Robot 6

Quote of the Day | ‘I’ve reached the end of my work for hire rope’

“I’ve reached the end of my work for hire rope. I’m enjoying The Punisher, but that’s not mine, it’s Marvel’s, and l knew that going in. I have spent a lot of my comics career in service of other masters, – and I’ve had enough of that for now. I’m sick to death of the way the Big Two treat people. I gave seven very good years to DC and they took gross advantage of me. That’s partially my fault, but not entirely. At this point, I see no reason why I should have to put up with that, I can sink or swim on my own. [...] My run on Punisher ends on #16, and we are then doing a five-issue mini called War Zone and then I’m done. That’s it! The Powers-That-Be at Marvel, without talking to me, decreed that he’s going to join a team on another book. That’s their choice, they own him, but I don’t have to be happy about it. I am glad I had the opportunity to work on the character and I’m proud of the work I’ve done. Despite what the publishers say, their interest in the talent is minimal now, the interest is only in promoting the financial worth of their properties. That was not the case as of two or three years ago, when there was an ‘exclusives war,’ but that’s all gone by the wayside now. Ultimately, they are saying, “We don’t need you,’ because they can get a million more just like you.”

Greg Rucka, from the new issue of Mark Millar’s CLiNT magazine, discussing creator-ownership and moving on from Marvel and DC Comics

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43 Comments

Amen, Preach on, and so forth ….

This isn’t even a bad thing. Rucka is erudite and correct and sensible as always. No doubt these things are cyclical, but as A-List guys like he and others move on because hell yes, their names and writing will sell their own work, projects and expand the ever-expanding world of non-Big Two comics, those “million others just like him” will get their names made by playing with franchise characters, and will be able to build their own careers.

Of course Big Two comics apart from a few gems are going to be pretty unreadable, but that’s part of the process, as the books that are well-written will be diamonds in the rough and those writers will get acclaim and build fan-bases and the cycle will start all over again. Fond farewell to the current A-Listers; I’ll be following them to Image and self-published and wherever they go. Maybe in the vacuum I can get a gig, now.

Kinda sad that creators are spurning the big two like this. But that’s the industry today…

You are valued if you can convincingly shift a lot of comics based on your name power. If not then yes, from a publisher’s perspective there are a million more like you. Since Punisher’s selling near cancellation.level and the title’s going anyway, maybe they didn’t feel a drastic urge to consult.

Good for Rucka. I wish him the best of luck. Time will tell if he sticks to his guns,and i think he will at least for awhile. But he’s right,theres 100s of guys out there looking to work for Marvel or DC and are just waiting for a break. Some will be bad but some will be really good.

pieface – You’re getting the cart before the horse. Who is spurning whom?

The way I look at it, the Big Two mitigate the passion to create in their best talent by choosing to remain IP development houses, just recycling ideas and altering them enough so that they might be seen as attractive movie, cartoon or video game pitches. They are in the business of tweaking ages-old characters and concepts, generations since removed from their original creators, so that they are perceived as worthy of consumer dollars. Creators are then not even technically creating anything, they’re like a marketing firm that makes existing brands more palatable to the zeitgeist (and this is literally a textbook definition of what marketers do). Sometimes the results are entertaining and I’ll give them credit for that (occasionally) but NEW? Something that’s totally fresh because it’s being created whole-cloth? NEVER. This is how corporate entertainment chooses to operate and by making fictional logos and brands more a priority than their own creators they are alienating anyone working for them who values making something of their own. These remarks don’t even surprise me anymore, I wouldn’t expect anything different from Rucka or any other intelligent, creative, self-respecting individual whose work I enjoy.

Other than Jason Aaron’s Punishermax, Rucka has had the best run on a Punisher book since Ennis.

But hey, let’s take him off so we can make a Punisher team book by Daniel fucking Way. Sounds great, right?

The Big 2 are not just driving creators away, they seem to be doing whatever they possibly can to make the fans not want to read the damn books.

The New 52 and Marvel Now = ah ah ah ah ah

Rucka’s Punisher run was the only time I actually read and enjoyed Punisher. Let’s all be honest here, Punisher in a team book? The house of ideas indeed…….

Greg Rucka said,’Ultimately, they are saying, ‘We don’t need you,’ because they can get a million more just like you.”

Well, yeah. They’ve been singing that tune since they fired Siegel and Shuster. DC and Marvel are idiots for driving away great writers like Greg Rucka, so they can have non-writers like Didio dictate the stories.

So Punisher is joining a team? What, is he a Secret Avenger now? Publishers just don’t understand the concept of the lone vigilante, do they?

Im sure if you’d just had your living taken from you, you’d be a bit cheesed off !

noon pa ginagawang cash caow ang mga characters sa Marvel. kumbaga mas focus nang management sa Marvel ang event stories. advise the writers to tell a good story in every issue and surely, old fans will take interest again in reading about the characters. this was the motto of DC during the 90′s but the new 52 is a fiasco.

correction for the typing error – “cash cow”

the most important point he made, among the many good ones, is that the big 2 have moved away from telling good stories and are now entirely focused on making a Hollywood version of their “properties”

As Didio said when he referred to Watchmen as a “property” – they do not even view them as chacters with rich backstory, appeal, and history

Sad that people with that little vision are now firmly in charge and firmly steering comic books

Seem to remember Liefeld saying something similar recently. But everyone slagged him and figured since he can’t draw feet then what he said must not be true or worth listening to.

