Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Like the Raccoon in the Guardians Of The Galaxy trailer? Help out its creator.

Bill Mantlo is one of the guys who created Rocket Raccoon, probably the most interesting part of the introdump trailer for Guardians Of The Galaxy. I mean, c'mon, it's a raccoon shooting a machine gun. Who cares about Andy from Parks & Rec? (Well, I do, I love that show.) Anyway, he also wrote the first two issues of The Transformers Marvel comics, that's just a small taste of the multitude of comics he wrote in the 70's and 80's.

Anyway, if you know anything about the comics biz, especially from the time before Image Comics, you might know that 1. most comic book contributors were freelancers 2. they did something called "work for hire," which among other things meant that if you created a gun toting space raccoon, the publisher and its parent company owned the rights. Listing you as the creator was them being nice.

In this case, Bill Mantlo created Rocket Raccoon and he doesn't see a dime for it today. He probably won't see any money from Disney/Marvel. For them to start paying him would be an admission of shared ownership and that'd be a legal and fiscal problem for everyone, like say Todd McFarlane who created Venom. Things like that. Even DC comics tried (and succeeded, recently) to undo the goodwill gesture of giving Superman's creators a slight piece of the pie until Man Of Steel came out.

Anyway, the real point is: Bill Mantlo was hit by a car 22 years ago and hadn't been the same ever since. It's pretty unfortunate and despite his long time in the Marvel Comics bullpen he probably had no pension or health insurance deductions as a freelancer. I don't know, but I do know that he probably won't see a penny from Rocket Raccoon's appearance in this new movie or action figures sold. There's probably a reason why so few characters are created these days by the big publishers. There's a reason why big publishers sue the former freelancers when they try to sell t-shirts of the characters they created, and don't own.

You can help Bill by checking out this link, reading the story, and donating to his family as they continue to help him out. That would be great.

I will get to more trash talking about plastic toy robots and farts next post, sorry.

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