Robot 6

Roger Langridge just says no to more Marvel and DC work

Roger Langridge is the latest creator to say he is no longer going to work for Marvel or DC Comics because of concerns about the way they treat creators.

The subject came up last week, when Langridge, the writer of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, the Muppets comics (originally created for BOOM! Studios and now being republished by Marvel) and John Carter: A Princess of Mars, was interviewed on The Orbiting Pod podcast. After chatting about his newest comics Snarked! and Popeye (which IDW Publishing has just expanded from a four-issue miniseries to an ongoing series), he added this:

I’m very happy to be cultivating a working relationship with people like BOOM! and IDW at the moment when Marvel and DC are turning out to be quite problematic from an ethical point of view to continue working with.

I think it’s down to everybody’s individual conscience, but I think those of us who have options—and I do have options, I’ve got a working relationship with a couple of different publishers, I’ve got illustration to fall back on, I’m not beholden to Marvel and DC for my bread and butter, so it seems to me that if you do have the option you should maybe think hard about what you are doing and who you are doing it for. I was writing the last issue of John Carter when the news came that Marvel had won a lawsuit against the heirs of Jack Kirby, and Steve Bissette wrote a very impassioned post about the ethics of working for Marvel under those circumstances, and pretty much then I figured I should finish the script I was writing and move on, and it’s not like Marvel needs me. It’s no skin off their nose if I don’t accept anything else from them in the future.

On his blog, Langridge clarifies that he made the decision last summer, at a time when he wasn’t doing any Marvel or DC work, so he’s not so much quitting as deciding not to go back. His statements come less than a month after iZombie and Superman writer Chris Roberson made headlines with his announcement that he’s ending his relationship with DC because of its treatment of creators and their heirs.

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48 Comments

Kevin T. Brown

May 14, 2012 at 8:17 am

“Roger Langridge just says no to more Marvel and DC work”

Ok.

Who is Roger Langridge?

Honestly, if you haven’t read his work before, it’s worth seeking out. One of the funniest writers working in comics today. Sad he won’t be doing any more Muppets books, because his characters were pitch perfect. But he’ll do well with whatever characters he writes. Snarked and Popeye are two current favorites in my pull list.

A really talented writer/artist who’s been creating work for over 20 years, responsible for the well received Muppets Show comics and Snarked, as well as earlter works like Zoot! Also wrote a Thor comic that everyone liked. Who is adding his name to those few creators willing to take some sort of vaguely ethical stance in the face of corporate steamrollering.

If you’re interested you could take a look at his website: http://www.hotelfred.com/

unless, heaven forbid, you were just being a lazy snark…?

Did he ever ask the hypothetical question of, “if it was 1950 and you hired jack kirby as a work for hire” would you pay millions in royalties to jack Kirby in the present.

The fact that these guys are just now saying this stuff makes their ethics argument take a nose dive.

@Sharma

You forgot to add that you have NO personal ethics of your own

I know who Roger Langridge is.

I applaud the stance he is taking, and I’m a little more likely to buy his comics now.

Those of you who are figuratively throwing rocks at him… do you picket blood donor clinics too?

Duff McWhalen

May 14, 2012 at 8:42 am

I’ve been a Landridge fan for years, but I think this is a little silly. Silly in that like Roberson, he’s not just finding out about this and is making this sort of statement in large part because his relationship with those companies means little for either party.

Good for him. i don’t agree with it but at least hes backing up his stance.

Holy hell. These comment threads get more and more dispiriting every time this subject comes up. What is it with Robot 6 commenters?

And good for Langridge. Guy’s a fantastic artist and I’m very glad to see him take an ethical stand like this.

I’m sorry that he’s not going to doing any more work for Marvel. His short run on Thor the Mighty Avenger was one of the best all-ages comics published by Marvel in a long while, full of wit, charm and fun (and action), with a sense of wonder about it all. My 11 year old nephew loves comics, but I find it increasingly difficult to find comics that he would a) be interested in and b) are understandable to a newcome and not aimed at a 30 year old comic geek. Thor the Mighty Avenger covered all the bases.

