Friday, 16 November 2012

Great Rip-Offs In Comic Book History

Giant-Size X-Men #1 & Uncanny X-Men #94 (Marvel Comics, 1975)
Art by Gil Kane & Dave Cockrum 
(from Aardvark Comment, Cerebus #169, April 1993)
I find a lot of fans are unaware that the characters they enjoy were purchased for nickles and dimes from creators and are now earning hundreds of thousands of dollars for companies. I think that sucks. At the same time, knowing that Bernie Wrightson was ripped off left right and center on Swamp Thing, I still read and enjoyed the book when Alan Moore and Rick Veitch were doing it. I think it is shameful that creators are ripped off and I think it is shameful that other creators compound the offense. To their credit, a lot of creators are realising what 'the game' consists of and are walking away from it. You can say that everyone goes into this with their eyes open but how was Len Wein to know when he created the X-Men (the New X-Men) that one day he would see them splashed all over comic book stores and television, with royalty payments large enough to buy his successor on the book his own airplane, while Len himself would not see one dime over his page rate for X-Men #94. At the same time, I'm sure he was paid top rate for writing X-Men #94 and, at the time, it made as much sense to do that as to do anything else. Fifteen years later it goes in the Siegel and Shuster file: Great Rip-Offs in Comic Book History.

From 1970 to 1975, the Uncanny X-Men title consisted of reprints due to lack of sales. In May 1975, Giant-Size X-Men (written by Len Wein, art by Dave Cockrum) jump-started the series after the five-year hiatus, in which Professor X recruits a new international team to save the X-Men. With issue Uncanny X-Men #94, the magazine was revived, (plotted by Len Wein, scripted by Chris Claremont, art by Dave Cockrum) and all of the original X-Men quit, save team leader Cyclops, and are replaced by such "All-New, All-Different" X-Men as Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Banshee, and Colossus.

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