DC Comics Creates Position to Handle Creator Equity

DC Comics, it appears, is learning from the mistakes of the past.

Several weeks ago, we chronicled the struggles of veteran creator Gerry Conway to receive equity for his creation of the Killer Frost alter ego of Caitlyn Snow, a once-obscure character now featured as a series regular on CW’s The Flash. After the story was picked up by nearly every other comic book media outlet, DC was forced to take steps to address the situation, something which they promised to work on.

Now it seems that the publisher has made the first move in ensuring that the clerical and logical hurdles which ensnared Conway are removed for creators seeking equity in the future.

Earlier this week, Time Warner, the parent company of DC Entertainment, posted a job listing on their corporate portal for a Research Analyst within the Legal Affairs department. On the surface, this wouldn’t seem to mean much, but when one reads the job description in its entirety, it appears that DC is creating a position with the goal of handling the nuts and bolts of its revamped Creator Equity Program.

[FROM THE TIME WARNER JOBS SITE]

SUMMARY OF POSITION
DC Entertainment seeks a Research Analyst for the Business & Legal Affairs department. Researches, organizes, and maintains the master database for tracking first appearances of characters and characters created by talent. Provides additional appropriate metadata to keep the database current and accurate.  Inputs proper talent set up information into database for reprints and collections.
JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Research, compile and analyze Book Talent information before entering in the company wide database. Reviews Published Reprint books for variances from Book Talent information entered in database.

  • Works with the Manager on identifying and acquiring missing periodicals and books needed for collected editions or digital programs, or as needed to make DC Entertainment’s library more comprehensive.

  •  In conjunction with the Manager, organizes, inventories, and maintains DC Entertainment’s collection of ephemera, historical documents, newspaper clippings, poster, promotional and advertising materials, and broadsides.

  • Coordinates with the Manager to furnish high-quality color copies or scans of fragile/rare material as reference to Franchise Management, Creative Affairs, and other Burbank-based departments for use in pitching and marketing properties.

  • Researches and evaluates character history and confirms first appearances of characters (for use in chain of title issues, character equity, proper crediting, historical accuracy, etc).

  • Compiles lists of characters created by talent for use in creator recognition agreements and/or character equity payments.

  • Provides title set-up, talent credits, in-store dates, reading order, and other metadata as needed for the Master Data project.

  • Provides information to DCE Publicity for monthly “DC Entertainment Revealed” newsletter.

  • Performs other related duties, projects and responsibilities as assigned

The key elements of that listing to note are where it states that the position will be responsible for generating “lists of characters created by talent for use in creator recognition agreements and/or character equity payments.

With all the grief DC Comics has taken for its treatment of creative talent, the company deserves to be lauded for taking very real, tangible steps to correct the problem. It looks like, in the future, the company will have very clear references to use in determining how to pay creators for properties they created, something which should be seen as a very encouraging sign for the company, creator rights, and for the industry as a whole.

Josh Epstein

Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and resident of a real-world Smallville.

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  • mlb00000

    This is fine, good. However DC CANNOT CONTINUE to not appropriately acknowledge and credit the man who they owe more to than almost anyone – the real creator of Batman and his universe, Bill Finger. Nothing will be OK until they do that. There should be a statue of Bill in front of their office building for chrissakes. NOT ACCEPTABLE to not fix this.

    • They have finally started correcting this, much to their credit.