Gary Friedrich, creator of Ghost Rider, has been in an ongoing battle with the powers at Marvel to regain control of his rights to the character. He’s been going at it with the comics giant since 2007 and a recent ruling last December seemed to have sealed his fate in the matter. He had been arguing that Marvel never registered the copyright to Ghost Rider and that therefore it should have reverted to him. The judges said no and, to add insult to injury, even levied a fine against the poor guy.
For those without a knowledge of comic book history, back in the day writers and artists were pretty much little more than low-paid employees of the companies. The concept of creator’s rights wouldn’t catch on for some time. Given the current popularity of comic book characters, this has made Marvel fkn rich while those who first came up with the characters have been left behind, unknown to most except for the occasional by-line stuffed secretively into the credits. This has prompted more than one artist to seek compensation, Gary Friedrich among them.
What the lawyers are trying to argue now, in their appeal of the judge’s previous ruling, is that a precedent set by Stan Lee and Moebius regarding their retention of some of the Silver Surfer rights may apply in this case. They also contend that Friedrich was forced to sign over his rights under duress, threatened by Marvel with black-listing if he didn’t do what they asked.
And so he continues to fight, though it’s unlikely that any new ruling will be different from the old. In the meanwhile, Marvel continues to tarnish their reputation in the eyes of fans, showing themselves to be more concerned with money than taking care of the people that made them what they are today.
Will fans still continue to pay money to Marvel to see their films? Definitely. Although we may complain about the injustice, we still need our fix, right?
Thanks to the fine folks at blastr for the info.