Friday, March 04, 2005

The Fight For Superman

Newsarama has been doing a wonderful job keeping up with the battle between DC/Time-Warner and the family of Superman's creators over who owns the property.

It is an issue that reaches far beyond comics, but its impact on how comic companies are run could be Earth shattering for the industry's two biggest entities in DC and Marvel. Which have come to rely almost exclusively on decades old concepts and characters, with little to no new property having a lasting impact in decades.

After decades of abuse and neglect I find it interesting to see the people who made it all possible, or at least their families, finally have some power. I wonder if things will actually go to court, but one thing for sure is that the way things have been done for so long will likely change.

Which is why I find it a bit disconcerting to see many fans take the side that the families are being greedy or don't deserve their fair rights. While I could understand it from boards like Newsarama's which has a rather negative reputation.

Yet I've also found that mindset on many creators boards as well, like this on one on Geoff Johns board with many numerous opinions like:

oh well. both shuster and seigel are dead right? why should people profit off there creation just cause they are related. DC is giving is good entertainment.

Oh there is no doubt that DC should have taken care of Joe and Jerry better than they did but like I said when they were working for the company there were no creator rights at all. I'm certainly glad that their names are now in each of the books listed as the creators of Superman, I'm glad that DC did step in to help them since they were not in the best of financial shape at all but I'm against the families being able to exploit the situation to get themselves a bunch of cash for nothing.

And nothing is exactly what DC should give them; they don't deserve a dime at all now that Joe and Jerry are gone. DC should not have to pay them, their children's children nor be threatened by any blackmail of giving them more money or possibly losing the character. That's ridiculous and shows how much it's just about money for the families now so I got no pity for them, not one single bit.

There are others of like mind, and thankfully some who counter argue with more facts and feelings of support for people over corporations. Especially on a creator's own forum, which I would assume would mean given their participation there. That they recognize the importance of the people behind the characters and stories, at least if not more so as being as important as who publishes them.

The 250K as being enough argument had me scratching my head especially though. So I took a few minutes and looked at the box office grosses of the Superman films for sort of a comparison to see how fair that might be.

The numbers for Superman The Movie alone, at least according to The Numbers was $300,200,000 world gross.

Superman II made Total US Gross of $108,185,706.

Superman III Total US Gross $59,950,623 and $37,200,000 in rentals.

This isn't even counting comics, toys, other merchandise and licensing deals and so much other stuff. Yet the families of the people who made the concept should be happy with only 250K? And they are selfish for even pursuing their legal rights?

Sometimes I just have to shake my head, you know?

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