Will Marvel Disney Deal Destroy Commissions?

What effect will Disney’s ownership of Marvel characters have on the business of artists selling commissions of Marvel characters at conventions or over the web?

There has been a lot of speculation since the news broke this morning that the Walt Disney Company has purchased Marvel Entertainment, along with their library of over 5,000 characters. Some of this speculation has, of course, been negative, especially regarding the idea tha tDIsney would make Marvel more corporate, censoring certain materials and forcing their adult oriented comic books to become more kid friendly.

While Disney itself has denied that they will interfere in Marvel’s creative process, there is one area in which fans and even artists might have legitimate reason to be fearful: the world of convention sketches and artist commissions. For decades, comic book artists have been able to make a few extra dollars by providing fans with custom drawings of comic book characters at fan conventions or, more recently, over the internet. Comic bok conventions sometimes feature huge lines of people waiting for their chance to have a favorite artist draw a quick sketch of their favorite character for five or ten bucks.

However, some people are fearful that Disney will put an end to this practice, at least regarding Marvel characters. Artist John Byrne had the following to say on his website, Byrne Robotics :

There are immediate thoughts of bells that have already been rung,
and barn doors that were long since left open — but Disney has never
been known for being "reasonable" about these things. And the bottom
line here is, if Disney decided to shut down the commission market on
Marvel characters, there would be very little anybody could really do
about it. / certainly don’t have the deep pockets that would be needed
to fight Disney, and I don’t know anyone who does.

We shall see!

Some might call this paranoid, but Disney has been notoriously strict with their copyrights in the past, being known to go after even the smallest offender for using Disney characters without a license for profit. DIsney has been known to sue small embroidery or screen printing companies for selling t-shirts and sweatshirts with Mickey Mouse on them, and who forget the story from last year where Disney sued a couple of party clowns for dressing up as Tigger and Winnie the Pooh at children’s parties (we are not making this up – click the link).

We can all hope that Disney will respect the comic convention tradition and allow artists to continue to draw pictures of Ms. Marvel’s boobs for horny fanboys for a ten dollar price tag, but it is entirely within the realm of possibility that fanboys will join furries in the category of people who have been sued by the Walt Disney Company.
Syndicated from The Outhouse – Comic Community Run By Fanboys, For Fanboys
Posted originally: 2009-08-31 12:57:22

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