107006450019009228

COMICS: Much to the surprise of many, including retailers who had seen it for sale in the Previews catalog, Marvel Comics announced on Wednesday that they would be cancelling one of the only titles published under its now all-but-defunct Epic imprint, an adult crime story called Gun Theory. The surprise wasn't that Marvel was cancelling the series, they seem to be in the process of killing Epic completely, but that they were cancelling a 4 issue series after only 2 issues had been sold and that it was the only creator-owned series published by Epic which was announced as a home for creator-owned work. The actual creator-owned status of the book is in question as well, as it turns out. Apparently the indicia of the book assigns all copyright to Marvel but the author of the story says he owns the series and Marvel only had publishing rights. If the two creators did, in fact, sell their copyright to Marvel, it's really too bad for them because they have no recourse, no way to take the series somewhere else to publish it. If Marvel has only the publishing rights, they can get those back and take it somewhere else. Nobody's made a statement about it beyond the one linked above so everybody has to wait to see what will happen. I for one hope they retained ownership of the thing and can take it somewhere else. I read the first issue and didn't care too much for it (I felt it was waaay too decompressed storytelling-wise and some of the dialogue seemed a little forced) but I hate to see any creator screwed over like that so I hope they get the chance to finish out the story and get their due money-wise. This is one of the many benefits of owning your work. Brian Wood published Channel Zero with Image but (if I recall correctly) they didn't even publish the whole series due to low sales. Then he took the series to AiT/PlanetLar, published it as a trade paperback collection and he still gets royalty checks from it years later. If he had settled for doing the book as a work-for-hire for somebody else and they'd cancelled it, his only recourse would have been to whine about it, which is what a lot of creators end up doing when the publisher screws them in some fashion. The writer Steven Grant had a great quote on this subject (it's vulgar so stop reading if you don't like that sort of thing): "If you're going to be their pussy, don't cry when you get fucked." Amen.