More Angry Fans Bun Toons! YAY!

I buy comics! I'm entitled to be royally pissed off about this!

The internet is all abuzz again, and the wicked monsters that run the comics industry are killing and eating puppies and kittehs one more time.

Here’s the link to donate to Gary’s fund if you want to help him pay off that seventeen grand counter-suit Marvel filed to slap him around a bit.    Gary could use the help, so give him ten bucks, okay?

Ty the Guy OUT!

The Bonus Moment:

Is it my imagination, or were bikers wearing flaming skull tattoos and jacket decals since the fifties?

No one sue anyone over this, okay?

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click here for last week's CREATOR'S RIGHTS Bun Toon! It's a series!

Click here for every Bun Toon ever! I created them! I have a right to them!!

61 responses to “More Angry Fans Bun Toons! YAY!

  1. I can deal with Marvel “eating puppies and kittehs”, no problem with that at all.

    Now, if they started looking at eating bunnies…

    Cheers!

    Steven Willis
    XOWComics.com

  2. Pingback: How Subjective is Ownership of an Idea?

  3. Screw Marvel for letting Ty Templeton make them seem reasonable!

    (Please get someone to reprint Stig’s Inferno.)

  4. Thanks for writing an excellent, balanced and informative response to passionate misinformation.

    • I’m sure my version of things is slanted and uninformed as well, as the world of information has become very fungible…but every now and then, I think I can actually see the company’s point of view.

      Having said that, let’s not forget about Gary. Go click the link to his fund above.

  5. Gary did sue Marvel, but Marvel counter sued. That I think is expected in these cases, but you have to admit this is the first time in recent history (if not ever) that Marvel has demanded a creator pay them their convention sketch/print money and forbid them from stating they are the creator of a character for financial gain.

    Wolfman lost on Blade and while (IMO) that stunk too, you didn’t see this type of backlash against Marvel then.

    “Should Marvel just eat that kind of money every time a freelancer gets an itch to sue them?”

    Actually I think they should. They had some bad business practices back then with that back of the cheque contract and the later on late 70′s when they did the ass backwards ‘everything you did for us was work for hire’ contracts, telling creators they had to sign or they’d never work for Marvel again. This is arguably against the law but judges in New York don’t seem to see it that way.

    Plus y’know, they *could* recognize that they are now making a crap load of money off these characters now and the creators, while maybe not legally owed they could be given some of the new revenue. Or at minimum, do a nice reprint of their work to tie in with the movie and pay them a nice “movie money” sum to write an introduction or interview within the book.

    As I’m sure you know, DC (Levitz in particular) had creators sign creative equity contracts. Len Wein has made more money from a secondary character in the Batman movies than Marvel has paid him for all of his co-created characters. There is nothing stopping Marvel from doing the same thing. Just like those work for hire contracts, they can make it backwards. It would probably be cheaper than paying those lawyers for multi-year lawsuits and they wouldn’t get the angry backlash they’re getting now.

    The frivolous suits, if they are frivolous can be quickly dismissed by the court. That is usually the first step the companies take when these things start.

  6. The latest issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland, credit Gary. This was writ before this story broke. Marvel is gonna have a hard time with this, when all these years everyone knows Gary is credited. People after the fact in defense of Marvel, is not gonna change history.

  7. Both Marvel and DC were founded on creators getting raw deals. DC has been a lot better about it with the contracts Jamie mentions above. So when something like this happens it’s not surprising people side with the creator. It fits the pattern of behaviour. I do think Marvel should eat the money when a freelancer sues, you can call it the Kirby tax.

  8. I agree with everyone here that it would be nice if Marvel was to offer their creators a “bonus” when one of their creations becomes a hit movie or something. They should have given Larry Lieber and Don Heck’s family a nice bonus for Iron Man, as well as Micheline and Layton for essentially creating the plot of those two films…and yes, DC does make a point of splashing a little bonus on their creators when their stuff gets adapted. But we creators all enter our industry KNOWING that is part of the deal. It’s a volunteer job that pays well, is really fun, and no one makes us do it, we work HARD to do it. I was on Marv Wolfman’s side, because he had a case to be made he wasn’t working-for-hire. I was on the Siegel and Shuster’s side because they were NOT working-for-hire with Superman. But….Gary was working under that work-for-hire system, he knew it completely, and continued to work under that system voluntarily for years without complaint. This is not Gary trying to get what was stolen from him, but Gary trying to get a little out of the company now that the company got a big payday. I utterly want Gary to do well, and I hope people send him a couple of bucks to help him out of trouble, but we can’t just throw logic and law out the window simply because “Marvel is a corporation, therefore they are inherently in the wrong”. Marvel has perpetrated many injustices, and so has DC. This story is simply NOT one of them.

