Robert Kirkman has expressed his skepticism and lack of trust towards Marvel Comics after his experience working for them as a freelancer. In a recent podcast interview with Todd MacFarlane, Kirkman revealed his disappointment with the publisher for shelving his first hired project. The project involved a Sleepwalker-based mini-series for which Kirkman was given a budget of $5,000 to write and assemble an art team.
Unfortunately, Kirkman’s Sleepwalker series never saw the light of day, as he received a call from a Marvel executive who informed him that the project was being canceled and he was being let go. The executive bluntly stated, “Hey, so we shut the whole thing down, you’re fired. I know you did a lot of work on issues 2 and 3, but we’re not gonna pay you for that because we’re never putting it out.”
Upon reviewing his contract, Kirkman discovered a clause that allowed Marvel to terminate artists at any time without any specific reason. This revelation deeply disappointed Kirkman, and during the podcast, he referred to it as “the most disappointing, most unstable representation of what working for Marvel was.”
Despite this negative experience, Kirkman did continue to work on other projects for Marvel. However, he admitted that the incident with the Sleepwalker series had left him with a lasting lack of trust in the publisher. He stated, “Because I had that situation with Epic, I can’t trust these guys. They’re not reliable, and I can never really see them as offering stable employment.”
Marvel’s payment practices have been a subject of criticism from various creators in the past. One ongoing concern is the compensation offered to creators when their characters debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For instance, the creators of Yelena Belova, Devin Grayson and JG Jones, expected a $25,000 payment when the character appeared in Black Widow. However, they received only a $5,000 check to split between them.
Grayson likened the situation to the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, where the possibility of winning a million dollars exists but is highly unlikely. She mentioned that the contract contained language that allowed Marvel to pay out $5,000, even though the larger sum was more prominently emphasized. Typically, the lump sum payment is split between the creators involved, so Grayson and Jones were anticipating a $25,000 payment.
In conclusion, Robert Kirkman’s experience with Marvel and the subsequent lack of trust he developed due to the cancellation of his Sleepwalker project has made him wary of the publisher’s reliability. Additionally, the payment practices of Marvel have faced criticism from creators, as seen in the case of Devin Grayson and JG Jones’ payment for the debut of Yelena Belova.
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest