In January, Boom Studios ran a Kickstarter to fund the collection of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic books. And they raised over $804,000 from 1584 backers. And as part of the Kickstarter, they stated;
The amazing comic book stories we've published and are making available in this pre-order campaign would not be possible without the talent and contributions of the creative teams that generated them. We know the Kickstarter community cares deeply about creative talent, so we want to assure you that the creators involved in making these stories will receive industry-standard royalties based on the sales of the work they made, including any sales through this Kickstarter. This is in addition to the rates they were paid when the work was first commissioned. In other words, the creative talent will benefit directly from your support of this campaign. Additionally, all of the creative talent involved directly in this campaign, including the TV show actors, are being fairly compensated for their contributions and time to participate in the campaign.
Well, former Power Rangers comics writer Kyle Higgins took to the Comic Book Club Power Rangers podcast and this Kickstarter came up. Higgins seemed to have a different take on the situation. Asking whether he got a fair share of the Kickstarter moneys, he told them;
"No. You know what, I didn't know they were doing a Kickstarter and on top of that I expect I won't see a dollar from that. When it first launched, I checked it out because there was a paragraph in there that said, don't worry the creators have all been paid, they were paid for their work and they'll get industry standard royalties on these and I had my lawyer reach out and say, so what exactly does that mean because we don't know, and I've never actually been paid royalties on the hardcovers. I've been paid two discretionary bonuses at one point or two different times but very, very small amounts of money. So as far as I'm concerned I won't be seeing a dime on those hardcovers, but you know at the end of the day, I signed the contract and I knew it was a work-for-hire deal. It's comics and the thing about the Power Rangers stuff that people may not realize is that as a licensed comic not only is Boom – well, I don't know what Boom's deal is so I shouldn't say that but – what I do know is that everything that is created in those comics is owned by Hasbro, so it's not only work for hire for the publisher, what the publisher is doing is is kind of like it's licensing so it's technically all owned then by the licensor."
I understand that since I started asking questions around this podcast, Kyle Higgins and Boom Studios have been back in touch with each other and hopefully some of this has been cleared up. As ever, it's often a problem with communication. Contacting Filip Sablik President of Publishing & Marketing at Boom Studios, he gave me a general statement about royalties. "BOOM! Studios is proud to offer industry-standard royalty rates for creative talent. Any creator eligible for royalties through their agreement, will receive royalties based on the sales of the work they contributed to, including any sales through the Kickstarter campaigns. Royalties are calculated once orders are fulfilled. Prior to fulfillment, items are pre-ordered in a similar fashion to the way our retail partners pre-order comics and graphic novels from publishers months in advance of release. Once we complete fulfillment on a campaign, that revenue is recognized and accounted for in each creator's next royalty statement." Bleeding Cool is always happy to help creators and publishers communicate better – or indeed, at all – over such disagreements. Feel free to get in touch if you have any similar issues.