Not how it works Mr. Coates, not how it works

Re Marvel and DC comic writers:

Comic creators are “work-for-hire”, so the companies they work for owe them nothing beyond a flat fee and royalty payments.

Work for hire often doesn’t even include royalty payments. Those few pieces I did for The Guardian were bought out – all rights – for £85 each, for example.

Bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote a run of Marvel’s Black Panther and followed Brubaker and Epting’s Captain America run with his own a few years later, says that he believes Marvel has moral obligations to its artists and writers that go beyond contracts.

“Long before I was writing Captain America, I read [Brubaker and Epting’s] Death of Captain America storyline, and Return of the Winter Soldier, and it was some of the most thrilling storytelling I’d ever read,” Coates says. “I’d rather read it than watch the movies – I love the movies too – but it doesn’t seem just for them to extract what Steve and Ed put into this and create a multi-billion dollar franchise.”

Coates says he feels fairly treated when it comes to his own work, but he is adamant that lesser known names deserve better treatment from the big studios, no matter what their contracts say: “Just because it’s in a contract doesn’t make it right. If I have some kind of leverage over you, I can get you to sign a contract to fuck you over. It’s just legalist.”

The contract is the demonstration of the leverage you have at that point in time. That’s actually what it’s for, to register these things frozen at that point in time.

7 thoughts on “Not how it works Mr. Coates, not how it works”

  1. “Comic creators are “work-for-hire”, so the companies they work for owe them nothing beyond a flat fee and royalty payments.”

    Well no, they aren’t. That’s one model for comic creators. The other model is that you create a comic, you publish it to the internet, or hawk it around comic conventions. People do this. And this applies to music, filmmaking, gaming, software, romance novels.

    There are people who work in varying degrees of these things. Joss Whedon says that he made more money from Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog than The Avengers. Why? Because Dr Horrible was his own creation, he risked money to fund it, and so when it was a success, he collected the money. With The Avengers, he got a salary and probably a small success bonus.

  2. Dennis, He of Refined Taste

    I might have known that, as well as everything else, this prick would be into superhero comics bullshit.


  3. Writer who trades on his media fame to get sweet gig and extra money taking work from other lesser known writers pretends to support them so he can feel less guilty.
    Tad hypocritical that he used his leverage to get a better deal then accuses the comics companies of being evil for doing the same.

  4. Reminds me I read Ready Player Two (thankfully lent to me), a massive pile of woke box ticking, inconsistent, illogical, lifeless and boring crap is the best thing I can say about it

  5. This racist dickhead should go ply his trade somewhere that doesn’t believe in the sanctity of contract. He’ll shortly discover what leverage really is. Nitwit!

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