Last week, Bleeding Cool highlighted veteran comic creator Gerry Conway's concerns about how DC Comics was treating their "creator equity participation" policy that rewards creators for comic book characters that were created for comics, being used in other media, such as toys, games, TV shows or movies. And how he has been told that his co-creation Power Girl was now counted as a derivative character of Superman and so he wouldn't receive any more payments, and also how the Caitlin Snow character appearing on the Flash TV show was derivative of his Killer Frost character, but he wouldn't receive payments for that – and neither would Caitlin's creators. Neal Adams spoke out about this policy stating that DC Comics were not treating their veteran creators well.
DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio have written a letter to DC's creators in which they state that no changes have been made to credit and equity policies, but that they are " we are looking to build off of and improve on current practices by finding ways to increase the frequency of such payments and to proactively compensate equity stakeholders above and beyond the usual standards when their characters are the driving principals of new productions."
Basically, people will be getting more cash and more often.
It's not exactly the response I predicted but it's not far off. I would expect changes in the attitude from DC Comics regarding "derivative" characters to be expressed to affected creators soon.
The letter, in full, follows below.
DC Entertainment's talent community is extraordinarily important to us, and we value your many contributions to DC's legendary stable of characters and world-class stories. We pride ourselves on being the premier destination for top talent.
Recently, there have been questions regarding DC's credit and equity policies, and we wish to assure you that no changes have been made to either of these policies that in any way diminish the credit or equity that we've been extending to our talent for nearly four decades…
As part of our ongoing mission to attract and retain the best artists and writers in the industry, we are looking to build off of and improve on current practices by finding ways to increase the frequency of such payments and to proactively compensate equity stakeholders above and beyond the usual standards when their characters are the driving principals of new productions. With the dramatic increase in the use of DC characters across all media, there will be more and more uses of our characters across our businesses. This is great news for all of you!
We have tremendous respect for the creative contributions of the writers and artists who bring DC's characters to life, as reflected by our long-standing business practice of rewarding talent for those valuable contributions. We welcome any questions you may have about credit, character equity or any other matter as we continue our efforts to improve the ways we recognize, compensate and reward our talent.
Dan & Jim