A couple of weeks ago, Marvel aired a special on ABC, Marvel: 75 Years From Pulp To Pop. It was a light-hearted celebration of everything Marvel that included a look at Marvel’s history and a number of the creative talent involved in marvel’s history, as well as looks at Marvel’s Television and Cinematic Universes. The special showcased a lot of Marvel artwork, but also, tucked away in that special was a two second bit of art that wasn’t really Marvel’s to use.
Here’s the screen shot of the artwork in question:
The problem with the image above is that it is the artwork of Marc Lapierre, and is not Marvel’s to use without consent. You see, Lapierre has never worked for Marvel. Back when Iron Man 3 came out, Lapierre created a mock cover based on the image of Iron Man falling from the sky. He detailed his inspiration and process in this blog post.
Imagine his surprise when his artwork showed up in Marvel’s 75th special as an official piece of Marvel cover art used to underscore a point made by Kevin Smith. Here’s the original artwork from Lapierre’s website:
Take note of the watermarks on the right side of each piece. The watermarks were removed in the image used by Marvel and the art was distressed to make it look older. Here’s Lapierre’s response to discovering that his artwork was used:
To be clear, I’m not planning to seek a lawyer. Considering the pantheon of creators who have gone before me and have encountered “less than fair” practices at Marvel, I feel it would be an insult to them for me to cry and moan about my situation. I created this piece using Marvel’s character, aping someone else’s artistic style, using a composition from a Marvel movie poster, and lifting actual logos and trade dress from a real Marvel comic. It was never intended to be anything more than a gag. I have never tried to sell any prints of it. I have never included it in a portfolio of any kind. The fact that a simple image a slapped together in a couple of hours has blown up to this level is mostly just an amusing and surreal moment in my life.
That being said, if someone of power and influence were to take notice of this and offer me a shot at a pin up or cover gig, I wouldn’t mind.
Now you might think that things ended there, but the oversight and mistake was brought to Marvel’s attention and Zak Knutson, the director of Marvel: 75 Years From Pulp to Pop reached out to Lapierre:
As you already know, we used your art. That wasn’t supposed to happen. We screwed up. We made this thing in 8 weeks, and your art got through the approval process – and it shouldn’t have. If it makes you feel any better, it was so good – we thought it was real Marvel art. We weren’t trying to screw you over – I promise. Just an honest mistake.
Anyway, we want to make sure that we do right by you. Do you have an email that I could put you and the producer in touch. We want to make sure that you are taken care of monetarily. It wasn’t right, and we want to do right by you. Let me know if this is possible.
Thanks and I hope you understand.
We understand that Lapierre and Marvel did agree on an undisclosed sum which has been paid and that both sides are happy with the results.
Perhaps we’ll see Lapierre do a Marvel cover sometime in the future! Check out his art page using the links above. He does some great character sketches at conventions as well.