your own stuff, negotiate a deal you can live with when dealing with established publishers (or refuse to work with them), or find something else to do.

      For my own edification, when the aforementioned Mignola, Powell, Kirkman (who was recently involved in such a dispute), and Ellis have someone do work for them, do they automatically confer rights to those creators, because if they don’t, then I’d like them to meet my friends, pot and kettle, who both have a problem calling each other black.

      • Mark Turner says:

        Your explanation coupled with Marc’s helped put things in perspective. Thanks for the insight (now just to repeat the mantra over and over again).

    • Mark,

      What would prevent something like “Image” happening again is Image proving how it can’t be done en masse, the way they did it. As it stands right now, there’s smaller “cliques” of artists out there. The comic culture is wider, broader, and still as hard to be profitable in as ever.

      Frankly, the issue is, with SO MANY young bucks out there looking for a shot? There won’t be a “freelancers union”, so-to-speak, to advocate for every artist or writer entering the business. We all know what we’re signing away when we start taking checks. Kirkman, and his ilk are proving though, that through word of mouth, and hard work… you can build a following. Simply put? Even with the advent of digital publishing (which is FAR FAR FAR from perfect), it’s amazingly hard to stand out with Marvel and DC dominating the marketplace. There are good “B” and “C” publishers — Dark Horse, Image, Avatar, Boom!, Dynamite… But they seek out who they want. Companies like mine are forced to be “small” and just hope our ship comes in.

      In the mean time? Artists and writers are chained to their contracts, and are forced with a choice when DC or Marvel comes a’ callin’. You fall in line and take what they give… Or you get out of the way for the next guy who will.

      • Mark Turner says:

        Thanks for the explanation Marc, sobering, but good to keep in the front of your mind (especially when you are considering getting into the industry).

  2. mike weber says:

    “…dire straights…,” sorry – “straits”

    “…setting his sites…” – encore sorry – “sights”

    • See? My editor doesn’t pay enough attention to my laziness in my own self-editing. I suq sometimes. But hopefully the message of the article still holds up.

  3. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    Please note… Mike didn’t write this article. Some silly punk kid did.