An Open Letter To Comic Book Publishers About NFT From Mike Deodato

It's NFT time again. Mike Deodato is the artistic pseudonym of longstanding and lauded Brazilian comic book creator, Deodato Taumaturgo Borges Filho. working on titles including Thor, Hulk, Wonder Woman, Amazing Spider-Man, New Avengers, Thunderbolts, Astonishing X-Men, Infinity Wars and Savage Avengers. Last year, he started The Resistance from AWA. He has also been a comic book artist prominently creating NFT artwork, and had received criticism for doing such. But he has his own criticism for the language comic book publishers are now using to comic book creators regarding NFTs and how it may affect the cost of them doing business. Deodato writes for Bleeding Cool;

An Open Letter To comic Book Publishers About NFT From Mike Deodato
Mike Deodato NFT artwork

Hero creators need heroes too. I have been doing comics all of my life and I intend to do it till my last breath. It is not a career you can make lots of money – on the contrary -, but it is something I absolutely love. I am in general a very introverted person and prefer not to be involved in arguments unless it's something I believe it is so blatantly unfair that I just cannot not be involved. This is one of those cases.

First let me explain how, basically, an artist makes money in comics as a worker for hire: You draw the pages, the publisher pays you for the pages. That's it. If you want, you can also sell the original art for collectors. The comic book original art market is a great way for the artist to increase their outcome. It is legal, universally accepted for all publishers and have been driving millions of dollars at prestigious auction houses around the world. The problem is that a lot of comic book artists work, nowadays, digitally. There is no physical art in the end, just a digital file. You cannot sell it because it has had no value. Now it has. It is called NFT. Non-fungible token.

In short, it means a way to make that digital art file of yours something unique and certified, that you can sell to art collectors. Yay! Finally, the digital comic book artist can make the same extra money the traditional comic book artist does by selling original art, right? right? Not so fast, or as Larry David would say, curb your enthusiasm, buddy.

The big comic book companies are sending letters to artists asking them not to sell their digital original art because they are copyrighted. They are asking nicely, you would say, so what is the problem? Well, they are also sending DMCA's ( Digital Millennium Copyright Act ) to the platforms to stop them from selling the art.

So, let me get this straight. If you are a traditional comic book artist you can sell your original art on paper. If you are a digital comic book artist you are not allowed to sell your digital original art. In both cases, there is no copyright involved. In both cases.

So WHY digital comic book artists are being deprived of their rights? Isn't a pandemic destroying economies and making people losing their jobs bad enough? Maybe we need a super-hero to champion our rights. Neal Adams, would you save us all over again?

PS: This is to discuss artists rights. For the ones worried about environmental issues related to NFT's, first read this and then please go discuss it someplace else.

I'm not sure if folk will go elsewhere Mike, after all, this is for many people, the point.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.