Robert Atkins On The Downside Of Licensed Comics Like GI Joe

There have recently been a number of posts on the downside of working on licensed comic books and corporate IP. Joelle Jones may have kicked things off with an appreciative post, after she was gifted a Catwoman wedding dress statue, after not getting a copy from DC, "Sending out a HUGE thank you to @mrwaynespcc for gifting me with the Catwoman wedding dress statue after learning I had never received one! I am so grateful and it is rad to finally see it in person! Thank you so much!!!"

In a now-deleted post, Jimmy Palmiotti then posted how hard it was for he and his wife Amanda Conner to get comp copies of merchandise printed based on their artwork. I pointed out that it's the reason Todd McFarlane gave as to why he co-founded Image Comics, because he didn't get one of Marvel's T-shirts of his Spider-Man work. Joyce Chin added, of her husband Arthur Adams, "They've printed Arthurs stuff onto tons of merchandise over the decades, it's always available. He's not been paid for any of it, and the only way he's ever gotten any of the many items is to buy them himself."

Robert Atkins On the Downside Of Working On Licensed Comics


And it was in this light that Robert Atkins posted about his own experience working on GI Joe and Storm Shadow, licensed by Hasbro for IDW Publishing. He tweeted;

Robert Atkins On the Downside Of Working On Licensed Comics

One MAJOR downside to working on Licensed properties…I did this design for @IDWPublishing unpaid to redesign Storm Shadow for the book. Only to have it used time and again for new high end product I'll never be credited or paid for. Create your own. I definitely benefited in my career being associated with the property, and starting your career, you need to take paying jobs. But this does take advantage of comic artists. We rarely get paid extra for all the Concept design we do that gets repurposed. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Joe as a property, and I wouldn't keep coming to it if I didn't. But the system is broke that artists aren't compensated in this loophole to take advantage of us through comic work for hire designs, to be used for $1000 statues and figures

Robert Atkins On the Downside Of Working On Licensed Comics Robert Atkins On the Downside Of Working On Licensed Comics

This is in no way, an isolated example of course, and is common across the industry. But it can sometimes be all too easy for some to forget.

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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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