    • Don’t you think there’s something unfortunately resigned about this attitude, though? “You knew the risks when you signed up…” Right, but those very same risks are potentially driving away tons of talent from the comics industry–why work in comics, when the chance of getting screwed over is so high?–and by extension, readers are being lost. Which is therefore hurting the industry.

      Is it really unreasonable to take a hard line against this kind of thing? In practical terms, it’s still a gigantic corporation with billions of dollars against creators with very little in the way of options. To shrug and say “them’s the breaks!” seems callous. I mean, I don’t see a lot of people looking at the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling and going, “Oh well, that’s the law now…” Yeah, but it’s an unjust law. And so are corporate practices towards creatives.

      To view it another way, when you’re trying to break in to the comics industry, you have no clout and may be forced to sign a crappy contract if you want to make a living. Once you’re established, you now have leverage, in that you can gain public and industry support, and have a commodity worth leveraging in your talent. So is it “wrong” to wait until you have said leverage? It’s not strictly “fair” but neither is the situation you’re likely to find yourself in when you first do business with a major content provider like Marvel.

  9. Marvel isn’t inherently wrong because they’re a corporation, it’s their past actions doing exactly this kind of thing. This is like the wife beater who’s being accused the one time she actually did walk into the door. I hope things work out for Gary. Not being able to sell prints in artist’s alley you don’t own the character rights for sets a bad precedent for other artists. Charging him $17,000 is petty especially when to take into account the millions they’ve made doing exactly what they were accused of here. Legally Marvel is right, ethically they’ve got scales to balance and this would be a nice start.

    • Except the prints he was selling weren’t his, they were Ploog’s and he did it without Ploog’s permission or giving Ploog a cut of the money.

      Marvel is completely in the right here and Gary is the bad guy. Gary should pay for wasting everyones time and for stealing from Ploog.

  10. I agree people can’t just sue willy nilly after they’ve signed contracts and such. But that comment in the strip, inferring the 17k was no big deal because the fans were putting together a fund to help pay it: How much faith would you have in that if you were in Friedrich’s shoes? Apparently none, because you urge us readers to go and donate.

    Marvel is kicking a man while he is down, which I won’t protest against (I hate the idea of frivolous lawsuits). However, don’t pretend like the 17k will be taken care of and that Friedrich isn’t destitute.

    • I’ve no illusions that Friedrich doesn’t need a little help, that’s why I keep posting links to Steve Niles amazing fundraising efforts here and on my facebook page, because Gary needs the help of his fans, no question. I don’t understand how urging readers to donate doesn’t suggest I have no faith in fans to help out…and to be clear, Marvel didn’t so much kick a man when he was down, as they kicked a man back after he kicked them a few times, first. Adults live with their choices, right? And Gary walked into every choice involved in this story with his adult eyes open. WHICH STILL DOESN’T MEAN WE CAN’T HELP HIM OUT!! It just means Marvel wasn’t the bad guys here. The fight didn’t start when Marvel kicked BACK.
      ALSO: @Ian Boothby. It’s not so much that Gary was selling prints he didn’t own, he was selling prints he didn’t DRAW! There’s no chilling effect for artists involved, as Gary is a writer, not an artist. I’m not aware of many artists who sell prints of other artist’s work, nor of many writers who sell prints of covers of comics they scripted but didn’t draw (and I’ve been going to conventions for almost thirty-five years). That’s not a common practice. Seriously, Ian…would it even enter your mind on any day to start selling Simpsons covers at conventions? Of course not, we both know what our contracts say at Bongo, and it would be silly to attempt it. We’d get tagged and owe Papa Groening a pile of green. I’m not really sure it bothers me that Gary was doing it, but it is a small scale version of the injustice Gary is claiming is being done to him…appropriating the labour of someone else for your profit is what he’s doing to Mike Ploog, the artist whose work he is selling without permission or compensation. A jury awarded Marvel the 17,000 in the countersuit because they were convinced Gary did something he shouldn’t have done. No one seems to be angry at the jury, though…I wonder why? People are looking for ways to blame Marvel here, because they have “beaten the wife” a few times in the past, no doubt. But I’m unable to find their wrongdoing here…
      Again…everybody, please click the link to Steve’s fundraising page. Gary screwed up and got hurt, and his fans should try to help him out. But this is not one of Marvel’s moments of evil.

