As his character America Chavez prepares to join Doctor Strange in the cinema, Joe Casey talks about the studios’ “insulting” offer to adapt his character to the big screen.
Would Marvel again be accused of mistreating the authors of the comics on which their blockbusters are based? Yes Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is about to address the consequences of opening a multiversal breach, the film will also be an opportunity to integrate new heroes into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Among this slew of newcomers, America Chavez, the first Latin American and lesbian heroine that will interpret the very young Xochitl Gomez. America Chavez should have been introduced in Spider-Man: No Coming Homebut after an initial postponement, she will eventually be discovered alongside Doctor Strange.
If the arrival of the character on the big screen is something to delight fans of Miss America comics, there is nevertheless a downside. In view of the future major exploitation of the character, his co-creator Joe Casey, would logically be entitled to expect decent compensation from Marvel studios. But nay and This isn’t the first time Marvel hasn’t overpaid comic book writers behind the filmic inspirations.
“They paid your author you” “No, and you?” “No and you ?” “Nope”
Benefit its authors? Why the hell?
Based on the well-known observation that an artist lives only on love and fresh ink, the American company automatically retains the intellectual property of any character invented within the MCUand in return only offers a modest compensation fixed at around 5000 dollars per author/artist. A sum as grotesque as it is laughable considering the billions of dollars that the studio makes thanks to its productions.
If Disney argues that it happens, sometimes, every blue moon, that larger sums are paid, the amount previously mentioned seems to be the norm within the box. If the amount seems low, the officials of the studio with big ears however like to recall the mouth in heart and a bottle of lubricant in the hand, that the contracts signed by the artists in no way commit the employer to financially compensate the exploitation of the future little hens with the golden eggs.
An author on the 3rd of the month
The co-creator of America Chavez therefore has a bitter taste in his mouth: if he is proud of his character and of all that she symbolizes with the various communities that she represents, the author confessed to The Hollywood Reporter regret that his film adaptation takes place without him being compensated decently:
“Marvel owns America Chavez, there’s no debating that. But there is still a systemic problem in the way creators are neither rewarded nor respected. Marvel never paid me anything for America Chavez. Neither for his participation in Doctor Strange 2, nor for the many episodes of animated series, nor the figurines they made in his likeness, nor the video games in which he appears… And they seem rather at peace with this decision.“
Learning of the exploitation of his character in the sequel to the adventures of Doctor Strange, Casey was forced to go and claim a contract proposal from Disney himself. A proposal that he says he refused, however, judging the amount proposed by the studios offensive and inappropriate.
Chasing money keeps artists in shape
A VERY BAD HABIT
Joe Casey is far from the first artist-author to have publicly complained about this lack of consideration by the studios towards the creative teams: in 1938, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster sold their Superman to DC for 138 dollars, and did not receive not a penny more thereafter despite the success that the character will meet.
More recently, Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos, complained about the little money that brought him the use of the emblematic character, yet central figure of the last two opuses of the colossal saga of infinity: Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). And if Starlin finally managed to negotiate a better contract, Ed Brubaker cannot say the same: the author who will have resurrected Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier on whom several films and his own series depend, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, will not only not have been adequately compensated for the exploitation of the character, but moreover would not have been invited to the screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. A height.
“Why isn’t my author at the screening?”
While Casey was of course aware of the ruthless machine he was stepping into by agreeing to work for Marvel, the latter deplored despite everything the lack of communication and transparency of the studios:
“For me, it’s not so much about the money. It’s not even a matter of respect. I don’t expect to be respected by a company like this. I am fortunate today to be in a position where I can afford to refuse, not to accept this insulting offer, and where I can afford to speak about it publicly. And maybe, you never know, the next person will have a better chance of getting the money they are owed, and that money might just be able to change their life.
Scarlet, close to the Disney officesYes
I’m not bitter, or offended. I know how things work in this environment. But I also know that this is how you can change things, by talking about it.“
And indeed, you only have to see the repercussions of the lawsuit brought by Scarlett Johansson against Disney: by making the case public, the actress has thus paved the way for actors with a more moderate profile to better defend their rights. . Hoping therefore that Casey’s statement regarding this financial mistreatment of artists adds some weight to the balance of change.