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Joe Quesada explains Marvel’s digital-royalties plan

thumbnailDC announced their digital publishing plan last Wednesday, but since then the conversation has focused nearly as much on what Marvel is or isn’t doing with regards to compensating creators for digital downloads of their work. DC announced incentive payments right there in the PR for their iPad app — did Marvel’s failure to do so mean they weren’t doing this, or (as stated or implied by various Marvel personnel) had they already done it on the down low?

In his latest Cup o’ Joe interview column, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada spoke to CBR’s Kiel Phegley all about this. According to Quesada, Marvel does have an “incentive program” in place, the first checks will go out after the San Diego Comic-Con, the plan applies to all creators (not just exclusive ones, as was rumored), and the reason Marvel didn’t announce it is because they figured they didn’t need to…

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Does Marvel have a stealth digital-royalties plan?

C.B. Cebulski and friend

C.B. Cebulski and friend

One of the most welcome aspects of yesterday’s big DC digital-comics announcement from a creator-rights perspective is that “creator incentive payments” are a part of it. In his interview with CBR’s Kiel Phegley, co-publisher Jim Lee compared the payments to the royalties creators receive for print sales, saying “the freelance community will be happy that they’re being compensated in every way their stories are being sold.” That aspect of the arrival of digital comics publishing has been shrouded in mystery up until now, so DC’s move is a big first step.

Or is it? On his Twitter account, Marvel talent scout C.B. Cebulski took issue with a letter apparently sent out to creators by DC touting the move:

Sorry, DC, but despite what your nice letter says, you are NOT “the first to announce a participation plan for talent” for digital comics. I’m not sniping at DC, just correcting misinformation that’s being sent out freelancers, some who work for both companies.

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