You may have heard some old school comics fans, among them respected artists like Stephen Bissette and James Sturm, are boycotting “The Avengers”.
Why? Because of the treatment of Jack Kirby at the hands of Marvel.
As we’ve mentioned before, creator’s rights are a sticky issue, especially for the creators themselves. A lot of artists and writers are incredibly bitter about the treatment they’ve received at the hands of the comics industry, and not without reason. Even though today, creators get much more respect and better treatment, including the rights to their own creations, there are still problems throughout the industry and the “work-for-hire” question is still an important one. In fact, Marvel just turned around and absolutely crushed Gary Friedrich, the creator of Ghost Rider, for no explicable reason other than the fact that they could. The man literally cannot call himself the creator of Ghost Rider.
All that said, boycotting “The Avengers” isn’t going to get any justice for the Kirby estate, and it definitely isn’t going to do anything to Marvel. Here’s why.
#5) It’s Hypocritical to Focus on One Creator
So…anybody going to not go see “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” because of Friedrich getting kicked in the teeth (I know Sturm and Bissette aren’t, but what about the rest of the pro-Kirby crowd)? Anybody boycott Green Lantern because Bill Finger and Martin Nodell’s estates didn’t get so much as a nod in the opening credits? Anybody angry Bob Kane’s estate isn’t seeing much of anything from “Gotham City Impostors”? Anybody putting together a petition for Chris Claremont or John Byrne to get some credit on the X-Men movies?
No? Therein lies the problem: some creators are more privileged than others, even in the eyes of fans. Friedrich is currently trying to figure out how to pay a massive conglomerate $17,000 when his attempt to get some justice left him penniless, and almost nobody cares, because he’s not Jack Kirby, the King of Comics. And that’s garbage.
Every creator or no creator: it’s that simple.
#4) The Wider Audience Will Make This Film a Hit, and It Doesn’t Care
Look, the nerds will see it a dozen times, but realistically speaking, Disney isn’t making these movies because we’ll like them. We’re just the gatekeepers they have to please to release movies across the country. Unfortunately, audiences have short attention spans, and it’s been hard for the Kirby estate to get traction with the news media (for reasons we’ll get into).
#3) It’s Going to Hurt the Filmmakers, Not Disney
Let’s say the boycott gets traction, and “The Avengers” underperforms.
Guess what? Disney won’t care. We’re talking about a multi-billion conglomerate that has already made its money back on the Marvel purchases with cartoon series and collecting money for nothing from other studios that licensed their characters. Disney is going to make a mint off of other studios churning out hit movies of properties they now own.
No, the people who suffer will be the cast and crew: they’re the ones who couldn’t sell a big summer movie. And they’re not the ones who hurt Kirby.