David Michelinie Apologises to Todd McFarlane Over Venom Creator Claim
Recently, David Micheline and Erik Larsen brought up the vexed claims of creator claim over the character of Venom, as seen in Venom 2, opening in UK cinemas this week. As it rolled on, Bleeding Cool reprinted their respective letters on the matter from 1993, and Todd McFarlane's recent statements on Instagram. But it is possible, spanning the thirty-year gap, that we may have a little closure. Because David Michelinie has posted a further follow-up as a result of Bleeding Cool's coverage of the matter. Talking about Wizard Magazine and his decision to send that initial letter he stated that they were;
"the first publication to print the term "co-creator" when linking me to the Venom character. They also reprinted Erik Larsen's response, which he began by calling me a clown, angrily accusing me of trying to take sole credit for Venom, when Todd Mcfarlane was the one who really made Venom popular with his visual interpretation. And on rereading those two letters I realized that the cause of this seemingly endless conflict was exactly what I had thought it to be in the first place: terminology."
"In the 1980s Marvel Comics devised their own definition of "creator", stating that the first person to write a new character and the first person to draw a new character were the "creators". This wasn't anyone's verdict of right or wrong, but a corporate decision made in order to facilitate the royalty payment program they were instituting. That qualifier rapidly became the commonly accepted definition to both comic book professionals and fans. But long before I even became a professional writer, my understanding of the word "create" was that it applied to the first person who thought of or introduced or wrote something new. And here I'm referring to Venom's CHARACTER, not the costume, powers, or anything else. And to me, character is defined as personality, motivation, and history. So, yes, I did say, "…there was only one person who actually created Venom, and that was me." Which, by the definition I had held for some 20 years of writing comics, was true. However, through the wisdom of hindsight, I can see where this might have confused readers who didn't know what I was actually referring to."
"Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Todd McFarlane if he (understandably) misinterpreted my intentions. I've been choosing the word "originator" rather than "creator" in hopes of simplifying things, but that hasn't seemed to do much good. I still believe, and will always believe, that I was the one who tipped the Slinky down the staircase. (For those of you too young to get the reference, that means I'm the one who started things.) But the evolution of the Venom character, both visually and narratively, from the 1980s to where it is now, has obviously been a process fueled by the contributions of many, many people. I hope this might clear up a few things. Probably not, but hey, at least I gave it a shot."
Maybe it does indeed. And as for Erik Larsen? He didn't reply. While Todd McFarlane has continued to stay out of it.