A Suggestion If You’re Seeing The Avengers

May 2nd, 2012 by |

I was very careful when I wrote that thing for ComicsAlliance. I don’t really have any interest in calling for a boycott or guilt-tripping somebody into thinking like I do. I just wanted to fill a hole I felt needed filling, and explain why I made a decision I did. It’s food for thought, and you can do the dishes on your own, right? It’s your decision, just like it was mine, and we’re all adults here.

I do like this idea I saw on tumblr, courtesy of a guy named calamityjon. I have friends who are gonna see Avengers and The Dark Knight and friends who aren’t. I have friends who agree with me on creators’ rights who are gonna see both flicks. No big deal. That’s their decision. But I do like the idea of people giving to the Hero Initiative as… not penance, because it’s not a sin to like movies, but as a… a good deed, let’s say. “I want to do this thing, but I don’t like how it got here, so I’m going to do a little something to hopefully prevent that from happening again.” That’s fair, I think.

Anyway, read this, and if you feel led to do so, kick some cash toward protecting the people who made these dumb old comics.

The Avengers opens in theaters in the US on May 4th, and it’s going to do blockbuster business. The individual films featuring these characters have already ¬†grossed more than $2.2 billion dollars – that’s greater than the Gross National Product of almost half the countries on Earth – and it’s not unlikely that The Avengers will earn a hundred million dollars on its opening day alone.

This represents a pretty big payday to a lot of people – the actors, obviously, will take home pretty big paychecks. The director and the writers are well-compensated, and certainly the executives who greenlighted this project get to sit back and rake in large bonuses and healthy salaries.

Well, you know where this is going; shamefully, the people who aren’t making a big profit from these movies are the people (and the families of the people) who did the essential work of creating them in the first place. It’s not just Jack Kirby, either, or (Black Widow and Hawkeye co-creator) Don Heck, but also Steve Engelhart, Peter David, Herb Trimpe, Jim Steranko, Roy Thomas and dozens more – the artists and writers who refined and defined the characters appearing in this movie, who fleshed out the original creations and molded them into the figures we cheer for when we see them on the screen.

Some very sensible people are calling for a boycott of this film on those grounds, but I think it’s fairly obvious that a boycott of idealistic comic fans isn’t going to accomplish much – it’s not only comic book fans who’ll be dropping a collective billion dollars over the next eight weeks to see this movie, it’s going to be a lot of movie-goers who haven’t read a comic since they were kids, much less know anything of the controversy.

Plus, of course, you – the collective “you”, representing comic book fans all over the world –¬†want to see this movie. And you’re going to, most likely, right? Even though you know of the morally shady practices of Marvel towards its creators, they’ve got you hooked. Don’t be ashamed, they’ve had you hooked for years. It’s what they do.

So how about this: You’re probably going to go see The Avengers and, judging by the early reviews, you’ll probably enjoy it. How about – as a thank you to the creators who brought you these characters in the first place, who gave you something to enjoy so much – you match your ticket price as a donation to The Hero Initiative?¬†

THI is a charity which provides essential financial assistance to comic book professionals who have fallen on hard times; for decades, the comic industry provided no financial safety net to its employees, most of whom it regarded only as freelancers and journeymen, meaning they were offered no health insurance, no unemployment insurance, no retirement plans – none of the financial support most of us enjoy from our jobs and careers. A small donation will help this agency provide a valuable safety net in times of need to these beloved entertainers.

I don’t plan on seeing The Avengers, but I’ve donated $15 – the price of a 3-D ticket – to Hero. If every concerned comic fan – every superhero aficionado who learned to live by the lessons of altruism and sacrifice taught by these comics – donated the price of their ticket, well, it may not hit a billion dollars but it’ll bring in a lot of money for a good and relevant cause.

One last note: Remember what Spider-Man always says? “With great power comes great responsibility”. The lesson in that is that everyone has great power. Spider-Man’s great power is being able to lift a bus. Your great power is the ability to help good causes do good work for good reasons – so why not go be a superhero instead of just watching them on the screen…

(PS: “Liking” this post is nice, thank you, but reblogging/retweeting it helps get the message out and would be even more appreciated)

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18 comments to “A Suggestion If You’re Seeing The Avengers”

  1. 15 dollars for a 3d ticket? Dang. I just bought 2 regular tickets for 15 dollars. I’ll donate 15 dollars even though the wife could care less about creator’s rights.

  2. […] alleviate the guilt I will have when I see The Avengers, I will follow David Brother’s post and donate to The Hero […]

  3. Yeah, I’ll do this. Good idea.

  4. YES. i wasnt planning on supporting this, but uh, i also like having a wife that likes me and she is hell-bent on it seeing this. will be donating in equal

  5. David, I’m sorry about the Hawks. I’m sure they’re sorry, too.

  6. Gawker posted a response to a similar campaign for people who aren’t comfortable with Chick-Fil-A’s anti-gay stance. I’m not sure I totally agree with their assessment, but it’s an interesting look at it, at least: http://gawker.com/5902843/chicken-or-the-gays-make-a-choice-about-eating-chick+fil+a

  7. Peter David, eh? I feel like downloading all the copies of the film I find.

  8. @Jeremy: That makes three of us. There’s still Game 3, though. Hopefully Josh Smith’ll be back in time for it. Losing Smith, Horford, and Pachulia is… it’s absurd.

  9. Gonna see both movies in the drive in, so that makes it about $4.50 a film…I think I can donate $9 to help some talented comics folks get some work done:)

  10. I won’t see the films, but I will make a donation. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. This is a definite for me….and even though I dislike 3d..I think I’ll match 2 NY ticket prices to support the guys and gals that have given me so much enjoyment for the 36 years of my life….

  12. The movie did turn out to be amazing. Good call, suggesting donations, if not boycotts.

  13. Movie was AMAZING. You are missing out if you don’t see this movie.

  14. So is there a charity for the funds generated by the millions of people who have ridden THE HULK ride at Islands of Adventure theme parks?

  15. You all are gonna see this film – quit pretending.

    What about all the 40’s and 50’s artists and writers of DC? Let’s get a reality check. Sekowsky invented group shot artwork – no one knows who he is, nor will his family get a dime from anything DC.

    Next week we’ll be quitting something else.

    make a stand matter.

  16. @Coleman: How about you don’t call me a liar if you have no proof of that, instead?

  17. Not seeing it because there are no non-white superheroes is one thing.

    Not seeing it because Kirby worked for hire and cashed those paychecks knowingly… is another thing.

    But, I apologize. I’ll take your word that you will never watch this movie ever the rest of your life.

  18. @Coleman: Don’t be a passive-aggressive crybaby about me saying I don’t want to see something. It’s got zero impact on you. On top of that, as near as I can tell, if I decide not to do something? I don’t do it. It’s easy. I don’t even feel bad about not doing whatever it is I decided not to do. There are thousands, if not millions, of other things I could be doing, and have been doing, all these years I haven’t been watching Titanic or Roman Polanski movies or whatever.

    I’m not so obsessed with the Avengers that I’ve gotta see it. Joss Whedon is wack, for one thing, and I didn’t even read those comics as a kid. Not to mention the incredibly boring and plastic style of Marvel’s latest crop of movies have sported. Maybe Thor bucked the trend, but I don’t know because I didn’t see it and frankly I doubt it did.

    So yeah, honestly? I have no plans to see this movie. End of story. And you should look up what Marvel actually did to Kirby, because if you think it’s about just work for hire and cashing paychecks, you need to educate yourself before you speak on that subject in public.

    Your jab about non-white superheroes is suspect, but I’ll let it slide.