The billion dollar enterprise of Marvel movies and toys is one of the cornerstones of mass media today, and has been for over a decade. Though the comic books provide a basis for all of these things, the creators of the single issues of any given Marvel Comic have long spoken out about how they're not being properly compensated for their ideas and characters being used in these gigantic Hollywood movies. Just a few months ago long time Marvel writer Ed Brubaker, co-creator of the Winter Soldier, spoke about his "very mixed feelings" that the Disney+ series was being released into the world and that the most he'd ever gotten for the character's use in the MCU was " a 'thanks' here or there." He's also not alone.
As the conclusion for his five year run on Black Panther wrapped up this week, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates participated in a major interview with Polygon about his time with the character and working within Marvel. During his talk with the outlet though he took time to note that he felt while he himself was fairly compensated, he believes Marvel can do more for the creators that took the characters that Marvel had already established and made them who they are in the popular conciousness. "There are people who make their living off of comic books," Coates said. "And I wish that Marvel found better ways to compensate the creators who helped make Black Panther Black Panther. I wish that they found better ways to compensate the folks who made Captain America Captain America."
He continued, "I’m talking very specifically here, I wish they found ways to compensate the author of the greatest Winter Soldier stories that you’re ever going to read. I don’t love that there’s a Falcon and Winter Soldier show on TV and I’m hearing from Ed [Brubaker] that he can’t even get in contact with ... I just don’t love that. I don’t love that. Look, I had a great time. I had a tremendous, tremendous time writing for Marvel. I am indebted to Marvel...I love my editors, Wil, Tom, Alana, Sara, Martin ... Chris. I had great people working with me. The corporate side of this, though ... the corporate side of this is not pretty. It’s not pretty at all. How you treat people who create the basis for this, I don’t love it."
Coates went on to say how much appreciation he had for Brubaker as a writer and what he and artist Steve Epting did on Captain America since he became the writer on that series himself, calling their "Death of Captain America" storyline "f-king incredible, ridiculously good," but summed up his feelings on compensation adding:
"To see folks making billions over top of billions, and for my man to say he can’t get a phone call returned. I don’t know what the relationship will be like in the future, but as a creator, you think about that. You think about how people treat other people. You think about how corporations treat other people. And I just don’t love it, dude."
You can read the full interview here.