Sigh….my fantasy of him coming back to complete the 5-issue follow up to “Batwoman:Elegy” that he had originally planned is now even more unlikely.

Still, glad he is doing things that make him happy, and not putting up with sh** from The Man. Always seemed like a cool guy to me, and a great writer.

The big two are only good at three things. 1. Screwing over the talent (from Siegel and Shuster on down). 2. Maximising profit by abusing long established (and long neglected) properties. 3. Alienating their core fanbase.

I’m immensely impressed by anything Rucka does and would rather read Queen and Country than the Punisher any day.

Remender had an astonishing Punisher series in Dark Reign that ended after Daken kill him and the we got FrankenCastle. Which I love.

I see this as a kick in the back for mature creators, mature in a creative sense. Sometimes success make it easier to take the chance to do their own thing (like Millar) and sometimes you need to experience a bad situation to realize that it’s not what you want to do.

I love Brubaker, Reed and Rucka doing Marvel work, because I love the Marvel characters. But I hope for “the great idea” that they can call their own and can bring the big paychecks they deserves.

The only way that the Punisher would join a team is if a group of characters said, “hey, Frank, we’ll all help you kill a bunch of mafia, I mean ‘maggia’, guys.” Ridiculous.

Good post Mr. Rucka, now howzabout you enjoy this newfound freedom by giving us (ie. me) some more Queen & Country?

PLEASE?!?! :)

Well this is BS.

@OliverClothesoff:
“Sad that people with that little vision are now firmly in charge and firmly steering comic books”

It’s easy to understand what happens at DC when you see who are the people in charge of the company.

I look forward to Rucka’s future projects. ANYTHING is better than the big two can force out of him.

DC may still be happy to ride the Didio-Lee-Johns-Harras bus of ruin – but I wll be getting off here.

I hope that Greg will land at Image. They have a host of Great Wtiters … Spencer, Kirkman, Brubaker, Synder and so on. The only way the Big Two are going to change is when the fans stop buying crappy comics. SAY NO TO Rebots and the countless #1 issues that are about the same Hero. Let your voices be heard when you attened a Comic Con speak up and speak out.

I attend Heroes Con every year and i never hear ppl speak up. If ppl are so mad and jaded,as all the comments lead us to believe, then who are buying these books?? Books dont go to 2nd and 3rd printings by themselves.

I don’t think I could have been more happy to encounter this news. Rucka has been, for a long time, one of my favourite writers. Even his work using existing properties is full to the brim with logical, consistent, mature storytelling that never condescends or patronizes to an imagined audience. I unequivocally support Rucka with my rhetoric and my wallet!

@Mike

Sales are a relative thing. Despite what the spindoctors at Marvel try to tell you – the comic industry is floundering. The big 2 are desperately clinging to gimmicks for short sales spikes. (look at how bad the lower-tier new 52 books are doing, besides those that have already been cancelled).

Comic sales has a long history. Comparing recent sales to a low-point 10 years ago and declaring it healthy ignores the good years

The result of this is a shift away from comics and a dependance on movie and TV revenue. It means, if you like reading comics, the product will continue to suffer if publishers care more about licensing properties than they do telling great comic stories

He shouldn’t have took the job writing the book then. Wahh the character that I’m writing in my book is gonna be joining a popular series and getting more exposure. I love Mr. Ruckas run on all his books but I’m tired of the work for hire whining. Yes he got screwed at DC.but it doesn’t seem like he gave marvel a fair shot to make any type of offers to continue writing Frank.there’s plenty of room for solo books about guys on teams so nope I’m calling bullshit on Greg with this one.

@mike

You think Punisher needs more exposure??

I met Rucka at Emerald City Comic-Con 2011, and he was a nice guy. Never expected anything like this to come out of him.
If I had taken over either company, Rucka wouldn’t be saying all of that–because he’d be co-owner of every character or new story element he introduced to the world of Punisher, or Wonder Woman, etc. I personally believe that the Big Two should be less Hollywood and more Saturday Night Live, in that it gives people the opportunity to hone their craft and build an audience, and when the time comes, they can leave DC/Marvel and still co-own whatever they brought to the ongoing narratives of whatever character they worked on. I believe in MAKING business more ethical than they aren’t, and I believe it’s the responsibility of us, the fans, to make it so–to hell with the shareholders!

J. Paul –

Rucka is already on-board at Image. He has a project called Lazarus, with artist Michael Lark, set to debut in the near future.

