Did You Just Get A Random Royalty Check From Marvel Comics?

Bleeding Cool has been told by a number of comic book creators that they suddenly got a random and unexpected cheque – or check – from Marvel Comics, without sufficient information as to what it may be for. Even if they haven't worked at Marvel Comics for some time. To be fair, Marvel Comics royalty – or "incentive" payments as they call them for legal reasons – may not always be great shakes. And when you have stopped working for Marvel, any such payments can be a surprise. But in recent weeks, it was even more of a surprise.

Did You Just Get A Random Check From Marvel Comics?
Cheque received by David Robertson many years ago. Nothying to do with this story.

Digging into it, there are a number of theories. The big one is that Disney accountants noticed a big hole in Marvel's due payments, ticked a box on a spreadsheet somewhere, and lots of due payments all came at once. Many seem to be from four years ago, and that was a time when Marvel Comics was switching payment systems within the Disney body, could there have been a glitch back then? This is just a best guess. One creator told Bleeding Cool that he'd received a bunch of cheques earlier in the year when Disney accountants found a batch of unpaid royalty payments at Marvel, could this be something similar but for everyone?

Thing is, the people I've spoken to at Marvel editorial don't seem to know either, and some of them have been sent cheques for past creative work as well. If even Marvel employees don't know why Marvel is paying them, what hope is there for everyone else? If you are a Marvel freelancer and you have just received such a payment, do let us know if you have a clue as to what it might be for. And also, if it is a payment due from four years ago, what should the interest have been if you'd banked it way back then?

UPDATE: Looks like G Willow Wilson spilled a few beans a couple of days ago on Twitter:

 G Willow Wilson: Just got my digital royalty statement from Marvel and I would like to personally thank the people who have been reading through my back catalogue. I think this is the first time I've ever seen MYSTIC (which I believe is out of print) on a royalty statement.
 
Marc Andreyko: i got mine today too. with royalties from 6/17-12/17?!?

 G Willow Wilson: Yeah I had to look at that a couple of times. Surely a mistake? Or have they been holding our money hostage for four years?!

Marc Andreyko: i'm betting the latter.

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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.
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