Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Serious Question

Does the term "Creator" even apply to comic professionals that work (entirely or mostly) at Marvel and DC?

Consider this - many of these professionals do not, as a rule, create any new characters. Some don't even truly create new stories but rather make modern remixes or "Greatest Hits" collections of earlier, more remembered works (i.e. Batman's "Hush". The Brubaker run on Captain America). Those rare (and increasingly so as the years go on) instances in which a comic professional does create a new character or story, it is often to no greater reward or credit than if that person had not done so - making the impetus to do so in the first place negligble at best. Incredible Hercules or Blackest Night might have some great stories - but if they were ever adapted for a direct-to-DVD animated feature in five years would Pak and Van Lente or Johns get a fair compensation for their work being adapted by others? Unfortunately, I think we all know that wouldn't be the case under the current industry conditions.

So, I ask you this - if you don't control the creation, if you have no ownership of it, or if you simply just play in the toybox, never bringing anything new - are you actually a creator?

If not, what are you? Would the term "Copyright Maintenance Personnel" fit better? It would be a more accurate job description, at least.

Your thoughts, please.


Barrel Jumper said...

You can also tack Spider-Man's "Brand New Day" into the examples of "remixes". Nothing original or creative has come through that title in years.


Phil Watts, Jr. said...

I've been thinking this way for the longest...especially when it comes to DC. The one thing that sickens me is their insistance that everybody and their great grandmother has to follow somebody's legacy, no matter how faulty that legacy is. Let's take Impulse and make him KID FLASH (then make him THE FLASH, beat him to death, and bring him back as KID FLASH). Let's take The Spoiler and make her the fourth ROBIN, and then torture her to death, and bring her back as BATGIRL. Let's make up a plucky new teenage girl with Earth-moving powers and name her after the earth-moving chick that betrayed the Teen Titans and had sexual relations with HER FATHER!!!

Can anyone in DC make up a new character to save their lives...or are they afraid that if they did make a new character and it doesn't get over, it'll wind up getting brutally killed in the next super/mega/massive/meta-fictional crossover event?

In that standpoint, OH HELL NO! None of them deserve the title "CREATOR". Come to think of it, they can barely do their job as COPYRIGHT MAINTANENCE PERSONAL, considering how most of the most they work on are in the shitter. (Hello Amazing Spiderman.) Because of the terrible books being produced by these people over the past 5 or so years, I can think of a better title for them all and you only need but one syllable to say it:


mrjl said...

The term should be "writer."

MrCynical said...

Barrel Jumper: I already addressed that in my BND post, so I don't feel the need to be redundant, but just the same, I feel you are correct.

Phil Watts Jr.: The legacy thing has gotten to the point of absurdity in pointing out how many multiple redundancies there are for each character to the point that none is unique. I actually don't mind the idea of the legacy hero, but some variety would be nice.

mrjl: You are correct, at least as it applies to writers. However, the object of my question is that the term "creator" normally refers to several occupations in the comic industry (writer, artists, editors, etc), and so I'm not looking for a term to replace a specific function, but rather the common term.

M Porter said...

Hush was a new character and Winter Soldier is arguably different from what the character of Bucky was that I consider it a new character. Amadeus Cho, Layla Miller, the Hood, The Orange Lantern, Runaways come to mind as good new characters. Some creators take an old throw away character and makes them interesting, which could be considered "new".

I really think the problem is fandom. DC has no problem putting out original works under the Vertigo label so I don't think it is a corporate thing. If the fans didn't reward reboot, relaunches, and resurections they wouldn't print them. Fans just need to accept that the Marvel universe could have had really interesting stories without Green Goblin's or Steve Roger's return and DC without Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and Hal Jordan. Mainstream super hero stories are stuck between the twin forces of continuity and fandom's need to see their specific favorite characters each month.