Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige On Jack Kirby And Bill Mantlo Film Credits
Most Marvel hardcores know the name Kevin Feige, but if you need the super-short bio here it is: Producer of every Marvel-based movie since X-Men. President of Marvel Studios. Big deal.
Comic book movies are the hottest trend in Hollywood, pumping unprecedented profits into the companies that supply characters for the next big summer blockbuster. But not all profits are shared equally. With this new world of global pop culture success, super-hero publishers Marvel and DC Comics are being re-evaluated for their business practices with respect to dealing with comic book creators. Decades of work-for-hire contracts, written in varying language, for an industry that never planned for this kind of fortune, have created a situation where many older writers and artists are now fighting for their share of a pie worth billions in ticket sales, DVDs, Blu-rays, action figures, video games and more. By being the head of the biggest comic book movie factory, Feige has an interesting perspective on the situation.
During an interview with ComicsAlliance sister site Moviefone, Feige touched on a variety of subjects, and was asked for his thoughts on the issue of creative royalties for movie adaptations of comic books. After Moviefone cited the specific cases of Jack Kirby on The Avengers and Bill Mantlo’s Rocket Raccoon in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Feige explained where he stands on the matter.Moviefone: When The Avengers came out there was a vocal fanbase of Avengers co-creator Jack Kirby that thought his role in this big pop culture event was being underplayed in the press materials and marketing. And with Guardians of the Galaxy coming up, there’s already hype around those characters — especially Rocket Raccoon, who is a really unique character that his fan base is excited to see on the big screen. Unfortunately Rocket’s creator, Bill Mantlo, needs full time care from a hit-and-run accident and he’s struggling to receive health benefits. Personally speaking, what kinds of safeguards and policies do you want to be in place for Marvel to protect the comic creators who are in their older years now, but whose work is entertaining millions of people around the world?
Kevin Feige: Well, it’s a complex question, but I will say that [Marvel Chief Creative Officer] Joe Quesada and [Marvel Comics Publisher] Dan Buckley will take the lead on a lot of that and they are actually quite, quite good in acknowledging and letting us know as we share the scripts and character lists with them [by saying]: “Here are the creators of this. Here is where they are. Here is who they are,” and figuring out what we can do in terms of recognition. If you look at the special credits sections of all the Marvel Studios movies, you’ll see lots and lots of names, probably half a dozen or so, that apply to even the small characters, much smaller than Rocket, that are included in the movie. In terms of Kirby, I always thought of the Thor movie as one of the biggest testaments to what Kirby did because at every turn with the production design, we wanted to embrace it. The helmet design, those horns on Loki. “Do you really want those to be that big?” “It’s gotta be that big.” I love that stuff, it’s tremendous.
For more thoughts from Feige, including what kind of risks the studio will take with their billion dollar Avengers windfall, check out the full interview on Moviefone.