Tagged: Writers Guild of America

Gerry Giovinco: What If?

Does it infuriate you to hear about comic book creators, especially the aged ones, struggling to get by financially, without health benefits, and working menial jobs because they can no longer find work in the comics industry while their creations or characters whose legacy they’ve passionately contributed to continue to rake in grotesquely monolithic profits for the corporations that currently own the copyrights and trademarks to them? Don’t you think that anyone should be upset about this, except maybe the soulless, money grubbing powers of the corporate world that have driven the globe into economic crisis? Surely, the average person gets it. You know, the dreaded 99% who feel that we have to live with our hand out just to get by, constantly in debt so that we can live co-dependant on the new staples of life like TVs, cars, computers, and cell phones, not to mention upsized happy meals that make our asses so fat we need therapy because we no longer fit the impossibly ideal image of the perfect body that has been created by the same bastards that sold us the 64 ounce Big Gulp. Ahem.. Maybe people don’t get it because it has to do with the arts. The efforts of creative types, with the exception of those few that rise to the top of the heap and rake in the big bucks, are rarely understood. People expect that the arts are practiced by those that do what they do because they love it, it’s fun, and it’s not really work. This   thinking perpetuates the romantic ideal of the so-called “starving artist.” This is true wether it is painting, music, dance, theater, literature, film or comics. The creative community, however, understands that though we all appreciate that our work is a “labor of love,” it is also a lot of hard work that requires great dedication,  sacrifice and  expense. This work, no matter how much we may enjoy it, has value, especially when it is making gobs of money for somebody else.

So, when I see comic artists struggling and am completely stymied when one can’t even expect a decent burial because of his poverty, it is probably only other artists that I can expect to fully appreciate the knot in my gut. This is why I am wondering where all the support for comic artists is when it comes to the ethical injustice of no compensation for work that was created under the auspices “work-for-hire” at a time when no one could have anticipated the economic power of modern media. Where is the support from other artists, other entertainment fields and their unions, especially those who are benefitting most from adapting comics to other mediums, like film. So I ask. What if the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America came to the defense of comic creators who have never successfully unionized and, as they do for themselves, show a force of solidarity for the people that created the source material that is creating extremely lucrative jobs for their members? What if the long list of prominent actors that portrayed characters from comic books in films took a stand to support those creators? What if the “A” list writers and directors showed some moral scruples and held a higher ground? I understand that it would be impossible to to fully effect every comic creator that may have participated in making the comic book characters that have become stars on the silver screen the cultural icons that they are today. I also understand that the rights to ownership of these characters are legally embroiled by the federal copyright laws that were lobbied successfully by the big corporations. None of that, however, justifies letting some of these talented creators struggle in abject poverty, living hungry on the streets with no healthcare, doomed to be buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave while others, including other artists, get rich off the fruits of their creations.

The comic industry does not have a union but it does have advocates. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Heroes Initiative are two organizations that have been formed to offer services to protect comic creators. Both organizations could benefit greatly if they were to receive generous donations from those that are currently benefitting the most from the success of comic book characters in film and related merchandise.

It has been reported that “Since its inception, The Hero Initiative (Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R., A Commitment To Our Roots) has had the good fortune to grant over $500,000 to over 50 comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today.” In contrast, if we were to signal out just Robert Downy, Jr. who is reported to have made $50,000,000 off of his role as Iron Man in the Avengers film and ask him to donate a mere one tenth of a percent of that salary to The Hero Initiative, he would match every penny they have ever spent to support comic creators in need. These stars are a generous lot and, in fact, need to be philanthropists just to write off their taxes. Robert Downy, Jr., himself supports, Clothes Off Our Back, Midnight Mission, and Orca Network. Why wouldn’t he support some struggling comic artists that created the opportunity for him to make his millions?

What if every actor, writer, and director, especially those that reaped the mother load reached out to support these two organizations that protect struggling comic creators? It wouldn’t make certain creators as rich as they could be if the industry was fair, but it would guarantee that comic artists who dedicated their lives to their art and our enjoyment could be a little more secure and might not die penniless like so many before them.

What if everyone reading this blog took it upon themselves to pursue this campaign and contact their favorite actor from a comic book film requesting their aid? What if we all made a difference?

