Robot 6

Gerry Conway would like help getting creators what they’re owed

action comics521Veteran writer Gerry Conway is hoping DC Comics fans can help ensure creators get what’s coming to them.

The co-creator of such characters as Firestorm, Killer Croc and Vixen, Conway has launched the Comics Equity Project, described as “a crowd-sourced effort to provide creators of characters for DC Comics since 1975 with equity participation contracts.”

As Conway explains in his introduction, since the mid-1970s, DC has offered creators “equity participation,” which means that with the appropriate paperwork, they can receive a share of the profits generated by the characters they created. That means if, say, Firestorm appears on a television show, in a video game or as part of an action-figure line, Conway will get a check for that. More specifically, when the Firestorm supporting character Felicity Smoak was introduced on The CW drama Arrow, the writer was eligible for compensation.

“[Y]ou may think this is only fair, but in the ’70s it hit the business like a revelation,” he writes. “And for more than thirty years it’s given quite a few creators an extra bit of income — in some cases, for some older creators, the only real income they receive from comics.”

However, there’s a catch: DC doesn’t track characters and match them with the appropriate writers and artists; it leaves that up to the creators themselves.

“It’s just too much work, and it requires a dedication and devotion to detail that only one group in the world has in abundant quantities: You, the fans,” Conway writes. “A personal note. I started this site because some of my fans alerted me to the use in the TV series Arrow of characters I co-created in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Without those fans I wouldn’t have known those characters were appearing. I wouldn’t have filed equity participation paperwork with DC. And neither I nor the artists I worked with would be eligible to receive money for the use of those characters. DC does not make payments retroactive. If a creator wants to claim equity participation in a character he or she co-created, they need to do so proactively.”

And that’s where Conway hopes fans can help, not only him but anyone else who has created characters for DC since 1975: “Go through your collection. Look for the first appearances of any character, major or minor, hero/villain/sidekick/bystander from the years 1975 on. Download and fill out the DC Comics Character Equity Request form [...] and email it to the creators involved. Most creators have an active presence on the web, either on Facebook, or Twitter, or through their own web sites or fan pages. Reach out to them. Encourage them to file the paperwork you prepared with DC. Help them get their fair share.”

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Comments

15 Comments

After that, maybe we can do his taxes for him too.

And then maybe some yard work.

Well at least he gave fans some respect and credit. unlike certain “pros” who think they could miraculously sell content, and make a living without a fan base, there’s even guys like ron marzs who feels he is giving back to fans by writing tantrums on this site. I definitely get the point you two made. and actually dc and marvel are more corporate entities than publishers. a publishing company that turns out exclusive graphic novels and comic book series is and should be something different from random house. Conway wants fans to basically do the work of a agent, friend and law-firm, but then the professionals and aspiring professionals and certain lap dog fan wanna bes will state the pros do not owe the fans anything. that the pros are pros because they get paid to do a job. in that case the fans, the consumer really owes no one anything, especially a creator or professional. my perspective might would have been a little different before I ran into a arrogant “pro” whom I never heard of but, live and learn. this is a case of if there wasn’t a rapport with fans the creator would have lost out, but then again if not for those same fans he wouldn’t have a career in the first place.

I’d be willing to bet that two guys who posted on this thread at eight in the morning on a weekday spend a good amount of time everyday just flipping through comic sites. All he’s asking is to put a little of that time and energy into telling creators when you notice their characters somewhere else.

and I am willing to bet just as pros dont owe fans anything, the fans dont owe them anything, it works two ways.

He isn’t saying fans owe it to creators to do this, so maybe you all should save your indignation. Do it if you want, if not move on but there is no need to piss on it.

I didn’t realize you only did things because you owe people, you can do something just to be nice.

I attempted to make this statement over the week end. “you can do something just to be nice.” in reference to a “pros” interaction with fans, I was told creators and pros owe fans and aspiring authors/illustrators absolutely nothing, and that by stating pros should give back to fans that I was dumb, (from the pro) and that I was a joke and didn’t know what I was talking about, I personally do not know mr conway but I have enjoyed his work in the past, I guess this topic struck a cord in me. I am very passionate about the meduim and what it means to me. I generally never feel that someone must owe me to receive a act of kindness from me, I feel thats how life and comic books should be, but a TON of people are saying different.

