Marvel Comics Suing Creator Of Ghost Rider For $17,000, Looks Bad Doing It
Gary Friedrick photo © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons
In the 1970s, Gary Friedrich created the character of Ghost Rider for Marvel Comics. You've seen the guy: Leather jacket, flaming skull for a head, currently being butchered on film by Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider, not Friedrich).
Friedrich doesn't own the rights to Ghost Rider--Marvel does. When the first Ghost Rider movie came out, Friedrich sued Marvel, arguing that while they owned comic book rights to the character, he owned the film rights. A judge disagreed and he lost the suit.
Now, Marvel is suing the 68-year-old Friedrich for $17,000, or the sum of money he's earned in retirement by attending conventions as a paid guest.
Seriously? Was the $4 billion Disney paid for Marvel not enough?
It's hard to perceive Marvel as being anything other than a bunch of bullies. Friedrich isn't out creating his own comics and films using their intellectual property. He's just taking credit for something he did--doesn't matter who owns the character, Friedrich is still the creator--and to say that him getting an attendance fee is tantamount to, what, copyright infringement? Seems a little Grinch-like.
'Tis the sad state of the comic book world: The biggest characters in comics are earning money for the companies where they live, while the people who created the characters get nothing. Did you know Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster only got $130 for Superman, a character that's minted money for DC Comics? (Well, before years of legal wrangling, of course).
Remember kids, read those contracts.
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