The MCU is home to a lot of characters from the Marvel comicverse. It is astonishing to see the variety of all these characters, especially since they were created with love and hard labor over decades of comics. Now, they are packed from the source material and pushed onto the screen without the need for any character design because the writers of old have already done the work for these movie makers. It is very important to help our creators to support them for their creations, for if we don’t then we are no different than the people who steal intellectual property. One would assume that the comic writers are compensated handsomely for their work which is used in the MCU. But recent information suggests that Disney Pays Marvel Writers an insultingly low amount for their stories.
The problem with the payouts is not that they are not happening but that the Studio has no intention to fairly compensate their creators. Take the 2017 fiasco, for example, Jim Starlin made a Facebook post about how the compensation he received for Thanos, Gamora, and Drax being used by Marvel was lower than what DC paid him for use of KGBeast in Dawn of Justice. Something like this is truly disheartening and created a very big fiasco online. This also forced Marvel into a corner concerning their public relations and they had to reach out to Starlin and negotiate a special character contract with him. This ensured that the creator got a more fitting compensation for his efforts, but all the other creators have not been so lucky.
The problem with the contracts that are offered by Marvel is not just the ignorance of writers’ effort it is also the blatant disrespect with which they treat them. Ed Brubaker, the co-creator of The winter a soldier recently was heard saying that the amount paid by Marvel for the use of the said intellectual property was so insulting that he turned down the cheque. It is much worse for the creators of minor characters, some only receive a nod of approval from the filmmakers, others only receive a minor thanks as compensation and the rest are not even that lucky.
It is truly a dire situation for the writers of Marvel comics when things like this are pulled by the studio. Another part that was recently revealed was that the meager amount offered to the writers is a paltry $5000 cheque. Some creators hence find it easier to just turn down any compensation offered in hopes of maintaining their integrity and pride. This act by the studio kills the creators’ morale and discharged them from working with them in the future which is a shame considering how good the MCU is doing. Only if the writers were paid to reflect that.
The way forward
As things stand Marvel writers are paid in one of three ways. The first is the obvious one where they are sent a cheque of $5000 as a token of appreciation. Others are also given a tacit promise that more compensation is due after the payment of $5000 which is a hollow promise since it may or may not come true. And third, a very minor section of the writers are offered special character contracts like the one offered to Thanos creator but the issue is that the number of writers that get this is exceedingly low.
A Marvel creator, who wants to remain anonymous, had this to say:
“I’ve been offered a [special character contract] that was really, really terrible, but it was that or nothing. And then instead of honoring it, they send a thank you note and are like, ‘Here’s some money we don’t owe you!’ and it’s five grand. And you’re like, ‘The movie made a billion dollars.’”
This is a truly tragic incident since a writer/creator expects to be compensated fairly but it seems that the filmmakers disagree with their claims. The amount of $5000 is a slap in the face for these writers who have toiled day in and day out to create believable and relatable characters that are adored by the fans. Why then are their voices being stifled behind the cages of bureaucracy. It is truly shameful on the part of the studio to treat its artists like this.
What do you think of the situation? Do you believe that the writers must be paid a fair wage or are they just being unreasonable? Let us know your view in the comments below and keep watching this space for everything Marvel, DC, and Hollywood.