Boycotts & Moving On

By | Tuesday, February 07, 2012 3 comments
James Sturm is boycotting the upcoming Avengers movie. Steve Bissette goes a step further and suggests boycotting anything bearing a Marvel character created or co-created by Jack. It's a little unclear to me, though, if they've got a result thier looking for: whether he wants Kirby's heirs to receive some compensation, or Jack to get a creator credit, or if nothing will satisfy them. Regardless, I'm not going to pass judgement on him.

I'd offer to do the same, but I largely stopped buying Marvel products several years ago. A boycott by me means little since I don't really give money to Marvel anyway. I've run into this before with other companies. I stopped going to BP stations years before their disastrous oil spill in 2010 (largely because their stations tended to be more expensive and decidedly inconvenient to get into and out of) and I stopped going to Chic-Fil-A because they used styrofoam containers, only finding out later their discriminatory practices against gays.

True, I did just purchase these decals a couple weeks ago, but I think my previous contribution to Marvel's coffers was when my folks took me to see the Captain America movie last summer. I did see Thor as well, but that was actually on Marvel's dime.

I'm not one to throw cold water on either Bissette or Sturm, and I'm a big fan of Jack Kirby's work (I'm a regular contributor to The Jack Kirby Collector after all) but here's my thinking...

Marvel has made a shit-ton of money off Jack's work. Jack got screwed out of a LOT of money that he (ethically) should have received. But, in the first place, both he and his wife are dead and will never see any more benefits beyond what they saw while they were still alive. In the second place, the stuff that Marvel is producing, whether you're talking comics or movies or action figures or whatever, is not what Jack created anyway.

Yeah, there's still an orange rock-guy called the Thing and a long-haired muscle dude with a big hammer and cape called Thor, but they bear little resemblance to the characters Jack created. That is why I stopped buying Marvel comics several years ago -- the characters were no longer ones that I recognized. It may have been the house that Jack built, but it had been repainted, gutted, restructured, added on to, renovated, re-sided, re-decorated, sold, re-sold, foreclosed on, sold yet again, rented out, repainted again, added on to some more, thrown through a worm hole, and repainted again to the point that it's barely recognizable as the original house. Legally, of course, Marvel has every right do all that just as I have every right to muck around with a historical home if I bought one for myself. But just as I don't want to live in a 75-year-old house that's been re-worked so often, I don't want to play in a 75-year-old playground that's been re-worked as often as it has.

See, whatever the origins of the movie, this...
... is not this...
I'm not going to boycott the Avengers movie because a boycott from me would only make sense if I gave Marvel some reasonable portion of my income in the first place. Twenty bucks in a year or more, I don't think, qualifies. Do I begrudge anyone who does opt to boycott the movie? Not at all. I hope your message gets through in fact. But I'm going to focus my energies trying to help the folks who are still with us and would personally benefit from the help:
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Matt K said...

This was an item on Slate, yesterday, and I think one of the first comments after the story really said it, for me:

"I'm 'boycotting' the Avengers movie because it looks like dreck."

But... but... I'M in it!

Matt K said...

And you may yet go on to genuinely worthwhile projects, too. Just look at this!