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Arrow/The Flash - Writer/Creator Of Various Characters Calls Out DC On Royalty Policy

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As I’ve described elsewhere (, many years ago DC Comics established the first program to provide comic book creators with a share in the revenues generated by their creations in other media. This concept became known as “creator equity participation” and it was a small but significant step toward compensating creators for their work beyond a simple page rate. For me, personally, it’s been moderately lucrative (thank you, Bruce Timm, for putting Killer Croc in the animated Batman) but in recent years it’s also become an increasingly frustrating and, lately, infuriating process.

By a rough guesstimate, I probably created over five hundred characters for DC between 1969 and 1985. Most of them were minor one-shot creations, and some of them, like Felicity Smoak (now a regular on Arrow) were minor supporting characters who’ve taken on a new life in other media. Unless I’m willing to commit a large chunk of my life to tracking down each character and filing a separate equity request in anticipation that somehow, some day, one of these characters might end up on a TV show, I risk being cut off from any share in the fruits DC enjoys from the product of my labor. A share which DC acknowledges I’m due– but which DC refuses to assist me in receiving.

But now we come to the catch-22 of DC’s new approach to creator equity agreements. Assuming I perform my due diligence (which should really be DC’s due diligence) and dig up references to characters I’ve created that might soon be appearing in other media (maybe as a chess piece, or a Heroclix figure, or a recurring character on The Flash), and assuming I file the necessary request form in a timely fashion– DC can still decide, unilaterally, that my creation is “derivative” and they don’t owe me a dime.

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