Grant Morrison, from an interview conducted by Warren Ellis in 2000. I came across it quite by accident, but … wow. Certainly resonates today given current circumstances.
Lately, all of the coverage of past corporate shadiness in the comics industry and creators letting their conscience dictate who their next WON’T be reminded me of this anecdote about Michael Jordan. A reporter asked Jordan—at the peak of his popularity at the time—why he doesn’t use his fame and influence to try to affect political and social change.
Jordan, who certainly benefited from the sacrifices and boldness of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, replied: “Republicans buy tennis shoes, too.”
This got me thinking then: What if—hypothetically speaking, of course—the “Marvel Architects” told the company the only way they would re-up their exclusive contracts would be if, say, Marvel/Disney settled the current lawsuit with Jack Kirby’s heirs and—oh, I don’t know—adopted Kurt Busiek’s modest proposal of compensating past creators?
Would Marvel capitulate, learning from history and realizing its sales figures are much too fragile to take any kind of hit? Would the Mouse of Ideas tell them to take a hike, secure in the fact that the IP always trumps the creator when it comes to readers? Would other writers and artists follow suit? Would things only get worse for the company and the industry? Or would anything happen at all?
I don’t know, but it’s interesting to think about … hypothetically speaking, of course. To be fair, a persuasive case can be made that contract conditions have improved since Kirby’s time, and the people responsible for that are gone. “The Architects” have been treated well by Marvel, so why rock the boat?
But imagine if that boat-rocking transformed the industry’s landscape for the good and benefited those financially overlooked creators that today’s talent so often praise and credit. That would be quite a legacy to have. Sure beats being known as the guy who created a character that the actress from that sitcom with Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer could play in three Avengers movies. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Come In Alone: Issue #28 - Comic Book Resources