      • Are you sure this was a jury decision? My understanding is that there was a summary judgement against Friedrich in December (ie a judgement without a jury), and Friedrich agreed to settle for the $17K/not referring to himself as “creator” anymore in exchange for Marvel dropping the countersuit.

        I don’t really see anybody saying that Marvel was legally in the wrong (except maybe on the back-of-the-check contract — I was given to understand those had been ruled coercive and nonbinding in other suits and was surprised to see one supported here), just that their response is unnecessarily cruel.

        At any rate it hardly seems like Big Bad Fanboy picking on poor little Honest Irv.

        • yes, I’ve come to understand that it was a judge, not a jury, ruled here, so my information was wrong. But if you’ve not seen angry fanboys picking on Marvel in the last few days, claiming they’re legally in the wrong, as well as morally, then you’ve not been looking. There have been calls to boycott the movie, boycott Marvel comics. Marvel’s been called evil, wicked and cruel a number of times in articles, facebook postings, etc, and I’ve been called a few names here and there for defending them. And the coercive nature of the back-of-the-cheque statement doesn’t apply here as there was absolutely no misunderstanding on anyone’s part about how the series came about and who created Ghost Rider and owned him at the time it was all done, even Gary admits that. He simply imagined he somehow magically owned the film rights that he had no reason to believe he owned, and he never brought that up with anyone in the last thirty years to see if it were so…(it wasn’t). Gary gave a lawsuit a shot, more or less hoping for a miracle, and lost, and I got a little annoyed at the backlash Marvel got from defending themselves against a frivolous lawsuit. Gary is a sympathetic character, and deserves support and financial help just for being there for our childhoods…but poor little Honest Irv did nothing bad here, and yes, people have been saying he did.

          • Yes, more and more of your information you thought you had when you made this comic is coming up wrong. How are you any better than the strawman fanboys you attack?

            Yes, Marvel did do something bad here. It started way back in the ’70s in this case, and even if it was legal, it was still unethical. You don’t get to be surprised that people won’t suck it up just because it’s legal and you feel a need to be a condescending apologist.

            Because “I buy comics! I’m entitled to be royally pissed off about this!” is just a condescending jerk statement; not all of these people are “pissed off” about this because they feel entitled. They’re pissed off because they see a huge corporation getting away with being unethical douchebags and squashing this poor guy like a bug. There’s nothing wrong with coming back later and trying to re-negotiate a deal later when the situation has so drastically changed, and the cost of Gary’s lawsuit to Marvel is negligible compared to Marvel/Disney’s resources. Do you really thing they had to go out and find lawyers just for this? That they don’t have law firms on retainer to begin with? Do you have any sense of proportion at all?

            And when you belittle people for stating that they will not support a company that they see as acting badly (which anyone has every right to do and isn’t automatically unreasonable,) you’re the one that comes across as entitled. Entitled to have people support the business model you’ve locked yourself into and for some reason don’t believe you could help make any better.

            People aren’t required to support Marvel and Dc in order to support comics. There are other, better-behaved companies creators can move to now. If everyone abandoned them now, comics wouldn’t go away. Corporate comics content-mills would take a hit, but there’s no reason people have to support that business model anyway.

            So you’ll just have to accept that there’s a lot of people that aren’t going to take your white-knighting for Misney all that well.

          • Of course I’ve seen angry fanboys criticizing Marvel. I wouldn’t describe it as “picking on Marvel”, because that’s a loaded phrase that implies a power dynamic that simply does not exist. If your cartoon had thousands of gnats buzzing around, I dunno, Galactus, then it might not be as funny, but it would be a much more accurate metaphor.

