Marvel is in the spotlight again after several VFX artists are speaking out about terrible working conditions. The complaints are industry-wide, but Marvel is one of the major villains. The biggest problem seems to be video game-style crunch, where artists are asked to do an unbearable amount of work with an excruciatingly tight turnaround.
Working on #Marvel shows is what pushed me to leave the VFX industry. They're a horrible client, and I've seen way too many colleagues break down after being overworked, while Marvel tightens the purse strings. https://t.co/FacGBfnYmG
— Dhruv Govil (@DhruvGovil) July 10, 2022
And fans aren’t always impressed with the finished product. The first She-Hulk: Attorney At Law trailer included some wonky, cartoonish vibes from the big green menace, but it’s also a rare TV show that would feature such a massive, movie-sized amount of CGI. The question is whether Marvel and its VFX team are up to that task, and whether Marvel can treat those employees and contractors fairly.
According to Variety, She-Hulk herself is speaking up on the workers’ behalf. At a recent press event, she said “I feel incredibly deferential to how talented these artists are and how quickly they have to work, obviously, like much quicker than probably should be given to them, in terms of churning these things out. . . I do think that we have to be super conscious of how the work conditions aren’t always optimal and that they’ve made these amazing strides in this industry. I watch it and it doesn’t look like a cutscene from a video game. I can see the character’s thoughts. I feel very in awe of what they do.”
Head writer Jessica Gao added, “I think everybody on this panel stands in solidarity with all workers and is very pro-good working conditions,” and director Kat Coiro said “we stand with them.”
These are valuable statements, but it’s unclear how far that support can stretch given the scope and power of Marvel (read: Disney) to steer the process. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law premieres August 18th on Disney+, and the Marvel slate currently includes a Halloween Special, a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, What If…, Loki, Echo, Ironheart, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guaridans of the Galaxy: Vol. 3, The Marvels, and Blade.
That’s just through 2023.