Paolo Rivera Moves Onto New Projects After 10 Years Of Working Exclusively For Marvel
Good news and bad news for fans of Paolo Rivera‘s art on Daredevil. First up, the bad news: after ten years, Rivera has opted to end his exclusive contract with Marvel, leaving Daredevil and the company that he “can only describe as family.”
The good news? Rivera will continue working with Marvel while also pursuing his own projects, including clearing out a four-year backlog of commissions, possibly accepting work from other publishers, and “experimenting with distribution and funding” through creator-owned work.At his blog, Rivera explains his reasoning behind walking away from his exclusive contract:
So why am I leaving? The short answer: ownership. With the exception of just a few published pieces of art (which belong to other companies), Marvel owns the copyrights to my entire professional portfolio. And why shouldn’t they? I was, of course, compensated fairly for it, and for that I’m grateful – but the sum total of that work is not enough to support me in the distant future. My page rate is essentially the same as when I started at 21, so I’ve decided to invest in myself. What I create in the next decade needs to pay dividends when my vision gets blurry and my hands start to shake (and who knows what else). Now is the time to make that choice, while I’m still young, possess “great power,” but have few responsibilities.
And yet, I’m not done with Marvel by any means. They’ve been nothing but supportive throughout my decision, as has been the case throughout my career. I will continue to do covers for them and occasional projects as I see fit, just not exclusively.
So what am I going to do with my time? In the short term, I plan on clearing out my commissions list, which dates back to 2008. That will keep me busy while I plan more daunting endeavors. I’m not accepting new names at the moment, but I will in due time.
In the long term, I may scour my old emails. I’ve had to turn down some amazing opportunities in the past decade, so I may finally accept some non-Marvel work – it all depends on the creative team and the property.
Regardless of what new opportunities come my way, my main focus will be an ambitious, creator-owned project: an original story, sci-fi in nature, with primal themes and a compact cast of characters. It’s far too early to give any details, but it’s something that’s been trickling into my mind (mostly in the shower) for the last 5 years.
Rivera’s decision comes at a time when comics community is engaged in a massive discussion about the schism between corporate comics and their creator-owned counterparts. As amicable as Rivera’s split with Marvel is — if you can even call it a split when he fully intends to continue working with the company on a non-exclusive basis — it’s easy to see why the 31 year-old artist would want to break away and try his hand at doing his own thing after ten years in comics. And to be honest, it’s pretty exciting that an artist like Rivera sees turning to his own work as a viable career path.
Rivera is unquestionably one of the most talented artists on Marvel’s roster. He did my single favorite Spider-Man fight scene ever, a collaboration with Zeb Wells in Amazing Spider-Man #577 in which Spider-Man’s feet never touched the ground (but did disarm a gun-toting thug with their sticky spider-powers):
But as much as I love seeing his work on Spider-Man and Daredevil, it doesn’t really matter where Rivera’s working. If his next project brings that same level of dynamic, expressive art to the table — and there’s no reason to think it won’t, especially given the cryptic previews that have shown up on Rivera’s Twitter — it’ll be well worth checking out.
There is, however, one other implication to his departure from Marvel: Rivera is the reigning Marvel Hunk of the Month, having finally dethroned John Romita Jr. after a 22-year run in April of 2007:
With Rivera out of the picture, the crown and sash are once again up for grabs. Good luck, Marvel artists!