            Haven’t seen anyone say Marvel’s legally in the wrong, but I’m sure they’re out there; you can find people on the Internet saying absolutely anything. I don’t think that’s a representative viewpoint.

            As far as evil, wicked and cruel? Yeah, I used one of those words myself and I stand by it. I think that’s a totally reasonable way to describe a corporate entity demanding $17,000 of an elderly, handicapped man who doesn’t have it, and on top of that not even allowing him to publicly claim a creator credit on something he co-created. And yes, that’s true even if he’s the one who provoked the fight. “Well HE STARTED IT!” does not make it okay to treat somebody that way.

            The “They could have done worse” defense is no defense at all — how could they possibly have done worse? Yeah, they could have asked for more money — but they’re already asking more money than he has.

            Your point that he’s not going to have to sell his house because of the kindness of donors doesn’t make Marvel less terrible in all this.

            And if you’re correct and Marvel IS backing off the $17K demand, that’s great, and Marvel deserves praise for it. But I doubt it would have happened without the PR backlash they’ve incurred.

            As far as calls for boycotts, I don’t see how there’s anything wrong with that either. I can’t say I’m boycotting Ghost Rider 2 — it’s not a boycott if you don’t buy something you were already not going to buy — but I HAVE been boycotting every Marvel property that’s based on Kirby’s work, because of how shabbily they treated him and continue to treat his heirs. And yeah, that’s another case where Marvel is legally in the right. That doesn’t mean they are behaving ethically or don’t deserve to be boycotted.

            If a company behaves in a way that consumers do not support ethically, those consumers have every right to refuse to support it financially. Boycotts are a vital mechanism in a free-market system. You need to keep your customers satisfied in order to keep your customers — and I do think that, if Marvel really HAS backed down on the $17K claim, it’s because it was getting pilloried in the press.

            (Though as far as people calling you names, well, shame on them; I think you’re a good guy and you’re right about the facts even if you’ve got a different read on them than I do.)

  11. Ty, this wasn’t decided by a jury, it was decided by a judge.

    It was a summery judgement to take care of some issues before going to trial (which makes the likelihood of winning much more difficult). Gary is appealing this so it may end up in a Jury trial if Gary is lucky.

  12. The difference between me selling my signature on a Simpsons’ poster I might go to Kinkos and make a print of and Gary is that I wasn’t involved in the creation of the Simpsons. Gary was there when it happened. If an author wants to autograph a print of a cover of a book they did in order to pay the rent or the image of a character they created in artist’s alley, what’s the harm? Artists get paid for drawing Batman who don’t own Batman. What’s to stop Marvel and DC from stopping you from doing sketches of characters you don’t own? Artist’s alley isn’t Walmart, slack gets cut to let celebrities make a few bucks off of past glory. It runs on good will. Gary at least has a strong connection to the character, that’s more than most people there have who make money off Marvel, DC and Dark Horse characters. $17,000 means what to Marvel? Nothing. $17,000 means what to Gary? Food and rent. Yes maybe people will show him charity and I hope they do (I get that you do too), but the only reason they need to is that Marvel is being incredibly petty over money that again will not affect them at all. Marvel has gotten away with a lot of terrible treatment of creators, we both agree on that. Even if he’s totally in the wrong here, Gary is a the splinter in a finger and they’re calling him on that when they’ve been the mighty redwood. It’s shameful and that’s why they’re being shamed right now. I appreciate your take on this but ethically they’re in the wrong.

    • I wish Marvel hadn’t smacked him with the extra 17,000, and it does come off as petty, obviously. The whole story is sad, and I wish everyone involved could be a mensch about it. I wish I had the cash to fix it personally. It would be nice if someone like Stan Lee could fix this. Stan would have been the one to hire Gary, as I think he starts scripting the War and Western books in the mid-sixties, taking them over from Lee, if I recall.

      The really sad part of this story is that it’s what’s in store for all of us who toil in work-for-hire…there’s no retirement, and no real royalties to look forward to for most of us who spend our life here. We can only hope to have a creator owned title go big and get a movie or TV deal along the way, perhaps have a spouse who has that good fortune…but life has no guarantees, and we’re no more entitled to a retirement package or a bonus from former clients than any other freelance professionals. We really shouldn’t be foolish enough to do this for a living, at least my mother keeps telling me.

