Robot 6

Steve Niles starts donation campaign for Gary Friedrich

The internet has been abuzz ever since the news broke that Marvel is demanding $17,000 from Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich in return for not countersuing him, after he lost his suit against them. And now someone is doing something about it: Comics writer Steve Niles has set up a donation fund to help Gary, and donations are pouring in. Niles told CBR that most were in the $20 range, so it will take a lot to make a difference, but Marvel’s action seems to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Jamie Gambell has pledged the proceeds from his February book sales to the fund, and other donors include Steve Lieber, David Gallaher, and Neil Gaiman, who gave the fund drive a huge boost by retweeting it to his large following.

The whole thing came together quickly over Twitter; after getting an e-mail from Friedrich, Niles appealed to friends to help him set up a PayPal page, then reached out to a number of prominent creators (not all of whom have answered the call). The goal is rather modest: “Looks like 6k will keep a roof over his head, so let’s shoot for 7,” Niles tweeted about an hour ago. The donations have been pouring in, but he will need a lot more to reach that goal, he told CBR.

Meanwhile, it’s a bit like the last scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with creators hollering good wishes as they toss money into the till. “I just helped Gary. We might all need help some time. Good Karma, people!” tweeted Jill Thompson. “I am totally in,” said Gail Simone.

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Comments

21 Comments

Sure, Marvel screwed him; they screw everybody that isn’t a part of their current bullpen of nerds. But as much as I feel for the guy’s financial crisis, he knew darn well going into this that all that Ghost Rider IP stuff was still up in the air when he made his move to sell the artwork in question. That wasn’t very bright.

The thing that really gets me is that this is the kind of thing that The Hero Initiative was created for, but not a peep. Then I noticed that Joe Quesada is on their board of directors.

Love Ghost Rider and I really feel for Gary. I was looking forward to seeing him at Pittsburgh Comicon again this year, but I doubt it can happen now. The whole situation sucks, and I hope Marvel will just “call off the dogs” and forgive the settlement amount.

That caption under the photo seems demeaning.

Agreed. I had actually changed it but it didn’t propagate, so i removed it.

Oh there is something offensive about that caption; the fact that it can be made in the first place. Marvel contributed to this guy’s financial ruin. I suspect things will be worse now. The Mouse hates losing money, an opportunity for a new revenue stream.

I’d love to see not only he get the money he needs for the house but the donations actually make up the money that Marvel’s requesting so they know it all came from the fans who support him and the fact that he’s the actual creator.

This whole situation is disgusting. Back when these deals were made, comic creators were over a barrel. If you wanted to work for the big two, you signed your soul away. It was fuck or walk. Yeah, they knew what they were getting into, that doesn’t make it okay. Exploitation is exploitation.

Wise up creators. Don’t sell your soul to these companies. Own your intellectual property or you’ll live to see fat cats get rich off your hard work while you face old age with nothing to show for it.

And fans, think about it. Every time you give Marvel your money, you’re contributing to this bullshit. Is it worth it?

I would think the CBLDF would maybe be better suited to help than the Hero Initiatve as this is more of a legal issue than medical, etc. though it is a huge financial burden. Wish him all the best.

I donated to the cause.

Have you?

Yes, I have. I wish it could’ve been more. Maybe if the feds hurry up with my tax refund …

Back when a lot of these characters were created there was little to no merchandising, no VHS/DVD sales, no streaming movies/Netflix,/rentals, few (if any) comic conventions, and Marvel didn’t make its own movies. Times have changed. I have heard from some creators that have worked for both Marvel and DC that they make little to no money off their Marvel creations, but do continue to receive royalties off DC characters- even their lesser know ones, and that if there is a potential problem or payment oversight a phone call to the company usually resolves it. Marvel may be legal in what they are doing, but that doesn’t make it the right thing t do. There’s protecting their copyrights, and there’s punishing creators whose original work continue to make you money. I know that if Marvel doesn’t start treating the creators of their comics universe with more respect I’ll never spend another dime on anything they produce- and I’ve been buying Marvel since 1977.

“Make Mine Creator Owned!”

sad to see once again marvel treating one of the creators whose character has helped their success a new low for disney marvel going after ghost riders creator . espically when now it looks like marvel is out for the creators from the old ways who are seniors by this action.

If anyone has any doubts about what kind of guy he is, JOE QUESADA knows all about this heartless, petty display of power, and is doing NOTHING about it.

Consider that fact the next time you give him a standing ovation at a Cup o’ Joe panel.

Don’t all comic artists sell sketches and commissioned pieces of licensed characters?
I know he tried to sue them, But this is really petty.

I met Friedrich at Wizard World Chicago 2010, and he was actually a nice guy. He autographed a spot in my autograph album (though I forgot to label it, and now I can’t tell which is his), and I didn’t ask for anything more. I feel sorry for the guy, because when I met him, he looked like he’d had a few days….

Somebody find Nick Cage somewhere

Considering Friedrich had formed his own company, then distributed Ghost Rider prints through that company without Marvel’s permission, they certainly had the legal right to go after him, as according to their contracts, he had no ownership of GR. Morally though, they are quite scummy for being so heavy-handed, especially given his situation. What’s “legal” isn’t necessarily what’s right. To quote Jean-Luc Picard, “When the law is absolute, there is no justice.”

When these creators signed with marvel the company was near bankruptcy several times. There was no way to know movies and DVDs would crop up the way they did. The copyright laws are antiquated. Everyone should torrent their marvel books or wait for back stock push outs, that ll annoy marvel. What disgusts me is how fans are ok with this. I blame them more than marvel or Disney.

I used to work with the guy who wrote the drum part on Camper Van Beehtoven’s “Take the Skinheads Bowling” (and the beats for the whole album and some of the next, too). He never got royalties, and now his name is not even in the credits anymore (but the band’s next drummer ist). Its one of the saddest things I have ever seen. But, like here, it’s all perfectly legal. He trusted his friends, and they fucked him over.

ALWAYS ALWAYS have something in writing and signed. Even if it is just written on a napkin. Its still legal.

Fuck Marvel. DC may be screwing over Alan Moore, but at least they still pay him royalties.

I was going to take all the money I usually spend on Marvel comics and donate it instead to the cause. Then I realized I don’t buy anything from Marvel anymore. I donated anyway…

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