By Andrew Warrick

“We’re gonna be talking about copyrights and credits,” started moderator Chris Arrant, opening the panel on comics copyright on Friday afternoon at C2E2. Comics writers Dan Parent (Die Kitty Die) and Stephanie Williams (Nubia and The Amazons), with lawyer and comics aficionado Dirk Vanover (Comics Startup 101), mentioned the comics trade’s authorized panorama.

(L to R) Dirk Vanover, Stephanie Williams, Dan Parent, and moderator Chris Arrant

The first matter explored was character possession. Vanover outlined how copyright legislation “gets complicated” as, earlier than the Copyright Revision Act of 1976, folks “created things left and right” with out regard to proprietary issues. Post-1976, nevertheless, creators can take their copyrights again after 35 years, which is “what we’re seeing a lot of” in 2021. 

Parent– creator of the Kevin Keller Archie character– described “the good and the bad” of being a For-Hire author, the previous being gainfully employed, the latter not proudly owning one’s characters. “Kevin was the first character that really took off,” Parent defined, saying he was “excited to see it. But you know that you are giving that up to the company. And fortunately with Archie… they never tried to pretend like they created the character.” Kevin appeared on Riverdale, and Parent says he was compensated, however “outside the margins.”

“You have to just ask for what you want,” Parent added, saying even when one’s requests are rejected, it’s value asking. He is happy that, even when he doesn’t have full possession of his Archie creations, he can nonetheless promote his personal merchandise with the characters at conventions.


Williams referred to as comics “our folklores or fairy tales,” acknowledging the open, and enormously common, nature of the IPs, however criticized how comics creators not solely see little to no cash from blockbuster movies, however have their names misspelled within the credit. “If your movie is making millions of dollars,” Williams mentioned, “it would be nice to give some kick back to your Creator or their families.” In Williams’s earlier profession as a analysis scientist, the query of possession was equally advanced. “Yeah, you do good work. You might get screwed over or you might not.” Her expertise was “so far so good,” nevertheless–– “I don’t really expect much from the big two.” Her plan is to write down for Marvel and DC, getting paid and receiving recognition, and use the popularity to finance unbiased initiatives. She referred to as this course of “a Trojan Horse situation, but no cities are getting burned.” 

“It’s on the publisher’s terms, not really on yours,” Vanover mentioned in regards to the For-Hire author/ writer relationship. “Marvel and DC stuff, I actually understand the company’s perspective… they want to own the work that they’re paying for and I get that.” Vanover famous that the comics world is a “unique area” in 2021, nevertheless, as a result of “it’s exploded due to the adaptability of other mediums which people weren’t really understanding or predicting. So the compensation was based on… just what you get from making a book… that sucks.” He offered David Aja, whose Hawkeye artwork impressed parts of the Disney+ collection, for instance of a creator who was paid for comedian work, however whose books impressed a multimillion greenback blockbuster. 


Next, an viewers Q+A was held.

The legality of Williams’s current Kickstarter marketing campaign Living Heroes (which makes use of Marvel Characters) was questioned. “It’s very much… go ahead and do it and apologize later,” she mentioned, evaluating the Kickstarter to a tv spec script. Williams additionally answered a query in regards to the erasure of artists from the comics copyright dialogue, acknowledging “a problem that has been going for a long time where usually, writers are more well-known than artists… that’s something that culturally just needs to start changing, where we are mentioning artists just as much as we’re mentioning writers, because… it’s comics, it’s a visual medium. So the artist should be just as important as the writers, if not more.”

Speaking on the distinction between TV and comics writing, Vanover mentioned “In the comics world, it’s a different set of rights… writers and artists [in comics], more often than not are classified as independent contractors” which suggests “you can’t unionize, you can’t organize, you can’t push those rates.” Writers guilds, like these TV writers have, are “more favorable as far as the contract terms and how… they get paid.”


The closing matter was a comics shopper’s duty. “Consumers do have some power,” Williams mentioned. “There’s a lot of times a book will be canceled because people aren’t buying it… things don’t start changing until folks start pushing that… So yeah, somebody is really getting screwed, then maybe don’t support that thing. Go support something else. And if you see creators selling their own works… support that.”

Parent talked about the lawsuit involving Don DeCarlo and the Archie Josie character, and being caught between his friendship with DeCarlo and his ardour for the character. Like with Hawkeye, DeCarlo’s work was utilized by the writer to make thousands and thousands. The panel concluded and not using a definitive reply on a problem solely turning into extra urgent: Who ought to personal the comedian characters? 

Miss any of our earlier C2E2 ’21 protection? Find it all here!

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