Much like Disney fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and more, the Marvel films and series that we know and love also come from their own source material.
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Disney, as they have done with many IPs, acquired Marvel, a company that started as a comic book company, and continues to produce those comics which help write the storyline of many films, character plots, and TV series that Marvel Cinematic Universe fans cherish.
Because Disney owns Marvel, they can use the content produced in the comics for their on-screen adaptations. However, it seems not all Marvel comic book writers are too happy to see Disney’s success from their stories be far greater financially than what they take home.
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The Guardian has recently released an exposé on comic writers who are not satisfied with their compensation after seeing companies profit financially from their work. The story focuses on the (arguably) two biggest comic companies of all time: DC and Marvel.
When looking into how comic writers are treated, this was the answer The Guardian received:
Not well, according to Brubaker who, with Steve Epting, revived Captain America’s sidekick Bucky Barnes to create the Winter Soldier, portrayed by Sebastian Stan in Marvel’s films and shows. “For the most part, all Steve and I have got for creating the Winter Soldier and his storyline is a ‘thanks’ here or there, and over the years that’s become harder and harder to live with,” Brubaker recently wrote in a newsletter.
“I have a great life as a writer and much of it is because of Cap and the Winter Soldier bringing so many readers to my other work,” he added. “But I also can’t deny feeling a bit sick to my stomach sometimes when my inbox fills up with people wanting comments on the show.” (Marvel told the Guardian it had to “decline to comment out of respect for the privacy of [Brubaker and Epting’s] personal conversations [with the company].”)
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Because many comic writers work for hire, they only receive a small amount of royalties from the book itself, but are mostly paid a flat rate. Marvel gives writers a small share of equity that transpires to film success; however, it seems clear that these writers are looking for more.
Reportedly, a spokesperson from Marvel noted that any writer could negotiate their contract at any time, and they are actively doing just that with certain writers. From this, it seems that Marvel is willing to meet their creators halfway, but they will need to be the ones to spark the conversation.
We have also seen Disney fall into altercations with other writers who have created storylines for their major franchises in the past, such as Star Wars. To read more on that, click here.
It will be interesting to see if the standard for comic book writer contracts changes in the Marvel community now that others are speaking up.
What do you think of this ongoing story? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.