It’s been a good year for creators speaking out on how the Big Two comic book publishers have essentially devolved into churn factories for movie properties. Not certain that anything good will come to pass from it (hint: Rendar and I haven’t bought a comic book in a month, if you’re wondering our feelings on the industry), but it’s invigorating to see people speaking up. Greg Rucka has once again stepped into the batter’s box. Here is more from his interview with Clint magazine that we covered earlier in the week.
In an interview with Clint Magazine, Rucka said that he’s “reached the end of my Work For Hire rope,” adding that “I have spent a lot of my comics career in service of other masters, and I’ve had enough of that for now. I’m sick to death of the way the Big Two treat people.”
Describing his relationship with DC as “seven very good years… and they took gross advantage of me,” he went on to admit that “that’s partially my fault, but not entirely. At this point, I see no reason why I should have to put up with that, I can sink or swim on my own.” He pointed to Dan Didio’s claim that Gotham Central ”never made any money” and responded by saying that “That book has made nothing but money as a trade” (It has been issued twice in collected format, once in paperback and then reissued in hardcover, somewhat backing up Rucka’s point). “Right now, where the market is, I have no patience for it,” he said.
He also hinted at friction with Marvel, saying that “the Powers-That_be at Marvel, without talking to me, decreed that [the Punisher is] going to join a team on another book. That’s their choice, they own him, but I don’t have to be happy about it.”
“Despite what the publishers say, their interest in the talent is minimal now, the interest is only in promoting the financial worth of their properties,” Rucka went on. “That was not the case as of two or three years ago, when there was an ‘Exclusives War’, but that’s all gone by the wayside now. Ultimately, they are saying, ‘We don’t need you,’ because they can get a million more just like you. For every person who passes on the opportunity to write Spider-Man or Superman, I guarantee there are 5000 hungry writers who would give their eye-teeth to do it. But just because they want to do it, it doesn’t mean they are capable of doing it.”
The impetus behind the switch in creator relations has been the rise of the superhero movie, Rucka believes. “You are seeing a grotesque Hollywoodisation of the two main companies. There was at least a period where I felt that the way they wanted to make money was by telling the best story they could; now the quality of the work matters less than that the book comes out. There is far less a desire to see good work be done,” he said. “DC are playing catch up with Marvel, because of things like The Avengers breaking six hundred million domestic. That’s a lot of money, I don’t begrudge Warner Bros wanting to make bank it would be like blaming a shark for eating, but l do think that the pursuit of that financial windfall bears a detrimental effect on the creative and artistic side.”