My friend Plok has posted asking all comics bloggers (of which I am technically still one) to post asking their readership not to go and see The Avengers on its opening weekend, in protest at Marvel’s treatment of Jack Kirby and his heirs.
I admit that this is not the world’s biggest and most important problem – in a world where ATOS are finding terminally ill people fit for work, where a war with Iran may be started just to help a presidential re-election campaign, and where John Stamos will be joining the Beach Boys for their reunion performance at the Grammys, a little matter like the treatment of someone who’s been dead for nearly twenty years and was, by the end of his life, paid a fairly good wage for his work (if nothing compared to what his work earned for others) is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Likewise, a boycott of only the opening weekend isn’t all that scary, and I doubt I will persuade a single person to do it anyway (I wasn’t going to go and see it at opening weekend anyway, and quite possibly wasn’t going to see it at all).
But Marvel are, to this day, still screwing artists. Disney, their parent corporation, is built on an even more grotesque act of corporate appropriation of a creator’s work (Ub Iwerks, the creator of Mickey Mouse, got an even worse deal than Kirby did). And Jack Kirby *was* the primary creative force behind the Avengers.
It is impossible to live a truly moral life in this world. The computer I am typing this on was probably made by slave labour (though I try to ameliorate even things like that – I have never bought a new computer in my life, only taken ones that were otherwise destined to be thrown away). Every comic I buy from Marvel, or DC, or Rebellion, or lots of other companies, is built on corporate exploitation of artists and writers whose work I love. Merely by interacting with the society we have now, we all become so morally compromised that one has to hope there is no afterlife, or we would all be truly damned.
In a situation like that, a token gesture is sometimes all you can do – not because it will make the slightest bit of difference to the result, but because protesting against injustice is the right thing to do. And if nothing else, this one will make Plok feel a bit better.
So here’s my token gesture – asking you to make your token gesture too.