Marvel Create Your Own: Which Characters Are Free and Which Cost to Make Comics Marvel Will Own?

From Bleeding Cool:

Last year, Marvel announced a new initiative, TapTapComics, to create comics using Marvel characters. But the devil was in the details. Any comics created grant Marvel “the perpetual, irrevocable, exclusive, royalty-free and fully transferable and sub-licensable right, for the full term of copyright protection available (including renewal terms), to use, reproduce, transmit, communicate to the public, print, publish, publicly display, publicly perform, exhibit, distribute, redistribute, license, sub-license, copy, index, comment upon, modify, adapt, translate, create derivative works based upon, make available, and otherwise exploit, in whole or in part, in all languages, anywhere in the world, by all means, methods, processes, and media formats and channels now known or hereafter devised, in any number of copies and without limit as to time, manner or frequency of use, without further notice to you, with or without attribution, and without the requirement of permission from or payment to you or any other person or entity.”

Link to the rest at Bleeding Cool and thanks to Dave for the tip.


And here’s a link to a copy of Marvel’s 23-page-long Terms of Use.

Needless to say, PG doesn’t recommend giving Marvel a license to your creations without receiving payment for the digital comics you create unless you really don’t care about them and won’t feel sad if Marvel makes a lot of money from them and you don’t get anything.

That said, PG wonders if Marvel will have any problems demonstrating to the United States and other copyright offices that it has actually been granted the rights it claims by the creator of the comic under its click-to-accept contract, particularly if there is a pre-existing copyright filing that conflicts with the one Marvel is claiming. He suspects a sufficiently-motivated creator could, with the assistance of some others, work around Marvel’s TOU. Without going into detail, PG will observe that, on occasion, creating a very long and complex TOU opens gates and paths that can be used to defeat the intention of the organization for which the TOU was drafted.

6 thoughts on “Marvel Create Your Own: Which Characters Are Free and Which Cost to Make Comics Marvel Will Own?”

    • Is it only a matter of seeing them in a comic or a need to tell their story?

      You have options, ranging from indie pub-ing a pure prose version (there is a decent boom ongoing in superhero fantasies in ebook form) to publishing an illustrated novel or even a graphic novel in partnership with an artist.

      Indie comics have a long and distinguished history outside the bounds of tradpub and that was in the print-only days. Once the internet matured, webcomics bloomed. If anything, Marvel is coming way late to the party.

  1. I make my money in other ways. The opportunity to make a comic with Spidey in it would be amazing. If they published it, I’d make money off of having done it. Also, it would be a ton of fun.

  2. This is probably more along the lines of Marvel doing a broad CYA, in case a future storyline happens to resemble one of the millions of possible stories fanfic writers could come up with on its platform. Kindle Worlds has a pretty similar policy that basically grants the rights to characters you create and your storylines to the original creator of the franchise.

  3. A while back, I worked with a guy who had been an artist for one of the big comic book companies. During awful business meetings that dragged on forever, he would draw cartoons of the babbling buzzword droppers. He was good, really good. I began looking forward to those meetings.

    This thing looks like something people could play with to make customized adventures with real people for a limited audience. I see a bright future for the adventures of Commander HR, Captain Ditwa…

Comments are closed.