      I wish it weren’t so. But it is.

  13. Just want to say “well said” to the strip. I’ll refrain from a big argument!

  14. Excellent and spot on comic. It was Gary who threw the first punch here. Marvel isn’t the bad guy here ana Gary was foolish to start a fight with Disney.

    It’s unfortunate, but Gary is an adult and he must live with his mistakes.

    • I’ll agree with “It was Gary who threw the first punch here” and “Gary was foolish to start a fight with Disney.” I don’t think either one of those things leads to the conclusion that “Marvel isn’t the bad guy here.”

      They could have settled for the court victory. Hell, maybe demanded a couple thousand and made him agree to say he was CO-creator of Ghost Rider instead of creator.

      Dude was looking at losing his house until the fans stepped in. I don’t care who threw the first punch, that’s inexcusable.

  15. Regarding the Mike Ploog art, who owns the reproduction right to that? Obviously Ploog owns the rights to the original page but does he own reproduction rights? I don’t believe that he does. If that’s the case then the money Friedrich made from those prints was taken from Marvel, not Ploog. I can still see Ploog being unhappy but if Marvel put the art in a poster or on a t-shirt I don’t think they would have paid Ploog anything either.

    Again, considering what goes on in Artists Alley in regards to Marvel characters I see this as a very minor infraction.

  16. The print I bought was by Herb Trimpe, drawn especially for Gary from what I recall. At San Diego in 2010, I saw no Ploog prints for sale. Have Ploog, Trimpe or any other artists made a statement about the prints and whether they feel exploited?

    Ty, I appreciate your perspective more now that I’ve read your comments as well as seen the cartoon. Since folks are posting the cartoon around the web, I just wish you had included some of that context and the link to help Gary with the cartoon as a final panel.

  17. It seem like Marvel has dropped the $17,000 fine. Good for them!
    And Ty, love your work and I’m glad you’re still foolish enough to do this for a living.

  18. I used to love you, Ty.

    • HAH! I get it, that was a callback to my Frank Miller toon from a couple of weeks ago. Ya pinned me. Wait, unless this is really the end of our relationship…?

  19. Just wanted to express my disappointment at your defence of Marvel with this situation.
    Other’s above have pointed out the holes in your argument better than I could, but there are 2 things that stand out to me.
    a) Mike Ploog does not disagree. I have double checked his statements on the matter, and it boils down to “I can’t recall”. It is a fact that Friedrich is credited for writing the first story, so he is, at the very least, co-creator.
    b) I think the thing that really steams my clams is not the $17,000, but the fact that Marvel is taking away his right to say he created Ghost Rider. I can’t see any legal precedent for this, and it is a complete douche move. Indefensible IMHO.
    Marvel does not need to have it’s actions defended, and Marvel certainly doesn’t deserve to have it’s actions defended.
    ANd I really don’t care about the Before Watchmen thing – that’s completely unrelated (no-one is taking away Alan Moore’s right to say he created Watchmen, even though they are based on other characters).

    • a) Mike’s statements support the idea that Gary was ONE OF the creators of Ghost Rider (along with Roy Thomas and Mike himself), which is a vast and important difference from Gary being THE creator. With a Marvel editor involved in the creative team, it’s clearly work for hire, and everyone involved knew it from the moment the process began. This isn’t even controversial. I hope people didn’t interpret that statement that “Mike and Roy completely disagree” to mean that Mike and Roy deny that Gary was involved. Of course they don’t….but their statements do point out that Gary wasn’t the sole creator, merely part of a team (and thus, not entitled to this payday)
      b) Marvel is NOT taking away Gary’s right to say he co-created Ghost Rider. They couldn’t possibly. He’s allowed to say it all day long, and to make personal appearances as well (and say it when he gets there). He’s simply no longer allowed to create and sell trademark infringing images of Ghost Rider with “Creator Of Ghost Rider” printed across it. He can’t profit from printing up that statement, but no court could stop him from saying it out loud. That’s a freedom of speech issue. (Also, he’s not the creator, but the co-creator, and the distinction matters). So that one’s been misinterpreted by a bunch of people.
      c) I suspect Marvel didn’t pursue the $17,000 dollars out of spite. Far more likely, they had no choice. If Gary mentioned or admitted in a deposition or testimony that he’d profited this $17,000 amount from selling trademarked properties, as the holder of the trademark, the lawyers for Marvel would likely be forced to recover the money as part of their defence of the trademark during the trial. If the judge ruled Gary didn’t have the right to sell trademarked images, the judge HAD to rule he didn’t have the right to keep the money, ipso facto. This isn’t douchebaggery (as it’s been described earlier) but a legal cage that Marvel CANNOT escape from when defending a trademark. And I have no way of knowing this one way or another, but it’s a fairly likely scenario that Marvel never would have come near Gary Friedrich for doing any of that Ghost Rider merch, unless Gary took Marvel to court in the first place, and it all came up in a trial or deposition.