Gerry Giovinco

And now, another added bonus! Those of you that are huge fans of Chris Kalnick’s NON the Existential Extraterrestrial and Depth Charge both featured here at CO2 Comics will be thrilled to find out that our old buddy NON is back in a new installment titled “A Sensory Neuron’s Quandary.” The feature begins today and will be updated every Sunday. Mr. Kalnick will be  sure to have you all questioning the true “meaning of life.”

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Awards

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Awards

Dwayne McDuffie by Glen Muramaki & Andrew PepoyI guess the write-in campaign worked. Applause to the Writers Guild for honoring these guys.

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress are set to receive the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus’ 14th annual Animation Writing Award posthumously. The honor recognizes their animation writing work and their efforts to organize animation for the guild.

“This year, animation lost two talented, hard-working people who have given much of themselves and their talent to our field,” said AWC chair Craig Miller. “Dwayne McDuffie was a talented writer and creator of comics and animation who worked hard for others, particularly for minority writers. Earl Kress was a writer whose career included both feature and TV animation and hard work on behalf of all animation writers as a member of the WGA Animation Writers Caucus and the Animation Guild Board of Directors. Both were people I was glad to call friend and colleague, and whose efforts, it can truthfully be said, made all of us the better for them.”

via Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress to Receive WGAW Animation Writing Award – Hollywood Reporter.

‘The Dark Knight’ wins five People’s Choice Awards, gets WGA nomination

‘The Dark Knight’ wins five People’s Choice Awards, gets WGA nomination

The Dark Knight won a total of five People’s Choice awards last night, including favorite movie, favorite action movie, and favorite cast. Christian Bale was named favorite superhero and won, along with the late Heath Ledger, the favorite on-screen match up category.The film also was nominated yesterday for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen during the 2008 season by the Writers Guild of America. Winners will be honored at the 2009 Writers Guild Awards held on February 7 at simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.

Other genre friendly wins last night: Heroes won the People’s Choice award for favorite sci-fi/fantasy show and "Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog" won for favorite online sensation.

On This Day: ASCAP Formed

On This Day: ASCAP Formed

It seems only fitting that on the week the WGA strike comes to an end, it’s also the anniversary of another organization formed to protect the rights of artists.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, also known as ASCAP, was created today in 1914 in New York to help protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

Some of ASCAP’s earliest members include Irving Berlin and John Philip Sousa. ASCAP continues to work for its members’ protection, making sure artists get paid for their creativity.

Really, though — someone should’ve come up with another acronym. To put this delicately, saying "ASCAP" out loud does conjure up feelings of constipation.


The Writer’s Strike Is Over, So What About Your Favorite Shows?

The Writer’s Strike Is Over, So What About Your Favorite Shows?

With the writer’s strike over, a new contract ratified by the WGA board and a pending vote by the membership at-large looming, I know what you’re thinking: enough of this strike business, when the heck am I gonna see new episodes of Battlestar Galactica, Chuck, Heroes or  "insert name of favorite show here"?

Believe me, I sympathise and apparently so do the folks at TV Guide because they’ve already posted a pretty comprehensive guide to the TV shows that are coming back now, sooner, later or never.

Some of the shows with their fates already determined include:

Battlestar Galactica

Returns April 4 with first half of 20-episode final season. Production on second half could start as early as March. Airdate for those TBD.


No new episodes until fall.


No new episodes expected until fall.


Six pre-strike episodes remain. Five additional episodes could air this season.


Four pre-strike episodes remain. Expected to shoot 5 or 6 additional episodes to air in April/May.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Four pre-strike episodes remain. Future beyond that TBD.

Bionic Woman

No new episodes expected. Ever.

Check out the complete list, updated regularly, for more details on your favorite shows.

Common Cast as Green Lantern in ‘Justice League’ Film

Common Cast as Green Lantern in ‘Justice League’ Film

Hip-hop musician Common recently confirmed to MTV that he will be playing the role of Green Lantern John Stewart in the upcoming "Justice League" film.

"It’s a blessing really, to know that I could potentially be this superhero,” he enthused. “Justice League itself is an honor, and Green Lantern is an incredible character to play. It’s a blessing to be associated with it.”

As previously reported, "Justice League" production was initially delayed by the WGA strike, but now could begin again this year. The film is tentaively scheduled for a 2010 release, but nothing is certain at this point.