However I bought Popeye a week or two back and loved it. So, he’s still putting out great work.

His ethical stance on working with DC or Marvel is understandable. I am very uncomfortable about he situation regarding Before Watchmen and the Watchmen rights. So, I won’t be buying it. I won’t be carping on about how it is a sign of the end times, I just won’t be buying it. Voting with my wallet.

I don’t really know enought about the Jack Kirby situation to comment, so I won’t.

@Duff, did you read the article? He says it was something on his mind up until Marvel won a lawsuit against the Kirby estate. God forbid a creator should be able to CHANGE THEIR MIND.

“The fact that these guys are just now saying this stuff makes their ethics argument take a nose dive.”

What?!?! What does WHEN somebody makes a decision have anything to do with it? Because he’s already done some work for the Big Two, he automatically no longer has ethics? Ridiculous. The fact that he has worked within that system gives him first-hand experience upon which to base his decision. If anything, it strengthens his ethical argument that he is turning down paid work from a company he has a history with because of an ethical problem he has with the way they operate.

Besides, this isn’t like Roberson who came out publicly on his own against DC. Langridge was interviewed and asked about it and gave an honest, open, answer which acknowledged both a)that he has options which is why can do this, and b)Marvel won’t miss him, anyway. It’s hardly even an “ethical argument” so much at it is a personalized explanation for a career choice he happened to recently make.

An excellent career choice which deserves support.

I agree it seems a little disingenuous now. It’s easy to take an ethical stand when it means one is not giving anything up. By his own admission, he doesn’t need to work for Marvel/DC, and neither company needs him either, so his “ethical stand” really means nothing. And, as pointed out earlier, was he just now made aware of how Kirby was treated?

It’s all kind of silly, these creators who make enough of a name for themselves through work for these supposedly heartless corporations that they don’t need to work for the same corporations, then taking a “stand” due to the way past creators were treated. It just seems like lip service, and “look at me” self promotion, and it’s getting tiresome. If people were really concerned with these issues, they would do something besides passive protest, or at least propose a solution besides “Just give Kirby’s heirs money”.

@Joseph

So answering a questions when asked, in an interview, is now self promotion

Yeah your ability to participate in ANY logical conversation has just been nullified

I built a corporate gifts business, hired a woman who did a great job designing my baskets, then she asked for 50% and later 25% of my business since she was helping me with the design and all the manual labor, I let her go. She underestimated everything I built before she came there as far as the infrastructure and client list went and didn’t care that I would have to alter my own standard of living, and didn’t care that I was the one that was taking all the risk. She got another job making more money. Kirby seemed to have accomplished the same thing in life.

People always dismiss the argument about Kirby would never have been heard of it wasn’t for the company he worked for, and those people completely underestimate everything that goes on behind the scenes and prior to an artist arrival. Kirby never once took a significant financial risk, he did his work for a pay check. The only risk he took was potentially passing up another job, but never had to worry about putting up the cash to make sure other employees did not lose their jobs, n the end he still had a pay check and at the time thats what mattered.

Please someone send me the link showing Jack Kirby living in a homeless shelter. Please someone tell me why his daughter had no problem “selling her soul” to marvel when she scripted a series with her fathers characters for marvel’s imprint.

Yes. The best way to respond to this is cynicism. Everyone’s a selfish asshole, so it’s okay for you to be. Well done everyone.

@Matt D

They lose credibility, it becomes a stunt rather than a risk or sacrifice

Would love to see Amanda Connor or Andy Kubert or one of them have a real conversation on ethics

@The Beast Must Die

I just searched the page, your the only one that has used the word selfish

Just because people don’t agree with your view doesn’t mean they have no sympathy

Dunno why people get so uppity about a choice that in no way effects them.

@Lee

There is no law of ethics that says it must cause you some kind of sacrifice. Boycotting these Before Watchmen comics will not cause me any sacrifice (especially since they will be crap anyway)

I say ‘NO MORE WORK FOR DC FROM ME EITHER!”… unless they’ll give me some. I have no problem with work for hire.