      I know everyone has decided I’m the asshole here because Gary is a sympathetic character. And I’m VERY sympathetic to him, which is why I keep suggesting people click over to his fundraiser in the link in the main article above. But sympathy doesn’t change facts.
      Marvel acquired the trademark legally and ethically since everyone involved entered the deal willingly, including Gary who signed away the rights to Ghost Rider TWICE! Then years later, Marvel defended their trademark against a lawsuit, when one of that work-for-hire team wanted to retroactively void a contract he entered willingly years ago.

      So…final word on this, then I’m clamming up. PLEASE support Gary in his hour of need. Send him some cash, or send him some love. He wrote the comics of our childhood, and let’s see if we can’t help him out of a tough time. No one should face down the sort of troubles he’s facing down right now, so can we rally and support him?
      But can we do it without calling Marvel Comics a den of evil? Though there are a few clearly dodgy moments in their history (Kirby’s family was likely cheated of some money, and Stan’s sued them a time or two and won), they did not do evil here in this case.

      Neither did I.

      Ty the Guy.

      • Ty,
        Thanks for straightening me out about the credit thing (and thanks Keiren for the links).
        I stand corrected.
        The whole deal still sits badly with me, but rather than carry on a one sided argument when so many others have covered the same material as I have, I will simply say “Thank you” for your reply.

    • 1. Mike Ploog said, in his deposition, that at an agreed-upon meeting to finalize the design that Friedrich was not there so he and Roy Thomas made the final decisions. He takes credit for several aspects of the design.

      2. Marvel did not take away Friedrich’s right to say he created Ghost Rider.
      Daniel Best (who has been the person reporting on this case from the beginning) says in his blog, 20th Century Danny Boy:
      “RUMOUR: Marvel are preventing Gary from saying he is the creator of Ghost Rider.
      FACT: No, they’re not and in reality, they can’t. Gary can say whatever he wants, to whomever he wants. …(read the rest at his blog: http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2012/02/gary-friedrich-marvel-fact-vs-rumour.html. He goes on to address several other confusions about the case–**UPDATE: although he doesn’t make clear that HE is in fact the person who said, in a previous blog post, that GF was being prevented from saying he was the creator).

      The judgement on the case is also posted on Best’s site (and elsewhere). http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2012/01/gary-friedrich-enterprises-llc-et-al-v.html The judge explains that the question of whether this was all work-for-hire was moot legally because with the endorsed cheque (which validated Friedrich’s testimony that he knew from a meeting with Thomas and Stan Lee that Marvel would own the rights to the character) from 1971, and then again in a contract he signed in 1978. She writes “either one of those contractual transfers would be sufficient to resolve the question of ownership. Together, they provide redundancy to the answer that leaves no doubt as to its correctness.” (Friedrich’s testimony was not that he felt coerced or that he was unaware, but that he believed that Marvel would own the rights to use the character for comic books and that he would be able to use it for other purposes. But in his deposition, he agrees that there is no record of his having sought or had that conversation.)

      Everyone keeps talking about Marvel as a big heartless corporation–then expresses surprise that it’s not acting as a caring person. But Marvel IS a big corporate entity–and as such is shackled by the rules and regulations that come with that identity. Whatever might be the wish of individuals, of editors, of comic book professionals, there are legal and business forces at work. (From the beginning, I’ve been asking if there are reasons that they legally would have been obligated to seek a settlement from Friedrich for selling unlicensed product, once it became a point of discussion in a courtroom.)

