As we reported yesterday, Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich is facing demands of $17,000 from Marvel, who claim that his selling of Ghost Rider prints at comic book conventions was unlawful. The demands arose after Friedrich tried to make royalty claims on the use of the characters he created in the Ghost Rider films. Not only does Marvel's counterclaim mean that Friedrich is obliged to pay them the money, it will also prevent him from being able to say in future that he is the creator of Ghost Rider.
To make matters worse, Freidrich is now a senior citizen and has almost no money, let alone anywhere near enough to pay off Marvel. A Bleeding Cool reader has written an open letter to Nicolas Cage, star of the Ghost Rider movies, and has asked us to publish it on her behalf.
Dear Nicolas Cage,
I have read that you are very dedicated to making Ghost Rider II a success, so much so that you have taken a hefty pay cut in order to get this film made. Unfortunately Marvel Enterprises has won a settlement of $17,000 from artist Gary Friedrich (I am sure you know Mr. Friedrich is one of the creators of the Ghost Rider character).
Marvel winning a lawsuit against a financially destitute and unemployed senior citizen who helped create the iconic character that is the subject of the movie you care so deeply about has created a distinct antipathy toward your project.The negative effect Marvel's lawsuit has caused is perhaps far greater than you know. Facebook and Twitter are aflame with negative comments, petitions and people urging others not to see your film solely because of Marvel's treatment of Mr. Friedrich. You stand to lose millions because of the public relations disaster Marvel has caused.
Mr. Cage I know how you can personally overcome this PR nightmare, save your movie and make yourself a true hero in the eyes of the comics and movie-going public. Do you want that and more positive publicity than you have ever had? All it would take for you to be a true hero to millions of people is $17,000. That's less than the price of a car. Give $17,000 to Mr. Friedrich so that he can pay Marvel. Save your movie by saving Mr. Friedrich. My best regards to you Mr. Cage. I hope to see you at the movies.
It's certainly true that Marvel's actions have garnered a lot of bad press on social media, but since the rage is directed at the studio rather than Cage himself, would this gesture make a difference?