I’m not really interested in his works, but if he’s coming out “just now” about this he’s missed the boat and looks a bit hypocritical. If he was upset about these things he should have made his move in the 90’s. Doing it now makes him look like “Now that DC and Marvel have made me a well known I’m going to wine about it:”. This issue with DC and Marvel are well known and if you don’t agree with their methods don’t sign the contract, but I know you need to eat so you signed it. You can surely make it on your own being self published, but the risk is that of the starving artist. If you want to reduce the risk you work with a publisher otherwise you take your chances.

Good for him! I’m a fan of Langridge’s work, even own a couple of original pieces of artwork he did. I think he wrote & drew some nice stuff for Marvel, but I’m glad to hear he’s in the position to be able to choose to not work for the Big Two. I wish more creators had that choice.

@Michael

how have DC and Marvel made him well known???

You’re clearly not familiar with his work – and are talking out of your a**

RegularSyzedMike

May 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

It’s hypocritical of him to take this stance now because Marvel and DC have been screwing people over for decades. But who cares? I want to relive my childhood so they can screw whoever they need to to get me my latest re-telling of Captain America’s story while I pretend to understand what good writing and art are. I also like action figures so…yeah. Gimme.

“How do you feel about the way the Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster and Jack Kirby copyright claims have progressed with Marvel and DC, and does it influence the way you approach your career and your creations?”

Neal Adams:

“I don’t know the real, complete facts, just what I am told and have read on the Internet from the U.S Court of Appeals, 9th District.

1. I am told long after Jerry Siegel died, that Jerry and Joanne’s daughter Laura, accepted an offer of 3 million dollars in advance, plus 5 million dollars a year ongoing, and 6% royalty on product.

2. I am told, her lawyer would have received 4 or 5%.

3. I am told, for whatever reason, another lawyer came in, halted the final signing, and did or did not offer Laura 15 million dollars from an outside investor, and he, (the lawyer), would take over the negotiations.

4. I am told, that she did not receive the money.

5. I am told, that the new lawyer is to receive 40% of any money. (Can this be true?) I am not stating this as a fact, just repeating what I read in the public documents from the U.S. Court of Appeals.

6. JoAnne has died.

Who profits from all of this?

Once again, I am not close enough to this to know the real facts. Nor will I play favorites in any way. But, as a working professional, I am horrified at this wranglin, that I believe could have been settled easily, by common sense and fairness, and in fact, was settled.

I once stepped-up, offered my help, and made things better.

What is happening now creates division in our industry, and makes it incredibly hard for creatives to get a fair deal, because too many people have been forced to take sides in problems that could have been settled, easily and fairly.”

@guffaw – I didn’t read the entire interview, but based on this blog entry I do not see where he was asked why he isn’t working for Marvel/DC anymore.

<i.I agree it seems a little disingenuous now. It’s easy to take an ethical stand when it means one is not giving anything up.

I keep reading this in relation to these stories, and while I don’t agree — they’re canning all potential future work, too, no matter what the current state of their freelancer portfolio of assignments — here’s my question: Do you give Alan Moore credit for leaving DC over ethical concerns when he was at the top of his game post-Watchmen and striking out on his own with From Hell and Big Numbers?

“Please someone send me the link showing Jack Kirby living in a homeless shelter”

Yup, good point. Unless you are homeless you have no right to complain about other people living large off your creations and repeatedly refusing to give appropriate credit to you for said creations. This blanket dismissal of anyone taking some kind of ethical stance, especially as a freelancer in a fairly small market, as being some kind of self-publicity stunt or bandwagonism is thoroughly depressing.

This is why I’m a creator owned comic book artist who have designed and written stories for dozens of characters without the “Work For Hire” stigma on my back.There’s nothing wrong with it as long as you understand that once you enter this type of agreement, you now have no say if you create a new character while working for that corporate Shark and allow them to publish your stuff.

I don’t need the drama nor want any of the legal battle with a comic book company over who owns my characters.It ain’t worth it at all.

