Some readers don’t like his smart-ass attitude, and some creators don’t like… that his paychecks are bigger than theirs. All of which is absolute crap, but that’s another story.
Millar has all my respect for things like the text following. He posted this on his message board, discussing further the topic of Bill Finger’s story.
Decades on, my generation of creators is hyper-aware of what happened to the people who really built the industry. The very small handful of people who built pretty much everything that pays for all those big offices around the world for the major companies. But even then I still see this happening. One reasonably well-known and sleazy company, for example, has a deal where every new creator-owned series is owned entirely by the writer and the artist is work for hire. Thus, if a movie gets made and someone makes one, two or three million dollars from the proceeds, the artist gets nothing but a cut of publishing.
Other thing I’ve seen is new creations unevenly split. In rights terms, 50/50 is the only way to go, but I’ve seen this split on big projects 75/25 and even 90/10 among the writer and artist. This rarely gets reported because artists, even more than writers, tend to be gentle souls, crushed by their next deadline and never quite finding the time or the energy to make a fuss. But I see all sorts of stuff going on now like front-loading money from a movie deal into a writer’s first draft of a screenplay money too. That’s a particularly sneaky one. Say, for example, the rights to a movie is going for a million dollars. That should be half a million each. But some very dodgy deals can be cut where the screenplay is 500K and the rights are 500 between both, the artist just getting half of what he’s due and the screenplay binned immediately and always planned to be binned with the writer recouping 75% of the pot.
What I mean by all this is that people should keep their eyes open. This isn’t an industry where our work is worth pennies anymore. These ideas can be used in endless mediums and are the reason the Big Two have vast Manhattan and Los Angeles offices. At the same time, writers and artists have to be fair with each other. Anything that isn’t 50/50 isn’t such a good deal. I think it’s fair enough for a writer to exclusively take a producer fee in the same way that an artist could take a design fee because, for example, I spend easily 5-10 hours a week on producer calls, watching casting sessions or even disappearing for a week entirely for story meetings or early edit screenings. I still split my producer fees 50/50 with the artists as a personal choice, but don’t judge the others who don’t as it really is a distinct deal from the rights and a different job.
I think mainstream American Superhero comics lag a little behind other expressions of teenage life in culture, and if you do that, you’re risking writing comics that appeal to the parents of teenagers rather than the teenagers themselves.
In terms of blocks, I suspect a good chunk of it comes out of comics being a visual medium. Text is a great obfuscator of content. You can read a book, and your parents will never know that it contains matter they’d have trouble with, because they’re never actually going to read it. But comics, being visual, are transparent. At a glance, they can judge it — and so often judge it at a glance, without actually reading it.
So you walk a line. I started “Young Avengers” with the scene for a number of reasons, but one of them was certainly seeing if Marvel would let me do it. If I weren’t able to write that, I’d have had to bow out of the gig, because there would be no way of doing anything I thought worth doing.
Marvel didn’t even raise an eyebrow.
I think the biggest blockade to the creation of the content is creators not choosing to create the content."