Yesterday, we learned that the long-running legal case raised against comic book writer/publisher Mark Waid by comic book writer/publisher Richard Meyer had been voluntarily dismissed. A joint statement declared that "upon consideration of all the circumstances, the parties have jointly decided that it is in the best interests of all concerned, and the comic book community at large, for this litigation to end and Mr Meyer has decided to dismiss the lawsuit voluntarily… Neither party has admitted any liability or responsibility, can claim to have achieved any victory and both have agreed to assume their own fees and costs… With the dismissal of the lawsuit, the parties have executed a confidential agreement and have no interest in continuing this dispute in the public arena or anywhere else."
The case had been slowly moving through the courts, firstly looking at jurisdiction issues and judge's recommendations, but the current pandemic had reduced this – and many similar cases – to a crawl.
Despite the official statement stating that neither party could claim to have achieved any victory, the reaction from supporters of each didn't choose that distinction. While Mark Waid's supporters were generally happy with the result, many of Richard Meyer's supporters were vocally upset at this decision, asking where their money had gone and if they would receive refunds as the case was no longer going forward as promised.
As part of the lawsuit, significant sums were raised by both sides. Mark Waid raised over $84,000 on GoFundMe, through fundraising was paused some time ago. Prominent donations came from Humberto Ramos, Marc Guggenheim, Josh Elder, Ross Levin, Dan Slott, Al Ewing, Rafael Albuquerque, Declan Shalvey, Mark Evanier, Jonah Weiland, Neil Gaiman, Geoff Thorne, Shawn Kirkham, Donny Cates, Jason Aaron, Chip Zdarsky, Kwanza Osajyefo, Colleen Doran, Nick Barrucci, Erik Larsen, Aaron Kuder, Arthur Adams, Gerry Duggan, James Tynion and Kelly Thompson.
Ethan Van Sciver ran a GoFundMe fundraising campaign for Richard Meyer's legal bid, which was paused a couple of months ago, raising almost $150,000, twice as much as Waid, including prominent donations from Ray Fowler, Ethan Van Sciver, Ariel Kohler, Chuck Dixon, and Andres Garcia. Another Patreon set up for legal fees raised $18,000 before being shut down. Other Patreon accounts that may have contributed to the legal fund were not specifically labeled as such. And of course, though there will have been other costs associated with all of these efforts. These Patreons have been paused and will be closed shortly.
As part of the deal, both Mark Waid and Richard Meyer have signed NDAs. I did ask them both what might happen to any crowdfunded money that was not spent on legal fees. Waid told me "All the crowdfunding money on my end has been spent on legal fees." While Meyer told me he "after the final invoice is generated by my lawyers, they will cut me a check for the remainder, and that will be given to charities".