      As many, many comic book pros have said–it’s a complicated situation and there is a lot that isn’t known to the general public (and all those pros). But, I don’t think there’s a comic book professional who has not said that it’s important to help Gary Friedrich out of a difficult financial situation whether you think he brought it upon himself or had it imposed upon him.
      DONATE TO GARY FRIEDRICH (via Steve Niles.com)

      http://www.steveniles.com/gary.html

  20. What bugs me – and is somewhat resolved by the last poster here – is all the people claiming to know what Gary “thought” or “knew” going in … how do you know these things? Ty claims (paraphrasing) that Gary knew what he was getting into with the work for hire contract, though, from what I’ve heard, those policies were not all that clear in the early/mid-70s.

    It seems like there are varied views about who created what, so why do you assume Gary is wrong and the others are right?

    Fact is, none of us were there, so we don’t know. We don’t know why Gary launched the lawsuit or what his intentions are. Ty, you keep claiming to speak about the “FACTS,” but many of them are things you likely could NOT know to be true. Best to call what’s opinion exactly that, source what you claim to be facts, and otherwise admit what you don’t know.

  21. Pingback: Open Letter to Nicolas Cage | Publish or Perish

  22. Geez, this comic is pretty uninformed. Way to make yourself look like an idiot. I’m sure Marvel lawyers and staff think it’s cute though and pass it around. Way to go!

  23. Nate, none of ‘know’ exactly what Gary was thinking, other than what he actually said and did (such as the 1978 agreement). AND BY HIS OWN DEPOSITION:

    “Friedrich testified at his deposition that when he discussed the Ghost Rider idea with the two senior editorial employees, Roy Thomas and Stan Lee, he understood that Marvel would own the rights to the Character and the Work for comic books–but, without any articulation on his part, let alone acknowledgment on the part of Marvel management, he asserts that he assumed that he would personally retain rights to exploit the Character and the Work in other, non-comic mediums. [Friedrich Dep. at 77:14-77:23; 79:9-79:22.]
    At the time, he was considering the possibility of a television show, but there is no evidence in the record that raises any issue of fact that he discussed this or obtained any agreement from Marvel that even television rights would be left out of the bundle of rights that Marvel would own.”

  24. Furthermore: “Friedrich concedes that he had read the 1978 Agreement when he signed it, that he discussed it with other freelancers–in particular, the topic of relinquishing rights which they may have had in exchange for the possibility of additional work–and that he understood its import. Friedrich also testified that following execution of the 1978 Agreement, he essentially disappeared for a year–he was an alcoholic and was riding in a
    truck with a friend for a period of time.”

    There is a long laundry list of people that Marvel and DC have treated poorly: Jack Kirby, Bill Finger, Alan Moore, Siegel and Shuster and so on….Gary is not among them. He entered fully and freely into signing away his rights more than once. This language isn’t ambiguous:

    ““SUPPLIER [i.e., Friedrich] expressly grants to MARVEL forever all rights of any kind and nature in and to the Work, the rights to use SUPPLIER’s name in connection therewith and agrees that MARVEL is the sole and exclusive copyright proprietor thereof having all rights of ownership therein.”

    As someone else posted on BoingBoing: Gary isn’t the poster boy for creator rights, here. He doesn’t deserve to be pounded, but he’s not the hapless victim tricked by the big corporation or betrayed by friends that people assume he is.

    • Yes, because it’s totally legal AND ethical to take advantage of someone suffering from alcoholism and under the implied threat that if he didn’t sign, he’d never work for Marvel again.

      Well it’s legal anyway.

    • A whole lot of creators signed that against their will. Jim Shooter tells the story from his vantage point here: http://www.jimshooter.com/2011/06/secret-origin-of-jim-shooter-editor-in_30.html#links

      Some of the relevant bits:

      “I passed out the new, less intimidating document. I also did my best to get people to believe that I could and would make things better if they’d give me a little time. A few people signed it, since it seemed less onerous (though the substance was the same). Among the first to sign was Bill Mantlo. A few others trusted what I was telling them and signed.

