While “The Flash” has been a major hit for The CW, not everyone is reaping the benefits of its successful first season. Legendary comics writer Gerry Conway took to Tumblr on Tuesday to express his displeasure over the way DC Entertainment has handled the creator credit and financial participation of one of the show’s main characters, Caitlin Snow, played by Danielle Panabaker.
In DC’s current comics, Caitlin Snow is the latest incarnation of Killer Frost, introduced in the “Killer Frost” one-shot by Sterling Gates and Derlis Santacruz during DC’s September 2013 “Villains Month” event. The original Killer Frost, Crystal Frost, was created by Conway and Al Milgrom and first seen in 1978’s “Firestorm” #3. Yet as Conway described in his blog post, neither he & Milgrom nor Gates & Santacruz receive credit for creating Caitlin Snow, nor financial equity for her use on the popular show.
DC Entertainment declined comment on Conway’s post when reached by CBR News.
The issue, Conway said, stems from DC’s shifting attitude towards “derivative” characters, something he’s encountered before regarding Power Girl, another major character he co-created. Conway wrote that he was informed by DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson that he would no longer receive equity payments for Power Girl (beyond a final $1,000 check) due to the character being deemed a derivative of Superman. As such, Caitlin Snow is seen by DC as derivative of the original Killer Frost, and no creator receives credit or creator equity participation for the character, something Conway dubs “truly obnoxious and despicable.”
“DC Entertainment has created a marvelous catch-22 that allows them to cheat creators by using both sides of an argument to serve DC’s interests,” Conway wrote. “According to DC, Sterling Gates and Derlis Santacruz didn’t create Caitlin Snow. Don Newton and I didn’t create Jason Todd. Ric Estrada and I didn’t create Power Girl. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster didn’t create Superboy. Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino didn’t create Barry Allen.”
Things weren’t always like this, according to Conway, who praised DC’s policies towards creator credit and participation under the leadership of former president Paul Levitz. “As a comic book creator himself, Paul displayed a protective empathy for creators,” Conway wrote. “Once the creator equity concept became policy, Paul applied it liberally and proactively — often notifying writers and artists their creations were due to receive equity participation when creators would otherwise have no idea. For 30-plus years, under Paul, creators were valued and supported as equity partners.” Levitz left his executive role in 2009, the same year DC Comics became a subsidiary of DC Entertainment.
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