Michael Eisner on the End of the Writers’ Strike?

Michael Eisner on the End of the Writers’ Strike?

Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney and current CNBC host, announced on a recent episode of "Fast Money" that the major media companies have reached an agreement with the Writers Guild of America that effectively ends the strike.

Eisner claimed that an announcement will likely happen this weekend regarding the strike’s conclusion.

According to Eisner:

“They’ve made a deal, they shook hands on a deal,” he replies. "The deal is going on Saturday to the constituents (for a vote)… I think it’s impossible that they turn it down. A deal has been made and (the writers) will be back to work reasonably soon!”

As Eisner mentioned, however, any agreement must still be ratified by members of the WGA, whose West Coast and East Coast branches will meet tomorrow for a briefing on the strike. No confirmation of the "done deal" has been issued by the WGA thus far.

On the subject of how striking writers will be received once the strike is over, Eisner added:

“I think a lot of writers lost their deals and they won’t be reinstated," Eisner replies. "One of the reasons these media companies don’t have economic problems is that they cut back on these big (writer) deals….Of course the talented writers will get new deals but in the short term I think the strike was a mistake (because) it was fairly ill-timed," he says. "If there was going to be a strike I think it should have been 3 years from now when (the writers) really understood the definition of the online business and where the revenues are coming from."

Spoken like the a true former CEO of a major media company, eh?

Nikki Finke, the award-winning L.A. Weekly media columnist, claimed on her site that talks of an end to the strike are premature, and had this to say about the online buzz generated by Eisner’s announcement:

Earth To Web: Eisner hasn’t mattered since 2004-2005 when he was kicked to the curb by Disney and its shareholders. Or was Eisner trying to manipulate the price of all that Disney stock he owns?

Umm… Owch.


Marvel Studios Settles with WGA

Marvel Studios Settles with WGA

United Hollywood, the news blog founded by a group of Writers Guild of America strike captains, is reporting that the WGA has signed an interim agreement with Marvel Studios " that will put writers immediately back to work on the Marvel Studios development slate."

Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel said that they "look forward to resuming work with writers on our future projects including Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, and The Avengers."

Ant-Man?  Seriously?

The WGA also signed an interim agreement with independent film studio Lionsgate, whose upcoming work includes RamboTyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Forbidden Kingdom, Punisher 2, and The Spirit.

Superman beaten by WGA strike?

Superman beaten by WGA strike?

It’s beginning to look like the WGA might have accomplished what years of evil scheming and diabolical machinations were never able to achieve: the death of Superman.

According to Variety, "nothing is happening" with Superman: Man of Steel, the planned sequel to 2006’s Superman Returns. The writers’ strike has proven to be yet another, very large nail in the coffin of Warner Bros. plans for a new Superman franchise, as the picket lines halted studio production shortly after the screenwriters for the 2006 film, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, opted out of the sequel. No screenwriters are currently tied to the project, and even the return of Superman Returns director Bryan Singer to the helm of the sequel remains uncertain.

From Variety:

"For now, the next Superman auds will see on the bigscreen will not be Brandon Routh but a younger Superman among a cast of youthful DC superheroes in George Miller’s The Justice League. That movie likely will not be shot, however, until after the WGA strike is resolved."

At this time, Warner Bros. has moved Superman: Man of Steel back to a tentative 2010 release.

Cut Them Off At The Past, by Dennis O’Neil

Cut Them Off At The Past, by Dennis O’Neil

And the Screen Writers Guild lurches into a tenth week and if there’s any end in sight, I haven’t heard about it.

Last time, I mentioned the Academy of Comic Book Arts and its failure to do any significant negotiating on behalf of its members. ACBA wasn’t the first attempt, though, to organize those glorious mavericks, the comic book community. In the 60s…

Wait! Better issue a warning before I go further. Do not regard anything that follows as gospel. (In fact, you might consider not regarding the Gospel as gospel, but let us not digress.) I have no reason not to believe what I’m about to tell you except one: About a year before he died, Arnold Drake, who was a busy comic book writer at the time we’ll be discussing, told me that the story I had wasn’t the whole story, or even necessarily accurate. I don’t know why I didn’t press him for further information, but I didn’t.

Okay, the story: