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Author Topic: The Flash: Silver Age (and Origin)  (Read 6854 times)
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India Ink
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2004, 01:20:18 AM »

Side-stepping the actual merits of the case, I don't understand the hostility that some fans express when they read about this case or others.

We all love comics.  We all know that these creations are great--and worth a lot of money (as it turns out).  We all love the talents who worked on these creations (although not all equally, but each according to our own fond memories of the work).

I'm not the biggest defender of free enterprise or the capitalist system of government.  But given the system that we all live in--in most democratized nations--the sorts of cases that happen should happen and do happen.

And unlike some, I think the courts are a good place for such issues to be worked out.  Others believe that government should make law and policy, and the courts are there to merely enact it.  But government would have to sit all the time, and constantly pass bills into law, in order to oversee every element of social justice, public conduct, and corporate regulation.  All government legislators would have to be legal experts.

The court fills in for government in interpreting the broad strokes of law, rendering fine judgements--and in that end, they do make public policy. The court, indeed is an arm of government.

All that being said, in the interest of free enterprise, the law allows ideas to be contested in the courts.  And the way such contests are set up, each side arms itself with the strongest arguments to fight their case.

In the end, especially in corporate law, the result is usually a compromise somewhere between the two extremes.

As an American citizen, Mr. Infantino has the right to use the law to defend his own interests.  And Mr. Infantino's lawyers have the duty to make the best case for their client.

I see nothing wrong in that.  If you accept the legal system, then you have to accept the situations that follow from such a system.

Be assured, DC will make the strongest case it can in its own best interests.  Its lawyers will stenuously argue for their clients.  And given DC has deeper pockets, they may well win.

Some who post on this subject (in the other message boards I've visited), on the one hand chastise Mr. Infantino, and then pretend some kind of concern for him--that he will be chasing a rabbit down a rabbit hole and end up poorer in the end.

Frankly, I find this a patronizing attitude.  Such comments assume that Mr. Infantino is stupid and possibly misled by his legal council.  I think those comments are self-serving and disingenuous.

It seems much more likely to me that Mr. Infantino has given the matter intelligent thought, that his legal council are working in his best interest, that the matter has been negotiated for some time, and that we are only hearing about it now because one party or the other has blocked further negotiation.

Personally I do hope Mr. Infantino ends up winning something.  I doubt that even he believes he can win absolute rights to creations, but his lawyers probably believe that by presenting their extreme case DC will opt to settle for reasonable compensation.

I can't see how Mr. Infantino getting some credit and some money is such a bad result.  Isn't it better that he get the money rather than a Warner stockholder who never drew a thing in his life?
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India Ink
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2004, 02:46:02 AM »

I don't have a problem with Infantino making money from this suit, if he deserves it.  It's not like he's asking for so much that it would drive DC out of business (not that THAT would be such a bad thing, either!).

Maybe some fans have a problem with this story because they're tired of reading about lawsuits all the time in the comics industry.  A few years of following endless courtroom dramas of Todd McFarlane versus [fill in the blank] will do that to you.

Another thing is the timing.  As you say, it can take a long time for a suit like this to come together (or to light), so who knows how long it's been brewing.  But the story broke soon after the death of Julie Schwartz, one of the few men who could shed light on the subject, so the more conspiracy-minded among us are crying foul.

No doubt DC will fight this tooth and nail, as it opens the door to a potentially unlimited flood of suits from freelancers going back for decades.
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India Ink
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2004, 06:53:07 PM »

After my last post I realized what was getting me all hetted up was the wild speculation.  Since I've done a lot of that myself, I will try to make an effort not to do it anymore--and hope that others won't either.

Taking one point (eg. the lawsuit) and another separate point (eg. the sad passing of Mr. Schwartz) and coming up with some wild speculation about an association between the two is the sort of thing that annoys me.

Sergei Eisenstein realized he could pull this off eighty years ago.  He could take one piece of film and splice it with another to produce varying results  (eg. a man with a blank look on his face spliced with a separate film of a water glass would make the audience believe the man was thirsty; a man with a blank look on his face spliced with a separate film of a woman walking through a meadow would make the audience believe the man was in love).

