The Wally Wood estate wants a credit on Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil? Not as simple as it seems.
Wally Wood refined Stan Lee and Bill Everett‘s creation — including ditching the yellow-and-red outfit — and built the foundation for the Daredevil we know today. The estate believes it’s a gross oversight that Wood‘s name has been left off the TV show’s credits, while other comics creators’ names were included.
A lot of well-known and respected comics writers and artists agree that Wood should be included, even if there’s now a lot of back-and-forth over how the estate is handling this. (I’m not getting into that.)
My take? If you’re gonna list comics creators, then Wood‘s name should be added.
That’s fine. But it does open a whole can of worms where creator’s rights are involved.
Now, I freely acknowledge that I’m not an expert in this area. I’m not a lawyer.
But I will say it’s easy to demonize a monolithic corporate entity — even though all the contracts involved over the years were signed by adults. You put your name down, you live with the deal.
At the same time, these companies have hardly made a good-faith effort to treat older creators well, when their characters spawned unanticipated billions. Hell, nearly 50 years ago, DC cut loose a raft of writers who wanted health insurance. That’s shameful and disgusting.
But now we’re wandering into a whole new area: Recognizing the contributions of people who didn’t create characters but helped to shape them.
This got me to thinking about other writers and artists who — if Wood deserves this kind of recognition — might also merit credits on TV and in movies.
Mind you, I’m not making a value judgment on any of these. I’m just illustrating some of the broader implications of the Wood estate’s demands.
In other words, I’m playing devil’s advocate (pun intended):
— Should Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert get a credit for creating the Flash — even though they created the original Jay Garrick version?
— Or is it Carmine Infantino, Robert Kanigher and Julius Schwartz for putting him in a red suit and calling him Barry Allen?
— What about (Green) Arrow, who was created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp? Because their version bears little resemblance to the one on TV.
— OK, then do Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil deserve credit? They refurbished and popularized Oliver Queen in the late ’60s-early ’70s — but that Ollie is also very different than the one played by Stephen Amell — except that he’s battled Ra’s al Ghul, an O’Neil/Adams/Schwartz creation.
— Now add Mike Grell to the mix. He not only made Oliver Queen more lethal, he put him in a hood.
— One more: Nyssa al Ghul was created by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson. But on the show, she’s really more like Talia, except that her “beloved” was a woman. Talia was made famous by O’Neil and Adams but first appeared in a story by O’Neil, Bob Brown and Dick Giordano.
— This latest hubbub started with Marvel, so let’s go back over there. Stan Lee, Don Rico and Don Heck get credit for creating Black Widow — but the version played by Scarlett Johansson is closer in line with the look devised by Lee, John Romita and Jim Mooney in Amazing Spider-Man #86.
— Let’s take it a step further. Should Bob Ringwood have been included in the credits of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy because he was the first to put Batman in a head-to-toe black costume in the 1989 Tim Burton movie?
— One more: The Riddler was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang — and revived by Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella, behind a cover by Infantino and Murphy Anderson. But the most popular Riddler of all was Frank Gorshin‘s manic interpretation (first written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.). Should Gorshin have been acknowledged in Batman Forever, when Jim Carrey was clearly ripping him off?
Probably? Maybe? No way?
I could go on and on — and so could you, I’m sure. But the only lesson I glean from this is that this is not the black-and-white (or, in this case, the black-and-red) issue a lot of people want this to be.