It will be a quiet day here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives, as most of our contributors will be meeting us shortly to participate in a team building exercise. This will involve being at the bar next to our local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop building my own teams by cutting and pasting panels from different new releases, meaning that, if all goes well, our local SWAT Team will have the chance to learn to work together as a closer unit.
So just a couple of quick things today: first off, 20th Century Danny Boy has just republished an article, initially written for Rolling Stone by Howard The Duck creator Steve Gerber back in the mid-70s, about the fall into destitution of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster prior to Warner Bros. making the deal to pay them an annual pension for life… not for any legal reasons, but to try and win a PR victory despite making millions off a character that Siegel and Shuster created back in the 30s and sold for $130.
Rolling Stone never published the article, but Gerber updated it in the mid-80s and published it in Wap, a fanzine run at the time by Gerber, Frank Miller and Steven Grant, and this is the first time it’s seen the light of day since then. It’s a pretty harrowing story about how the big comic publishers routinely fucked and burned most of the creators who invented the characters we still read and love to this day, and how many of them died penniless, despite publishers making millions off of their creations (and don’t think it doesn’t still happen on some level; ask Ed Brubaker how much input he had over the movie script for The Winter Soldier). It’s one hell of an article, somewhat disturbing, and yet another reason why I’m perfectly happy to be sitting on the sidelines writing about comics rather than actually writing them. Well, that and my utter lack of talent in writing plot, story or characterization.
And in the spirit of helping out comic creators going through a bad patch: we reported earlier this week that X-Factor, Captain Marvel, Incredible Hulk and Star Trek writer Peter David had suffered a stroke while on vacation in Florida. David’s wife Kathleen has been posting daily updates on his condition on David’s Web site, and yesterday she posted a way for fans to help him out with, despite his having health insurance, what will probably be some not insubstantial co-payments: