Ghost Rider 2-for-1 post: Gary Friedrich appeals, and I watched Spirit of Vengeance

13 Mar

by Mike Hansen

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Image via Wikipedia

Blogger Daniel Best has reported that Gary Friedrich has appealed the court decision against him and his LLC regarding his claims to Marvel’s Ghost Rider as its creator (or co-creator). I’m surprised this hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere yet – if the court is willing to hear the appeal, this could have real consequences for creators who worked under the pre-Work For Hire copyright system. Regardless of how it plays out, the $17,000 judgment against Friedrich is cruel and inhumane – there’s no reason that a reasonable settlement couldn’t have been worked out.

Disney/Marvel trotted out a couple of its big guns to try to make the company look like less of a Giant Dick. Joe Quesada gets big props from me for putting the Hero Initiative in touch with Friedrich – I hope his precarious financial situation regarding his health and home gets a happy ending. Mad props go out to everyone who donated money or participated in charity auctions on Friedrich’s behalf.

The Hero Intitiative

Donate: it's a good cause! (Image via Wikipedia)

Friedrich is just one of dozens of writers and artists who worked for Marvel during the pre-contract, pre-Work For Hire era who have seen the work for which they built the foundation turned into money-making machinery for which they receive little (if any) compensation. Creators have been getting screwed out of royalties all the way back to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for their Captain America stories.

Here’s the most significant quote from that Marvel interview:

In the course of conducting this interview, CBR News asked a follow-up question as to Marvel’s policies towards its creators: “Finally, issues of legal ownership aside, one of the most common complaints, if not the most common complaint about the comics industry, is that the deck has been stacked against working creators as far back as the industry’s inception. Does Marvel feel a responsibility now to help support the writers and artists who helped build the Marvel Universe, and in particular the artists who had a direct hand in creating the kind of franchise characters that can support multi-million dollar movie and licensing endeavors?”

Marvel declined comment with a spokesperson citing the ongoing litigation.

Bullshit. There are plenty of ways this could have been answered without affecting Marvel’s legal position. The sad fact is that Marvel chooses not to honor and reward the creators who ensured its existence. Now that most of their work has been reprinted, it might be too late for them to receive their just rewards – unless they are given a reasonable percentage of merchandising revenue. Step up, Marvel.

Anyway. Because of this madness, i had no plans to see the new movie Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. But I was out on a movie date with the missus, and our options at the theater weren’t what we’d thought – so we settled for this one.

Like the first one, most of it’s pretty sucktastic, but Ghost Rider looks amazingly badass. It’s a shame that so few writers have been able to make awesome Ghost Rider comics (the three issues by Jason Aaron and Tony Moore fucking RULE, though). But the guys who made the Crank movies worked on this, so they were able to get some of their lunacy on the screen.

The transformation sequences between Nicolas Cage/Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider were cool, as he seems to lose his mind. And there were some cool effects with Ghost Rider seeming to fall into nothingness that were pretty ballsy artsy shots for this kind of thing.

But then there were a bunch of ripoffs from other movies, like Transformers-sounding sped-up whirring sounds (that seem to be the latest overused Hollywood bad idea, like shaky-cam fights were a few years ago). Those noises got old after the first Transformers movie; I don’t need ’em in other movies. And a couple times where GR movies like Sadako in The Ring movies – that could’ve been done better.

The breakdown for me is something like 5 minutes of Hilarity, 10 minutes of Awesome, and a whole lot of minutes of WHYYYYYYY?

I’d say the safest thing would be to rent or DVR it, and be prepared to fast-forward a lot.

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