      Some stringers signed, hoping, I guess, that if the regulars didn’t sign, eventually work would open up for them.

      The question came up a lot, “Is this ‘sign it or else?’” The answer was yes. I knew that at some point, I’d be given a cut-off date. That answer went over like a death threat.”

      “Not long thereafter, the famous DC Implosion took place. DC cancelled, what, 40% of their line on the same day. Somebody have the bona fide stats? Anyway, they cancelled a lot of books all at once and eliminated a TON of creator work.

      When I arrived at the office the next day, around seven AM as usual, there was already a line at the outer door of creators who wanted to sign the Marvel W4H. Many were suddenly unemployed DC people, hoping to get work at Marvel, hoping perhaps to take the places of Marvel W4H holdouts. And there were LOTS of Marvel people who were suddenly ready to sign to prevent their jobs from being given to the DC guys.

      I accepted and counter-signed W4H’s all day.”

  25. I don’t know anything about his finances, but I’d imagine there is a corollary between “being penniless” as some of have described him and suing 5 movie studios.

  26. Pingback: Gary Friedrich case spurs debate about convention sketches | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  27. Dru,

    Yes, you must have skipped over the part where I referred to the last poster before me, who had actually sourced what she’d said, unlike Ty. That said, your quotes DO address some of the accusations Ty made, but hardly all of them, such as what Gary intended with the lawsuit.

    For example, Ty stated: “And the coercive nature of the back-of-the-cheque statement doesn’t apply here as there was absolutely no misunderstanding on anyone’s part about how the series came about and who created Ghost Rider and owned him at the time it was all done, even Gary admits that. He simply imagined he somehow magically owned the film rights that he had no reason to believe he owned, and he never brought that up with anyone in the last thirty years to see if it were so…(it wasn’t). Gary gave a lawsuit a shot, more or less hoping for a miracle, and lost, and I got a little annoyed at the backlash Marvel got from defending themselves against a frivolous lawsuit.”

    I’ve seen no evidence that he’s admitted to not having the prime role in creating Ghost Rider, for example. Not sure how Ty knows he hasn’t brought the issue up or talked with anyone about it during the last thirty years. I did read somewhere where he said that IF Marvel tried to make a movie about GR, he’d likely sue, so it doesn’t seem like it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing … etc.

    While I feel he may not have been as effed over as Kirby, say, I still feel he has been – if not legally, morally – effed over, and deserves support from the creator and fan communities.

  28. Also maybe if marvel didn’t need to spend all this money defending themselves from frivolous lawsuits they wouldn’t have laid off a bunch of editors last year.

  29. Pingback: Polêmica do Motoqueiro Fantasma vira debate na indústria | Multiverso DC

  30. Ha! XD
    Ty, you never cease to amaze and amuse me XD

    • Ach! I’ve been caught in a trope! Except Forbush Man wasn’t standing in for me, (as I have a bunny to do that, and specifically chose not to this week intentionally), but the rhythms are identical, so you’re right, it was a formula. Pre-skewered.

  31. I’m sorry, but (unlike many other great things you wrote here before) you’re wrong in so many levels here I can’t even begin to approach this.

    • Thanks for the kind words inside the brackets, and the polite words outside ‘em. (Not everyone’s been so polite!) Now that Marvel’s had their say, and everything is dying down….I’ll try to go back to stuff that won’t rile up the folks.

      Next week: Puppies, I vote yes!

  32. Pingback: Crisis On Infinite Midlives - Ghost Riders In Artists’ Alley

  33. Pingback: Marvel’s Spirit of Vengeance | Sequart Research & Literacy Organization

  34. Did anyone mention Friedrich’s case was originally filed in 2007, when the movie came out. And now it’s all floated to the surface again now there’s another one out?

    The guy may well be Mother Theresa with a penis but he’s got no claim and frankly the ‘fans’ need to shut the smeg up before picking up their pitchforks and lighting their torches.

    There’s a bunch more details all of which corroborates with this strip right here

    http://www.comicgeekspeak.com/episodes/comic_geek_speak-1490.php

  35. Pingback: Talking Comics with Tim | Ty Templeton | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  36. Pingback: Links for readers and writers | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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