In any other medium besides comics, the person who has and reasonably develops the original idea is the creator. Usually the writer. Ask 1,000 people who created Star Wars. George Lucas, not the army of designers, artists, even re-writers who participated. Ask 1,000 people who created Jurassic Park. Michael Crichton, not the designers and filmmakers who developed the visuals, or even David Koepp who wrote the shooting script for the film. In comics, however, even a work-for-hire artist following a design made by the writer, a description given by the writer or instructions from the editor is given co-credit as creator. Does anyone else think this is unusual?
Note, everyone, that I’m not offering a position, here, I’m just asking questions.
Back to my original point: ask 1,000 people who created Star Wars. George Lucas. Does anyone anywhere rise up, rail against that assertion and insist that the designer of the look of Darth Vader should be given co-creator credit?
How about the myriad people who have contributed additions to the Star Wars property since its beginnings? Anyone up in arms over their not getting credit as co-creators?
Only in the comic book biz does that sort of thing happen, whether it’s right, wrong or indifferent. In other visual media, the person who comes up with the idea and reasonably develops it — usually, but not always the writer — is the creator. The people who come up with the visuals are support troops. Usually.
Sometimes the writer is also the artist. Will Eisner. True collaborations are true collaborations. Siegel and Shuster. Artists sometimes do create things on their own, of course, and sometimes the writers are the support troops.
What constitutes enough of an idea and reasonable development of same is debatable, I suppose. Not so much in other media, mind you, where the idea itself is often enough to warrant creator credit, even if others do the development and create visuals. Only in comic books does some filagree added by an artist raise the question.
In most scenarios, I’m in 100% agreement with what Jim is saying. I feel that Stan had such a laid back approach to producing his early 60’s creations that he did open the door to the artists getting a valid co-creator status. Stan encouraged the artists to fill in the gaps that define the characters.
I feel that society puts too much emphasis on creator status. No one really creates anything. The elements in a writer’s mind were put there by the culture before them. They essentially just line up the building blocks based upon what they’ve experienced. Daredevil was already a character’s name in the Golden Age. The Human Torch was already a flying human-like entity. Some of the building blocks aren’t as obvious, but everything is inspired by something that came before in one shape or another.
Before I got into manufacturing and working with engineers, I thought brilliant guys sat down and just invented brilliant inventions. I’ve now learned that brilliant inventions are more often than not just tweaks and redesigns of previous inventions. The technology powering a mining truck is just tweaked technology that was powering a locomotive. It’s scaled down to power the hybrid cars, trucks, and vans coming out in the next decade. Someone will be attributed with creating something, but a large portion of what they invent was already invented by someone else. They just tweaked it and people envision it as something original and new.