June 6, 2011

Another Open Letter to Dan Didio

Dear Dan,

Yes, it's me again - I know; you're really busy with September's upcoming relaunch/reboot/whatevertheheck is. It's in that spirit that I wanted to run a suggestion past you.

Last night, I was guest hosting the excellent Zone 4 podcast from Comic Related, and we were talking about DC. We were also talking about the recent court decision regarding some of the Superman rights, and I made a comment....one which I wanted to state publicly for the blog.

Sit down with the Siegels, Shusters, and all attorneys involved. Work out a fair deal where they get compensated for the creative aspects of Superman (basically anything outlined in Action Comics # 1) for you to use in your books.

Why? Because (spoiler for Zone 4) as pal Ron states, it's the decent, fair thing to do. Siegel and Shuster were taken advantage of decades ago....this would be a good way to "set things right". It would be an admission that the DC of today is much more ethical and considerate of creators' rights than the National Periodicals of back then. It would speak volumes that DC is much more open to making amends for past acts than its illustrious competition.

But more importantly - it allows DC to avoid the obvious how-do-we-account-for-these-aspects-we-don't-have-the-rights-to. If this were a newer character, it would be a challenge; one with 70 plus years of history is even more so. I think being able to show that you can do the right thing despite years of conflict would show that DC is a much more caring entity. (You also might want to consider how your decisions will affect retailers - recently, the Comic Vault in Chicago announced that it was closing, and Evil Squirrel came slightly close. It would be a good idea to see how you can go digital and help retailers.

There will be those fans who will complain that the Siegels and Shusters are being "greedy"...to which I only have two things to say:

  1. Please go and read Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones first, to get some background before you snark about this; and
  2. Remember this when you complain that your employer doesn't pay you enough, or you feel cheated that you're not given value for your work.
Because, Dan, some of us actually do love comics - in fact, you might want to give this week's Zone 4 a listen, as Brant, Ron and I discuss Marvel/DC Mashups. (We also have a great proposal for your DC Universe Presents, if you're interested). We want DC to make good comics...but we also want you to live up to some pretty high expectations. Yes, things are tough for everyone, but I think the awkwardness of sitting down and setting up payment/compensation for use of specific rights is ultimately the right thing to do.

After all, it's what Superman would do.

Thanks for your time and attention. Looking forward to seeing what you do next.

Your pal,

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