Yesterday as fallout from the lawsuit Gary Friedrich filed against Marvel following the release of the big budget Ghost Rider movie in 2007, Marvel has filed a counter suit on the now broke 69 year old creator for $17,000 for recompense they claim he owed in money made selling prints of his own creation.
Friedrich claims he was owed money as the creator of GR (in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5) and that he’s been denied by the comics giant. Sadly his point has been disproved due to the evidence presented of checks he signed as ‘work for hire’ that meant the rights reverted to the company through the small print. Unfortunately this whole legal hoohah has been to Friedrich’s cost and Marvel/Disney’s company lawyers seem set to make an example of him in a move so bastardly it would make Wolfram and Hart wince.
Here’s the skinny below from CBR:
Marvel figures that Friedrich made $17,000 from “the distribution and sale of goods depicting the Ghost Rider character appearing in Marvel Spotlight, Vol. 1, No. 5,”. Marvel is demanding this money under threat of a counter-suit. Marvel also wants him to stop selling Ghost Rider merchandise and even calling himself the creator of Ghost Rider if there’s anything in it for him.
30 Days of Night Creator Steve Niles asked the comics community to band together on twitter with a donation campaign on behalf of Friedrich, who is now not only broke and in ill health, but also on the verge of a serious reaming by Marvel’s legal vulture squad. Niles reached out to other pros and so far has received a modest amount of responses.
Jack Kirby, Steve Gerber and Alan Moore have all famously had run ins with Marvel over creators rights issues, something that became such an issue that artist Neal Adams helped found the Comic Creators Guild in a unionization move in 1978. But stiffing creators wasn’t limited to Marvel, DC were as guilty and Adam’s Guild through lobbying efforts helped Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster receive decades-overdue credit and some financial remuneration from the Superman publisher.
Luckily most modern creators are savvy enough to negotiate with a company over rights issues before handing them original material, and this is off the back of such previous disputes as the ones aforementioned.
To help take action:
A Support Gary Friedrich Facebook Page has sprung up and already has 960 Likes; Marvel is getting called a bunch of jerks (and much worse) in forums and comments all over the Internet, and a fan even wrote anopen letter to Ghost Rider star Nicolas Cage, asking him to pay the $17,000 himself. This has now become a petition at Change.org (where the Jack Kirby petition now has more than 800 signatures, by the way).
And we at BAD HAVEN would just like to add; Marvel, you’ve always fucked creators, and we appreciate that as a corp your required to try and hang onto shit that will make you mega money. But you’ve never fucked anyone this bad. Take Disney’s hand out of your ass and do the right thing.
Tags: gary friedrich