The work for hire b.s. is pathetic…I can understand a high-school, or collage kid wanting to cut their teeth writing batman, or spider-man, but as you “mature” in a “free” society,..I cant think of one single reason not to create your own version of a bat-like, or spider-like character…they cant monopolize the industry with those animals/arachnids…there are multiple laws that state: free-enterprise…if you have superman & superboy, then image can have invincible, supreme, marvel can have wonder-man, and sentry, and superior…

@Defiance-Defiant
I agree, work-for-hire, in this day and age, is absolutely draconian–why bother hanging onto it? Hence my embracing of the idea of co-ownership deals, especially the grandfathered-in ones advocated by Chris Roberson.

@Acer : “I agree, work-for-hire, in this day and age, is absolutely draconian–why bother hanging onto it? ”

It also seems like a very short-sighted and poor way to do business. There is now absolutely no incentive for anyone to create anything new at the Big Two. They’re putting all of their eggs into one basket, counting on continued interest in the nth recycling/rebooting of the same decades-old properties.

@BradRz
Makes me think that the Phantom comic strips still being published today have it easier….

Oh no, the Big 2 are focused on making money and turning a profit?
THEY”RE BUSINESSES!!!! That’s what they do. That’s why they exist. If you don’t like it and want to be an “artist”, go creat “art” and try to make a living from that. I wish you luck and hope you succeed. Just stop accepting a pay check, cashing it, spending it and then whining in public like some spoiled little kid. It’s called the real world. All you prima donna “creators” need to put your money where your mouth is and get the hell over yourself.

@ Herb: I own the Mythology-Kingdom unbound Ink/inc comic publishing company.
we are putting our money where our mouths are, with letting all creators keep 100% of their trademarks, and copyrights, guaranteed in legal writing. in films, series, animated, and live action. on t-shirts, hats, all memorabilia, and toys.

–this means more bank for us in the long run, as we wont have those pesky lawsuits DC and Marvel regularly have to mess with…the things that bankrupted marvel until Disney barely saved them.
there will be more lawsuits against marvel and DC. especially with this many creators leaving left and right, in a bitter way. poor fools. art and creative writing are about creation, not bank. money is & should be a side-effect. not the end goal. –thus guaranteeing success, when characters are cared about over profits. –profits a company then auto-makes, when fans see that their characters are cared for by the company that publishes them.

@Defiance-Defiant

(Insert massive slow clapping.)

@Herb

I think you’ve totally missed the point regarding the commodification of art criticism that Rucka and others have brought to the table. It’s a totally dehumanizing experience to work for x pay while the corporation that employs you is making 10x from your labour.

In an ideal system, the worker is sufficiently compensated for their labour while the operating corporation makes a relative and comfortable profit from the labour; that is to say a mutually beneficial relationship is instituted. In the case of creators working for DC and Marvel, they’re finding it a dehumanizing experience because of editorial mandate or confusion which is a result of a complex bureaucracy that is more interested in corporate synergy than the telling artful stories.

In other words, people are leaving because DC and Marvel’s focus is on exploiting workers for stories to adapt to other more profitable media.

Your criticism of “creators” wanting to create “art” is totally disingenuous. Many artists (writers and illustrator, etc) get into the industry because of a desire to create art, not to fill the pockets of a corporation. Their desire is one of artistic expression not crass capitalistic gain. Many creators also work on their own properties at the same time of working for hire. Very few creators work on their properties for the only purpose of selling to Hollywood (Mark Millar).

Again, I’m not sure if you understand the problem that creators are having with the dehumanizing experience of working for a multinational globalized corporation. You seem to think that their issue stems from simple greed when it is in fact something more complex.

i’m noticing a trend here.

early 50s were a weak point for comics compared to the late30s, 40s when the first big super-hero explosion hit.

early 70s were pretty weak compared to the marvel 60s explosion. marvel was known for hiring just about anyone who could hold a pencil in those days.

early 90s of course was famously when the big artists got fed up with the big 2 and ran off and built a new treehouse (image)

now here we are, in the early 10s, and look, the industry is having talent issues again. you’d think they’d learn

*Sigh* Punisher teaming up with Deadpool and Venom? Yeah, I’m not reading that. It is so grossly out of character for Frank it’s not even funny.

Mr Rucka, Stumptown is one of the best crime books I’ve ever read and Lady Sabre is pure fun. Plus I’m looking forward to Lazarus. Keep on keepin’ on sir.

The reason I enjoyed the occasional crossover of Punisher/Daredevil or Punisher/Spider-Man is because they were ocassional ! I agree that the fun in these stories comes from having a hero who has the ideal of saving lives at any cost butting heads and/or being forced to work with a vigilante who will kill those he deems worthy at a moment’s notice. Greg Rucka and Mark Waid showed this brilliantly in the Omega Effect crossover and it is a shame that this fine work is being ignored.

Rucka fans have many reaosns to rejoice, however. His webcomic with Rick Burchett, Lady Sabre, has been going strong for more than 12 months – see it here: http://www.ineffableaether.com – and Alpha is out out fine bookshops. Oh, and as mentioned above Greg has “put his money where his mouth is” and will be releasing a new creator owned title from Image next year called Lazarus.

I apologise for what is pretty much just a shill. However I have supported Greg Rucka’s work in a few media for many years and want others to pick up his work to feel the joy in it that I have !!
(I suppose that is why local comic artists call me “The Comic Book Evangelist” !)

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