Cartooning & Comic Art
Guild joins Amicus Brief in Support of Comic Creators & Artist
Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 11, 2014
On July 22, the Graphic Artists Guild joined the National Writers Union (NWU), the Science Fiction Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in signing on to an amicus brief on behalf of the heirs of the creators of “Superman,” Siegel and Shuster, and Jack Kirby, an early Marvel Comics artist. The brief supports the rights of both families to sue DC Comics and its parent company, Warner Brothers, and Marvel, respectively, to recover the original copyrights to the work of Siegel and Shuster, and of Kirby. The families of Siegel and Shuster, and of Kirby, are seeking to have the US Supreme Court hear their appeals of two Circuit Court decisions which rejected their attempts to regain the copyrights.
Siegel and Shuster, the co-creators of the Superman series, originally signed away their rights to the character in 1938. Their heirs unsuccessfully sought to terminate DC Comic's copyrights to the work by issuing statutory notices of termination in 1997 and 2002. In 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court stripped Shuster's heirs of termination rights, a ruling that according to NWU ignores the Supreme Court's opinion in the landmark case NY Times v Tasini (2001), which ruled that termination rights are inalienable. Kirby's heirs sought to terminate Marvel’s copyrights to his artwork, a move which Marvel countered in 2010 by suing the Kirby family for declaratory relief that Kirby's work fell under the work for hire exception to the Copyright Act. The judge hearing the case ruled in favor of Marvel, and the ruling was affirmed by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2013.
While the Supreme Court has not yet stated that the petition will be reviewed, indications are good. Marvel initially refused to respond to the petition, but was asked by the justices on May 14 to file a response. The petition has been distributed to the justices for conference on September 29. A ruling by the Supreme Court in favor of the heirs to Siegel, Shuster, and Kirby would have wide implications on the interpretation of the copyrights of independent contractors and creators.
For clarification on “all rights,” “termination of rights,” and “work for hire,” visit our Contract Glossary.
Art Licensing: Free Teleclass and Member Discount on Webinars
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 30, 2014
J'net Smith of All Art Licensing has announced her Summer/Fall schedule of licensing webinars and teleclasses, and is offering a mix of free and discounted events. Her “Ask J'net” free teleclasses are open to anyone, and are a live phone event in which participants can submit their questions on any aspect of art licensing. Upcoming “Ask J’net” teleclasses are scheduled for May 14 and July 16. Smith has also extended to Guild members a deep discount on her licensing webinars. Her next scheduled webinar is “Character Licensing,” taking place on May 21 from noon to 2 p.m. PDT. The discount code for this webinar can be accessed by logging into Member Central on the top right of our website, and visiting the Professional Discounts page.
The summer schedule of All Art Licensing events is:
Ask J’net Q&A free teleclass
Wednesday, May 14th, 12 noon – 1 p.m. PDT
Wednesday, May 21st, 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT
Sales & Trade Show Follow Through Techniques that Close the Deal
Wednesday, June 25th, 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT
Ask J’net Q&A free teleclass
Wednesday, July 16th, 12 noon – 1 p.m. PDT
Designing Product Lines that Manufacturers Want
Wednesday, July 30th, 12 noon – 2 p.m.PDT
Getting the Million Dollar Deal
Wednesday, August 13th, 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT
Will the Real Superheroes Please Stand Up: Fanboys and Sexual Harassment
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 21, 2014
ComicsAlliance senior editor Andy Khouri was horrified at the extent of the vitriol directed at his colleague and ComicsAlliance contributor, Janelle Asselin. His article, “Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment,” is directed at both trolls who indulge in anonymous threats of sexual violence against the women with whom they disagree, and the majority of male fans who would never contemplate engaging in such behaviour.
Asselin’s recent ordeal began when she strongly criticized the cover art of DC Comics’ Teen Titans. Among issues with perspective and composite, Asselin pointed out that the gravity-defying enormity of Wonder Girl’s breasts was both a physical impossibility and highly inappropriate on a 16-year-old character. This resulted in a backlash of criticism directed at Asselin that escalated to cracks over her credentials and legitimacy as a comic art critic which seemed to be fueled by her gender, and not her well-documented experience within the industry. The furor escalated to the point that Asselin began receiving virulent threats on an online survey she was running on sexual harassment in the comic book industry. As reported by Khouri, one male respondent wrote: “Women in comics are the deviation, the invading body, the cancer. We are the cure, the norm, the natural order… In the end all you are is a pathetic little girl trying to effect change and failing to make a dent.”
