Comic Legends: Does Marvel Pay Chris Claremont to Not Write for Marvel?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventy-fourth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As always, there will be three different posts for each legend this week!

NOTE: I noticed that the the CSBG Twitter page was nearing 10,000 followers. If we hit 10,050 followers on the the CSBG Twitter page then I'll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week that we hit 10,050. So three more legends! Sounds like a great deal, right?

In honor of the release of my new book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, on April 15th, every legend until that point will be about the X-Men!


Marvel Comics pays Chris Claremont to not write comic books for them.


Misleading Enough for a False, but the Basic Information is True

This is a question that I get a lot, and my awesome CBR editors, Stephen Gerding and Kevin Melrose, recently suggested that we write something about it because it is a question that seems to confuse people a lot. The question is, "Does Marvel seriously pay Chris Claremont to NOT write comic books for them?"

The answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Chris Claremont, quite simply, is the most important creator in X-Men history. From the moment that he took over scripting duties on the X-Men's ongoing series with their return to their own series in X-Men #94...

He has become synomyous with the X-Men, having worked on them for the next SIXTEEN years!

From X-Men #100...

To X-Men #200...

To the X-Men receiving their SECOND series in 1991, Claremont's final year working on the book as part of his initial run).

Then, in 2000, Marvel brought him back to the series with the 100th issue of the spin-off series...

He then had the tertiary X-Men series, X-Treme X-Men, for a few years and then he returned for one last run on Uncanny X-Men From #444-474.

That, though, was the last time that Chris Claremont has been the regular writer on the X-Men (he did write a Nightcrawler series a few years back).

That is not, however, the last time that Chris Claremont has worked for Marvel. You see, Claremont has an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics. They pay him a retainer so that he is exclusive with them. That means that Claremont cannot write for any other comic book company in the United States. That doesn't, however, mean that Marvel is required to give him any work.

Claremont discussed the topic with Hugh Sheridan in a great interview at Bleeding Cool a while back...

HS: Are you still working for Marvel? Are you still employed by them?

CC: Yes

HS: Do you have any projects coming out?

CC: No. That’s – again, that’s a question for Axel [Marvel's then Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso - BC]. I am at their convenience.

HS: Are there Marvel characters that you would like to do something with?

CC: I have written every character they have got, one way or another. So I mean I’ve done pretty much all I was interested in doing. It’s a mutually agreeable relationship I suspect.

So yes, Claremont is paid whether he writes for Marvel or not, and obviously it is substantial enough for it to be worth it to him to stick with this contract.

However, the way that this gets framed often is that Marvel is specifically paying Claremont to NOT write for them. That suggests a different, odder, contract, where they specifically don't want him writing for them and will pay for him for that right. That does not appear to be the case. The issue it seems is more that they don't want Claremont writing for OTHER companies.

As Claremont notes in the aforementioned interview, "I’m contractually not allowed to work in comics in the United States other than for Marvel."

What it really is that that Marvel finds some benefit to keeping Claremont from working for their competitors.

Claremont actually IS going to have an X-Men story in the upcoming X-Men Wedding Special.

So yes, he certainly has an interesting deal with Marvel, but it isn't that they are paying him NOT to write for them, they're just paying him whether he does or not.

Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

Was There a Scene Featuring Slimer Cut From the End of Ghostbusters II?

Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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