This New York magazine profile of the great Louise Simonson found universal acclaim when it appeared yesterday. Not only is Weezie one of the nice people of the world, but an immensely talented writer/editor whose impact on comics history is undeniable, from co-creating Power Pack to co-creating Cable and Apocalypse and Steel and editing some of the most influential sueprhero comics of all times.
Buried in the profile, which was written by Abraham Riesman, was a few interesting notes on Marvel’s participation model;
While comics creators aren’t typically given much creative input on film adaptations of their characters, directors will often reach out to them to chat, get their blessing, or ask them to make cameos. I ask Simonson if Apocalypse director Bryan Singer ever communicated with her. “Oh, God, no!” she says, with a laugh. “I’m hoping my name maybe makes it into the credits.”
It doesn’t, as it turns out. But she does get to pad her wallet a bit from the movie. When Apocalypse debuted in 1986, Marvel had an agreement whereby creators could earn royalties when characters they created showed up in merchandise or filmed entertainment (something the publisher doesn’t do anymore). Though Fox — not the Disney-owned Marvel Studios (the folks who make the Avengers movies) — owns the film rights to X-Men characters like Apocalypse, that contract persists.
In any case, Simonson isn’t losing any sleep over getting credit. She’s been in the superhero hustle long enough to know the score. “You create a character,” she says, “and if people love him, you put him back in the sandbox. Then other people get to play with him.”
This is as clear acknowledgement of Marvel’s payouts to creators of older characters as I’ve seen, it’s obvious that Jim Starlin, Bill Mantlo and several others have received compensation for the use of their creations. While TV compensation for use of a character can be less than $100, I understand Marvel’s movie compensation can be quite a bit more.
That makes the lack of comics related credit on X-Men Apocalypse all the more disappointing. While Stan and Jack got their accustomed credits, the usual “additional thanks” type names were left off. This is probably because the cinematic X-men universe is now so convoluted that to show the names of all the comics creators would be almost as long as the CGI renderers, but aty least the CGI renderers got their name sin the credits.
Truth be told, I don’t remember seeing any additional comics credits on Captain America Civil War either. Doesn’t mean they weren’t there just that I didn’t notice them. BvS called out Frank Miller and Dan Jurgens, c-creator of Doomsday, the film’s villain.
Neither Marvel nor DC include media participation deals in newly created characters, part of the reason why creators aren’t always jumping up and down to create new ones. Getting your name in the movie credits was a nice little gesture, but it seems even that may be fading away.
Not that any of that bothers Weezie, as the article states. She’s a true icon of comics and seemingly secure in that knowledge.
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.