Khouri was also inspired to write his article after hearing a panel discussion on sexual harassment in comics fandom while at Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon. The women presenting at the panel – Asselin, along with ComicsAlliance Editor-in-Chief Laura Hudson and contributor Rachel Edidin – made the point that the sexual harassment was not their problem to solve, but that of men.
Khouri takes the point to heart when he writes:
“Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just ‘happens.’ It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable. It’s sometimes a crime men commit. And it is not in the power nor the responsibility of women to wage war on this crime.”
“It’s on us.”
He concludes by pointing out that harassment, and enabling harassment by remaining silent when it occurs, is antithetical to the standards of decency and fairness promoted by superhero comics. Khouri challenges men to check trolling and harassment. In other words, Khouri is inviting fans to emulate the true superheroes.
Brought to our attention by @colleendoran.
Stickman’s Tips to Displaying at a Convention
Posted by Rebecca Blake on April 11, 2014
In 2011, Seattle member Mark Monlux published “Stickman’s Advice to Having a Table at a Comic Book Convention.” The primer’s advice is borne of Monlux’s many years of experience as an illustrator, cartoonist, convention attendee. The strip covers the process of renting a table, from the initial reservation through handling booth visitors. He offers commonsensical advice, such as bring lots of business cards, prepare your pitch, and bring water (useful after exercising that well-prepared pitch). Other advice is less obvious, such as how to scan the crowd and the advisability of having of a mobile phone credit card processor.
The strip was drawn during the 2011 24 Hour Comic Challenge sponsored by CLAW, the Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians. During the event, artists were challenged to write, sketch, and ink 24 pages in twenty-four hours. In a previous year, Monlux had struggled to finish the assignment using his finished, more labor intensive style of cartooning. For the 2011, he decided to do an instructional strip – creating the strip ate up the first seven hours of the challenge. So Monlux repurposed his long-running comic strip character Stickman for a much faster illustration style. With the trade show and comic/illustration convention season heating up, the strip functions as a charming and succinct visual checklist for anyone planning on renting a table.
Artwork © Mark Monlux. Used with permission of the artist.
The Unvarnished Truth: Susie Cagle on a Freelance Career
Posted by Rebecca Blake on March 25, 2014
At first glance, writer and cartoonist Susie Cagle looks as if she’s swimming in success. A graduate with a Master’s in journalism from Columbia University, her recent work includes such prestigious clients as Wired, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and McSweeneys. She’s appeared in radio and TV spots, and her work has been featured on NPR and in the Los Angeles Times, Print Magazine, and the Washington Post. People with “regular” staff jobs often tell her they envy her lifestyle. Yet, as Cagle describes it, “they then break eye contact when I tell them how much I am paid.”
In “Eight Years of Solitude: On freelance labor, journalism, and survival,” Cagle gives an unsentimental look at her career as an independent journalist and cartoonist. Her career has followed a trajectory similar to that of many capable and well-educated journalists: a Master’s degree, unsuccessful applications to entry level positions and unpaid internships, blogging assignments for $10 an hour, and a brief stint as a staff writer for a real estate blog before being laid off.
To distinguish herself from a glut other out-of-work journalists, Cagle taught herself to cartoon. The additional skill gave a boost to her bank account – a small illustration could earn as much as a 2,000 word story on a major news site. While her unusual skill set attracted notice (and requests for free work in exchange for “exposure”), she discovered that her talent in illustration devalued her legitimacy as a journalist. She also discovered the huge disconnect between publicity and income, earning less than $20,000 in the year in which she had the most exposure on TV, radio, and in print. (Check out Tim Kreider’s beautiful summation of the value of “exposure” to a working illustrator.)
Cagle now finds herself on a treadmill of underpaid work: “I’m terrified that if I don’t publish an article one week, I might be forgotten altogether, losing out on the hypothetical opportunities I’ve been working toward for the better part of these last eight years.” It’s a bleak assessment of the freelance world, but one that rings true.
Top right: self portrait © Susie Cagle. Used with permission of the artist.
Brought to our attention by @ColleenDoranPrevious Page Next Page
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