Anyhow, I hope I'm not wildly speculating, but I believe from what I've read on other boards the reason for all these suits coming along now is owing to 1) changes in copyright laws which allow such suits and 2) the expiration of previously held copyrights.  It's likely lots of folks out there wanted to sue for rights, but couldn't until these developments came along.  And now there's a crush to get the suits settled--before many of these guys die.

Schwartz himself probably never saw the need, because 1) he was an editor and therefore the legal representative of the corporation and 2) he was kept on at DC long past the age of retirement and I gather he got a good pension and lots of recognition.  On the other hand, now that he's passed away, his surviving heirs could open up this matter.

That's the paradox of the situation.  As long as creative talents are alive they can represent themselves, go to conventions, write books.  But once they're gone, anyone is free to say whatever they want about them, and without any established credits it's possible that the contribution of any individual will be eroded with time--replaced by some myth.

That's why I thought my idea of a half-page credit box was a good idea.  I'm sorry Aldous felt I was going overboard.  Now in the old 12c comics a whole half-page would seem a great sacrifice.  But nowadays where the page count and pricing are so variable, I don't think half a page would be a sacrifice.  People want credit--beyond everything else about money, etc--people want to be recognized for what they did.  And I'm talking here about everyone.  We think about the writers, editors, artists--and sure they are upfront in getting the comics out--but it's really everyone who as a group allow the comics to be published.  I'm talking about the lowly guy who does corrections, the woman who runs the archive library, the young fellow who runs out for coffee and sandwiches.  Movies do this--they give everyone credit, and it's a good thing.  I've been in theatres where almost everyone in attendance had worked on the movie in some capacity, and you can feel the buzz of excitement as the credits roll and people see their names or the names of friends go by.  Heck, I've even seen my name go by, and it's a real kick.

I wish all work had such a system of recognizing workers.  Businesses--large or small--should put up plaques in their entrance ways where they recognize the contribution of all workers past and present--from the janitor on up.  It's good to be paid well, but it's also good to feel you are a valued person.

I said that movies recognize everyone--and they seem to, giving credit to caterers, grips, boom handlers--but I remember now that's not absolutely true.  Dave Cockrum was quite upset when the X-Men movies came out and there were no credits for him.  Credits for Stan Lee, but no credits for Cockrum.  I'm sure money was a big consideration, but really Dave wanted to be recognized.  

And of course, the movies couldn't put his name up, because such recognition might have legal consequences.  At least I think that's why--if that's not too much speculation--although I wonder about that.  It doesn't seem to follow that putting someone's name in a movie credit should automatically give them legal rights.

The thing is, while fans know a lot about comics and how they get made, the average person watching X-Men has no idea.  If it says Stan Lee created such and such a character, then the audience assumes that Lee did everything--wrote, drew, lettered--it was all him.  And there seems, even among fans, this drive to believe that only one or two people at most created a character.  There's an unwillingness to accept that comics are a group effort--because people want to celebrate the individual not the collective.
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India Ink
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2004, 07:58:09 PM »

Quote from: "India Ink"
That's why I thought my idea of a half-page credit box was a good idea. I'm sorry Aldous felt I was going overboard.


Well, I didn't think you were going overboard... I did, however, think you had your tongue ever so slightly in cheek... Taking the mickey, in other words.

But basically I agree. If you did something, contributed towards something, you deserve credit.

How far can you take this idea? Carmine was satisfied at the time with the credit and paycheque he received for Flash. Time has marched on, and now he is saying he is no longer satisfied. Which Carmine are we to believe? The Carmine from the late 50s or the Carmine from 2004?

At some point everyone has to move on. What happened with Flash all those years ago is a done deal. It's over. Personally I think Carmine is digging up a rotten corpse and slapping its face, hoping to give it life once again. It's over and buried.

If a creator believes he made a mistake in business fifty years ago, big deal. How long before he takes responsibility for himself and admits he did the best he knew how at the time. Ditto the company. Carmine was an employee, and he was asked by his boss to do something. He got paid. His name was put on the comic. End of story.
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