DAVID AJA: “Start Paying” Marvel Comics Artists
In a Tweet sent on Monday, October 25th, 2021, David Aja, the main artist on the 2015 Hawkeye run (which was written by Matt Fraction), responded to a Tweet noting the similarities between a poster advertising the upcoming Disney+ series and a cover from the comic run. In the Tweet, Aja stated that Marvel Studios should “start paying” artists whose Marvel Comics work serves as inspiration for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Some More Context
The initial Tweet was sent by Twitter user ken (@wandaskory), and noted that the poster for the MCU Hawkeye bore a striking resemblance to the Aja-created cover of Hawkeye #6 (an issue which features Matt Hollingsworth on colors and Chris Eliopoulous on letters – here at Marvel Blog, we do our best to fully credit creators, and we hope it shows).
While the initial Tweet only mentioned Fraction, ken soon followed-up with another Tweet in the thread mentioning Aja. This is thanks in part to the fact that DC Comics artist Bruno Redondo (Nightwing, which means we have him to thank for that tuchus) pointed out that the whole creative team should be credited, especially given that the poster pays homage to the visual of Aja’s cover.
Even better: Stop crediting, start paying, haha.
— David Aja (@davaja) October 25, 2021
But that’s when Aja himself arrives to set the record straight: “Even better: Stop crediting, start paying, haha.”
If you are looking for a way to support Aja’s creator-owned artistic works (something we think the creator would appreciate), then checkout The Seeds written by Ann Nocenti with art by Aja from Berger Books, an imprint of Dark Horse Comics.
Compensation for Comics
This is not the first time that the MCU shows have generated some controversy regarding the compensation of the creators behind the comics that serve as inspiration, and just like this issue – which highlights how Hawkeye, a character originally created by Lee and Don Heck, can be subsequently developed in novel ways – just like another recent controversy.
When Captain America and the Winter Soldier was released, Ed Brubaker, who (with artist Steve Epting) is responsible for realigning Cap’s sidekick Bucky Barnes into the titular Winter Solider, stated that he got more money from a cameo appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier than he did for the character’s inclusion in the Disney+ show. This is especially interesting considering that Brubaker did not create Bucky, who came from the work of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
What will the outcome be when it comes to compensation for the use of Aja’s distinctive, stylized Hawkeye art in the series advertisements? While we can’t say for certain, Marvel is probably under no legal obligation to pay out additional money to the creators.
However, as with Scarlett Johansson, it’s possible that the studio will agree to pay a certain amount of money in order to keep both creators and audiences happy – even if the studio isn’t contractually obligated to shell out.
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