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Does Marvel have a stealth digital-royalties plan?

by  in Comic News Comment

One of the most welcome aspects of yesterday’s big DC digital-comics announcement from a creator-rights perspective is that “creator incentive payments” are a part of it. In his interview with CBR’s Kiel Phegley, co-publisher Jim Lee compared the payments to the royalties creators receive for print sales, saying “the freelance community will be happy that they’re being compensated in every way their stories are being sold.” That aspect of the arrival of digital comics publishing has been shrouded in mystery up until now, so DC’s move is a big first step.

Or is it? On his Twitter account, Marvel talent scout C.B. Cebulski took issue with a letter apparently sent out to creators by DC touting the move:

Sorry, DC, but despite what your nice letter says, you are NOT “the first to announce a participation plan for talent” for digital comics. I’m not sniping at DC, just correcting misinformation that’s being sent out freelancers, some who work for both companies.

Putting aside for the moment whether Cebulski was sniping or not, Executive Editor Tom Brevoort took an even blunter approach, as is his wont, when discussing the move with several readers:

So today, DC invented the digital comic and payments for same. Interesting approach, taking a leadership position from the back of the line. I don’t like it when they get press for something that isn’t true. But good on them for entering the digital arena. Not sure what catch-all contract you mean, but yes, Marvel is paying digital incentives.

Meanwhile, Cebulski’s above tweets were subsequently retweeted or replied to by Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, Andy Diggle, and Skottie Young.

Add it all up and it clearly indicates that some sort of royalty plan is in place at Marvel. But as far as I can tell, aside from Brevoort’s explicit statement, the company hasn’t said word one about it in public, whatever it may be.

The CBR mothership is looking into the story — as soon as they know more, you’ll know more.