Duff McWhalen

May 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

well said, lee. I think it’s just easier to stand behind an individual and his family than look at the flaws in the “Kirby got screwed” statement.

@statham

yes, but I’ll be honest and admit that I forgot/missed that detail. It’s not like I was or am blasting Langridge, I’m just saying that it’s not really a meaningful gesture since it’s not like he’s cutting off a fruitful relationship. I will give him a little more credit than Roberson, though, since he’s not going out of his way to make a statement while still receiving a paycheck.

So let me make sure I understand.

I should not support Roger Langridge’s stand because
– Roger Langridge isn’t famous
– Roger Langridge isn’t keeping his stand a complete secret
– Roger Langridge did not grow up dreaming about how one day he would _not_ work for Marvel and DC
– Roger Langridge is successful enough that taking this stand will not reduce him to poverty
– Jack Kirby wasn’t homeless

Is that about it?

Matthew E. wins the Internet!

@Mathew E

Your sarcasm is noted, However.

The time for Roger to take this stand was in the 90’s when we was working on things like Judge Dredd. Instead of staying away from Marvel and DC the last 10 years or so he’s done work for Marvel and DC probably just to put food on the table. Now he’s crying about it, and I couldn’t care less.

Jack Kirby did the right thing and left both DC and Marvel because he didn’t feel that he was treated properly. I also don’t agree with the lawsuits Lisa Kirby has filed in the past because they read as if she believes that Kirby did all the work. Truth is, the way DC and Marvel have done their work, Multiple Artist and Writes could lay claim to characters. If Kirby owns half and Marvel owns half what does Stan own? What about the other writers besides Stan? What about the other artists that have done more for the character after Stan and Kirby stopped doing work? That is why they were done as work for higher to remove any ambiguity over who can do future stories.

If you wanted to take the moral ground and stand for Kirby the time to do so was when he was alive, and not to work for or buy anything from Marvel or DC at any point after his death. This is why Roger is a hypocrite.

What, people are not allowed to change their minds? Do you feel exactly the same way about the world as you did a decade ago?

I may be completely wrong here, but isn’t Snarked loosely based on the works of Lewis Carroll? Does he give a percentage of the money he makes on that title to Carroll’s descendants?

Michael: Well, maybe he didn’t know all those things back then. Maybe it took some time for his thoughts to crystallize. (That’s what happened to me, after all; I didn’t stop buying Marvel and DC stuff until just this winter.) You can’t always instantly realize what the right thing is to do. And sometimes it takes a while for the pressure of your conscience to build up. That’s not hypocrisy; it’s just change.

Not that there’s anything wrong with working for Marvel or DC or buying their comics. It’s not like buying conflict diamonds or something. I don’t have a problem with anyone deciding to work for DC or Marvel or to keep buying their comics. There are lots of valid reasons why people would want to do those things.

But Roger Langridge and Chris Roberson hit their personal limits, and made a serious decision, and more power to them for it; I hope it has a positive effect.

It’s tricky, because there’s all this money moving around, and we’re trying to figure out who deserves it. Jack Kirby? Sure, but he isn’t here anymore. His heirs? Well, they didn’t do anything. Marvel? Disney? Mark Ruffalo? The unfairness of the past is largely beyond anyone’s ability to address, but many of us, me included, can’t bring ourselves to end that sentence with “…therefore the giant oppressive corporation should get to keep all the money.” Maybe they will get to keep all the money, but it stinks, and it’s worth saying so.

The Boy With A Herve Villechaize Tattoo

May 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

So, how many of you that saw The Avengers once, twice, three times the lady (or more), also donated an equal or greater amount of money of your ticket sold to the Kirby heirs or to a creator charity like Hero Initiative or Comic Book Legal Defense Fund?
We did.
What I’m saying is IF you all care so much, back it up with your wallets. And stop buying Marvel and DC if you don’t like their business practices. They won’t listen to any of our gripes, but they WILL listen to the loss of the almighty $.