DC isn’t paying attention to the money they would owe creators? That’s a shock.

Way to perpetuate the “creepy asshole online comic fan” stereotype, guys.

This is rad. If you have 5 mins and you give a crap, do it. Otherwise, don’t. Owe has nothing to do with it, at least for the help he is asking fans for.

>> This is rad. If you have 5 mins and you give a crap, do it. Otherwise, don’t. Owe has nothing to do with it, at least for the help he is asking fans for.>>

Exactly. If you’re a fan of Gerry’s, you might want to help Gerry. If you’re a fan of Cary Bates, likewise. And so on.

If you don’t want to, don’t. Crowd-sourcing things isn’t a required activity, it’s purely voluntary.

>> I attempted to make this statement over the week end. “you can do something just to be nice.” … that by stating pros should give back to fans that I was dumb, >>

You’ve missed the fact that there’s a difference between “you can” and “they should.”

People can do lots of things just to be nice. That doesn’t mean that comics pros _should_ do something because _you_ think it’s nice; if you were actually applying the idea you claim to be, you’d be saying that Ron Marz could do free critiques if he thinks it’s nice, not that he should because you’d think it nice.

People can choose to volunteer their own time; you’re indignant that someone who isn’t you isn’t volunteering in the way you think most appropriate.

Ron’s right, though — most pros won’t read fan scripts, for the reasons he laid out. You found it rude of him to say so and ultimately said you wouldn’t be arguing the point any more because of all the better things you had to do.

You’ve apparently run out of them by this morning, though.

Gerry’s right, too — he’s not saying fans owe pros this, he’s asking for volunteers. People who’d be happy to help but don’t know that this is a way they can do it.

The two have nothing to do with one another — the logical link that suggests that fans shouldn’t help out creators they like unless Ron Marz acts as a teacher/agent to whomever asks is nonexistent.

kdb

first of all I never asked ron or you or anyone else to critique anything of mine, if I have please produce proof. there is a fine line between being professional and setting boundaries, and having a overinflated ego for no reason, rather you mr buseik or marz or anyone else disagrees really is of no importance. you stated: “You found it rude of him to say so and ultimately said you wouldn’t be arguing the point any more because of all the better things you had to do.” no what I found rude was his (rons) arrogance and contradictory statements. and what I found childish was rons bashing everyone who disagreed with his statements childish and quite unprofessional, and a tid bit of info, I get more done before 6am than most, but hopefully time will tell. I still stand on the ideology that professionals in this industry should give back, ron marz seems to be under the impression that hes frank miller, or alan moore, those men have made millions, yet I never once heard or read about them dismissing a fan. not once. it seems ron and certain associates of his are bitter and jaded. how could a “unkown” like me inspire such ire, and outright contempt? no I dont agree with rons statement, but I dislike the sin and not the sinner so to speak, I NEVER went on a campaign to discredit and embarrass anyone, thats my issue, I wouldn’t bat a eyelash if the entire publishing industry refused to read every script, THAT’S what self publishing is all about. I reiterate , I honestly never knew who ron marz was, but his childishness and rudeness aren’t acceptable in this industry. who would want to do a favor of reading a script and then be subject to lawsuits? litigation and whatever else? but it’s HOW you state that, how you present the reasons. I do my best to be a good person and offer whatever assistance to whoever when I can, in general, THAT IS MY POINT, from rons tweets and statements hes basically insinuating if you don’t agree with him, then you’re a fool and dont matter as a human being or lover of this awesome medium, rebuttals dont require personal attacks, and columns dont require hatred and egotistical balderdash. its not what you say sometimes, but how you say it.

I think your assumptions about Ron being arrogant and dismissive are entirely in your head, T.N. — you reacted badly to him explaining something plainly and straightforwardly, and have been ranting ever since. If you think he’s the one coming off like someone having a tantrum, I suggest you back off and read your own posts as if they were coming from someone else.

All of which is still completely irrelevant to Gerry suggesting a way for fans to help out creators if they want to pitch in.

I’m in! Conway’s my favorite writer, and in a day and age where the creator compensation conversation is being reignited almost daily, it’s time DC got what’s coming to them in droves.

It would be so cool if people did this . . . especially on the DC Wiki where fans pore over the minutiae of our favorite characters. I for one will be keeping an eye out from now on. :D

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