Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Marvel Comics Can Suck My Left Gonad (or Why I Will, Henceforth, Be Boycotting Any and All Marvel Products)

The simple answer to the question(s) in the title above is that they stole from me. They blatantly stole ideas/concepts from me and used them in their high profile books, The House of M and Civil War. There are no two ways about it and I have a good deal of evidence to back up this claim. I'm not going to post the evidence here but if you are truly interested I will email it to you. The real smoking gun is that the editor (who will remain nameless) I was in contact with and submitted my material to worked on both of the titles mentioned above. I thought I was taking crazy pills at first, but when I saw this person's name in the credits on both books, well, that cemented this intellectual heist in my mind.

Beyond the obvious "ass raping and pillaging of the little guy," there are a few other reasons why this is genuinely sad. The first is that there isn't really much I can do about it, it seems. Now, I'm not a litigious person by ANY means. I have never sued anyone in my life, and I think that there are waaaaay too many frivolous lawsuits in this country to begin with. That being said, I did contact a couple lawyers in regard to this matter and one high-powered, NYC law firm seemed to think that I had a solid case. But...they wanted a $50,000 retainer to take the case. I seriously had to suppress a giggle when this legal eagle casually threw that number out there because the image that ran through my head was me withdrawing almost two-thirds of my yearly salary from the ATM in the fucking Wawa (how long does it take to dispense $50k in $20 bills, I wonder...) and then handing it over to this joker like it was no big deal. Funny, right?

Realistically, I really don't want any money or a "cash settlement" from Marvel...and I'm sure that would have pissed off any lawyer I did hire because they are, as we know, "all about the Benjamins."  All I want is acknowledgement/credit for my work and a sincere apology from all the parties concerned. Period.

Secondly, I was warned of this exact scenario by an artist, Ron Fontes, who worked for Marvel in the 80's. He told me a lot of fantastic, anecdotal stories of those halcyon days, which I ate up like they were exquisitely prepared filet mignon. Most of these stories centered around guys I grew up idolizing: Jim Shooter, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, et al., but he also hipped me to some of Marvel's shadier business practices, which included ripping off ideas/stories from unknown talent and serving these concepts up to "big name" writers. Now, I understand that a book with Brian Michael Bendis' name on it will sell a shitload more copies than a book with Jerry Bonner's name on it. I get that...but it doesn't make it right. Not by a goddamned long shot.

It's funny, in a "gallows humor" kind of way, because when Ron told me that story I kind of laughed it off...I mean, how could they get away with just blatantly stealing from people? But, as you can imagine, I'm not laughing anymore. What can I say other than, you were right, Ronnie, you were right...

And lastly, this whole affair is heartbreaking because, as a kid...and even as an adult, I loved Marvel Comics with a passion uncontested. I loved many of the DC books too, but Marvel was always the apple of my eye. As a lad, I dreamed, almost to the point of obsession, of the day when I would work for Marvel. And when a few years ago, the Editor-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named and I began discussing just that possibility, I was downright giddy. Then, s/he got back to me, dismissively stating that (and I will always remember this; it is emblazoned in my memory), "You aren't ready for Marvel work." Fine. Maybe I wasn't at the time. But, if that is truly the case, then why the hell would you steal my ideas, my writing, from me unless it has some quality and/or merit? Riddle me fucking that, Batman...

Marvel has the audacity, the sheer temerity, to call itself, "The House of Ideas." Really. No bullshit. As you can imagine, I find this to be a misnomer of the highest order. What I think they should rename themselves is, "Another Heartless Corporate Entity That Crushes the Little Guy Under the Wheels of Big Money." Doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, does it? Too bad, because it is a much more fitting title than, "House of Ideas."

So, I'll be boycotting any and all Marvel products from here on out (except for the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 video game because it looks friggin' awesome and I'll be helping Capcom more than Marvel by purchasing it) and I urge YOU to do the same, my friends. It's a small gesture, to be sure, but they'll only notice if/when their profit margins go down and that...that...

...that appears to be the only way we can sally forth and tilt this shitty, corporate windmill.


  1. Can't you get a good lawyer to work pro bono?

  2. As I said, I did contact a few lawyers (even my father-in-law) and they all said pretty much the same things, except for the firm that wanted $50k. These intellectual property cases are extremely difficult to prove/win and even if you have solid evidence they can be drawn out for a very long time, so the majority of lawyers won’t take a case like this on contingency.

    If a lawyer comes along who will do it on contingency, hey great. I’ll be all over him/her…but I’m not expecting that any time soon.

  3. DC has had this problem in the past, too. With Jim Lee onboard now for around a decade, it's not happening too much, or at all. DC started to give full credit to every starting in '78, with the release of Superman.

    As for Marvel, if they're always #1, etc., why are they always in bankruptcy court in the middle years of decade? Why did they have to sell to Disney? Also, and biggest reason Marvel sucks, actually, is X-Men, Series 2 #25: All events from that issue forward takes place before Fantastic Four #374, ergo, all Marvel from that place forward thakes place before FF #374 to this day, sans Ultimate line and Icon/Epic titles, etc.