Why does the actions of 60 years ago effect the ethics of working for the big two now. He states changes in the Kirby Law suit as the impetus. This would be a suit that appeared around the same time as the Disney money and on the back of the superman case from the same lawyer and even tried to claim rights for Spiderman (because that the real cash cow for a greedy lawyer). The Neal Adams quote above give an idea of the ethics of these lawsuits and lawyers.

It was a known a public case before he did Thor and some held the idea the Jack did not do has well as he could long before that. so surely he should not have done thor in the first place.

And why is unethical for Marvel to defend the case they have developed Thor with the help of Jack Stan Walt JMS Ellis Sal Omering Jurgans for half a century do all of those people deserve a cut of all future Thor if so where does the money end. if the rights were split or an injunction placed on them they would no Thor and the writer in question would not have been able to produce the comic which is regarded as one of the best Thor comics in recent years so he should be thankful Marvel defended the case as it gave him the chance to produce and get paid for a sucessful and popular comic.

To move Away from Thor we can look at Bucky created by Kirby and Simon in modern marvel barely a cypher until Brubaker revived him who has more say on the character as currently stands. Or the Hulk are Davids 100+ issues less important to how the character turned out to what was seen in Hulk 1.

The rules of ownership where known at the time and Kirby excepted them, it would have been nice for him to see more money in his lifetime but for lawyers to stoke up resentment from those who have not input of control on the past 60 years of history in the name of their own greed is the real issue.

Just because a company is big it does not mean the little guy is right.

However if you wish to boycott DC over Moore I think you have a more legitimate argument, unlike Kirby or Seigel Moore is around to say he was mislead and defend his rights. Although he agreed the rights would not return if while it was in print a big loop, it was not a wholly original project (charlton) and in the last 15 Moore has refused to co-operate with DC, in helping them move forward with a property they own and are in their rights to exploit, Before watchmen by Moore would have been bettter but it was not going to happen,so DC only had 2 choices go no go and only one is right for shareholder value which principle aim of any company.

You all realize that your “wise and insightful” musings on here will accomplish less than sh*t right?
Just want to point out that all of this talk is a waste.

Darn! And he gave us the Korvac Saga, Dark Phoenix, the Galactus Triolgy, The Great Darkness Saga….honestly this isn’t a big deal. People choose not to work at DC and Marvel all the time. I applaud Roger Langridge for his principles but he’s not that vital to Marvel and DC.

By the way, I do enjoy Roger Langridge’s work. I just don’t see what the big deal is.

“I didn’t read the entire interview, but based on this blog entry I do not see where he was asked why he isn’t working for Marvel/DC anymore.”

There’s no entire interview to read. It’s written in very plain, simple English above that the question and answer were from a podcast interview, so you’d need to *listen* to it for context. You clearly just wanted to be contrary without actually having a clue as to what you were discussing.

I know, I know… Welcome to the internet.

jon, your snark and snideness are refreshing. So unique, so thanks for that. Are you saying I’m the only one here who didn’t go listen to the entire podcast before commenting? My humble apologies, then, I assumed since there was a “comment” section especially for this blog, I could make a comment based on what the blog entry contained. And the blog entry stated that, after discussing his current projects, Mr. Langridge ADDED the comment about why he was no longer working for Marvel/DC. At no point in the blog entry was mention made of a specific question being asked that prompted that specific response.

But I imagine you were thrilled that you were able to find a minor error in my post and point out that it was a podcast, not a written interview, and were so eager to post a douchey reponse you decided to ignore the actual content of the discussion taking place, such as it is. I know, I know….welcome to the internet.

If this were a movie Marvel and DC would ALWAYS be the bad guys. Always. Just because you’re legally right doesn’t mean you’re RIGHT. I mean, look at slavery. No one was breaking the law, there, but those guys sucked. Same thing with Marvel and DC (although obviously a lot less so, internet pedants). They’re not breaking the law by putting out “Before Watchmen” or screwing over Jack Kirby’s heirs but MAN do they SUCK.

Anyone who says otherwise has a black spot where their souls should be.

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