Well, speak of the devil. As we posted only a few hours ago, Marvel is in a very vulnerable PR position on the Gary Friedrich matter…so much so that they have sent both CCO Joe Quesada and publisher Dan Buckley to clarify and soothe at Comic Book Resources. As they point out, the matter is still under litigation and a settlement is being negotiated. Buckley and Quesada do a good job of trying to handle the negatives—they’re pros—especially with this:
Quesada: As many people in the industry know, I’ve been deeply involved with the Hero Initiative since its inception. It’s a cause that is very near and dear to my heart and the only organization of its kind that I’m involved with. Regardless of my role as CCO, I have never nor would I ever stand in the way of someone receiving much-needed help, and I don’t get involved with Hero’s decisions on how to help. As a matter of fact, when all of this Ghost Rider stuff broke, I immediately checked with Hero’s President, Jim McLauchlin, to see if Gary was in need of assistance, and Jim informed me that up until that point Gary had not applied for any. My understanding is that Hero has since been in touch.
Buckley: Let me add that Marvel has also supported many projects by the Hero Initiative. If fans are looking for a wonderful outlet by which to give back to the creators of a medium they love, please give to the Hero Initiative.
To which we say: Yes please give to the Hero Initiative, a charity set up to help comics creators who are in need. They are truly one of the finest comics-related charities out there.
J & D also quash the Artist Alley Gestapo theory:
Quesada: Let me put this as simply as I can: Marvel is not looking to make any new policy announcements through this lawsuit — a lawsuit that began five years ago.
As a case in point, the Internet and the creative community became incredibly concerned when Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, thinking that Marvel now wouldn’t return original art to its artists, even despite my publicly stating the contrary. As you can see, that was unfounded.
Buckley: We in no way want to interfere with creators at conventions who are providing a positive Marvel experience for our fans. We want fans to speak and interact with the creators who wrote, penciled, inked, lettered, colored or edited their favorite stories. Part of that positive interaction is that a fan can walk away with a signed memento or personalized sketch from an artist.
As we mentioned previously, NOW is the time to put the pressure on Marvel to do the right thing by older creators.
And, while it is very plausible that Joe and Dan are serious about not patrolling AA, it’s still not inconceivable that Disney might have a different view some years down the line.
UPDATE: Just reading some of the Twitter response to this piece among creators…they are NOT soothed. Will a stable of fidgety freelancers have any deleterious effect on Marvel? Developing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.