Friday, May 04, 2012


I don't know if you've heard, but the Avengers movie is coming out this weekend. It seems like a lot of people want to see it and it's pretty good in its soulless blockbustery way.

As stated before, I'm not going to go see it.

You don't have to either, you know. You can, obviously you can, but you don't have to. If you're not crazy about how Marvel treated Jack Kirby (among other things), you can always say, "You know what? My life will be just as good if I don't see this movie as it is if I do." It is an option. You could even let Marvel know about your decision and why you made it.

Not the only option, of course; some people have decided to just not see it in the opening weekend, reasoning that this will deny Marvel and Disney the prestigious early numbers. I don't put a lot of weight on the early box office being that much more valuable than the overall take, but they must decide, and it's certainly another option. And then a lot of people have decided to see the movie, but also to donate to the Hero Initiative, and I can certainly see the logic of that, so there's one more option for you. Or you may just decide that this is not an area where you want to expend your protest energy, and see the movie or not strictly according to your particular tastes in leisure. It's all okay with me, not that you need my approval.

I do urge you, though, to do something to try to make the world a better place, as you understand it, in some way. It's a target-rich environment out there.

I wrote about this kind of thing before, you may recall, and earlier this week I finally let DC and Marvel in on my thinking. I sent this letter to Dan DiDio and Joe Quesada:

Dear Sir:

I'm writing to tell you I won't be buying your comic books any more.

To elaborate: I'm a longtime superhero comic-book fan and blogger. In February I got to the point where I wasn't comfortable buying DC and Marvel comics, or watching any of their spinoff movies and TV shows, and stopped. I suppose I should have written this letter then, but I don't think the timing makes any difference.

It's not because you're not publishing anything I like. For instance, I'm going to miss Fables so much it hurts, and I was really looking forward to trying Mark Waid's Daredevil series. (Although I should say that I plan on continuing to buy DC's Legion-of-Super-Heroes-related comics, because I don’t want to stop blogging about them.) But enjoying comics doesn't outweigh other considerations.

You can probably already guess my reasons for taking this step: your treatment of previous creators and their heirs, like Siegel and Kirby and Moore and Friedrich (and recent events surrounding Chris Roberson have certainly not changed my mind); your portrayals of female characters; your corporate owners' attempts to make copyright more and more restrictive.

DC and Marvel are the great pioneers of the superhero genre, and the discrepancy between your companies’ actions and the ideals represented by your characters is striking and unpleasant.

I'm disappointed that it has come to this. Please give me some reasons to revisit this decision; I'm willing--no, I'm eager--to do so.


Matthew E

I don't expect it'll have any effect. Or not much. I figure I'll get a couple of form letters back, something like that. I suppose DC might decide to be hardasses about it and try to come after my blog legally; there wouldn't be much point to it but it's theoretically on the menu. The important thing is that I feel better, and that makes it worth doing, because certainly DC and Marvel weren't doing anything to make me feel better.

Labels: , ,


Blogger snell said...

May I point out that Quesada and DiDio surely aren't the one calling the shots on these decisions? Marvel and DC are both owned by corporate empires, and certainly the call on things like compensating estates interpreting 25 year old contract come from upstairs and *their* lawyers. I have no inside knowledge of these corporations, but I'd be willing to bet that Marvel and DC staff really have no say over these issues.

So you might be more effective directing your boycott at Disney and Time-Warner. Boycotting Brave or Game Of Thrones might not be any more effective, but at least it will aimed at the targets who could actually do something about the issues.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's a point.

With regard to my three areas of discontent, DiDio and Quesada certainly don't have anything to do with Disney and Time-Warner's copyright policies, but they sure do have influence on the portrayal of female characters and they at least have a voice when it comes to the treatment of creators.

In any case, they're the front men for their respective companies, and they can at least forward my letter on to the appropriate parties. If DC and Marvel care about what the fans are thinking, well, now they know what this one thinks. And if they don't then it doesn't matter who I send the letter to.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hi

I respect your decision, even though I thought it a bit extreme - there are some properties where there really is very little legal ground to stand on - such as the early work-for-hire on spider-man etc. But for watchmen, I had a lot more sympathy for Alan Moore, simply because the clause in question exists, it was certainly contemplated that the characters would be returned to alan moore at some point. the longer DC leaves it, the less reasonable and less equitable are their actions. so on watchmen i am on all fours with your opinion.

and then came the watchmen TOASTERS - and the batman MOUNTAIN DEW!!! Good god people. A Rorschach toast grill?!? Really?!?

I would add though if I am not wrong Fables is still creator owned, so maybe you dont have to dump them.

4:25 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, I wouldn't call it extreme. If I chained myself to Jerry Siegel's house and threatened to set myself on fire, that would be extreme. All I'm doing is not buying some comics and not seeing some movies.

if I am not wrong Fables is still creator owned, so maybe you dont have to dump them.

I don't have to do any of it. There aren't any rules here. It's just what I feel comfortable with, and I'm not comfortable buying Fables since it's published by DC. Sorry, Mr. Willingham; nothing personal, but I'm disillusioned with your business partner.

10:29 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home