Creators Push The Needle For Artists With #ArtCred

Credit: Declan Shalvey

For the past year, artist Declan Shalvey has been the taking a charge of giving artists their due in how they’re represented and seen in media headlines under the umbrella of '#ArtCred.' At C2E2 this year, Shalvey held a panel consisting of artists and writers such as Jordie Bellaire, Chip Zdarsky, Jason Latour, Kieron Gillen, Erica Henderson, and AV Club journalist Oliver Sava that talked about the importance of #ArtCred and what it means as a whole for the industry.

Credit: Lan Pitts

Shalvey started the panel off by giving recent examples of poor attribution/phrasing with “Matt Fraction’s” Hawkeye and “Robert Kirkman’s” Invincible in media headlines and articles, lacking any mention of artists David Aja, Annie Wu, Cory Walker, or Ryan Ottley. He pulled up various tweets by media and fans citing only the writer's’ involvement with each project and talked about how the #ArtCred was really started because he was “pissed for his friends."

When talking about having to tweet or send an email to comic and entertainment news sites, he mentioned how he became more “passionate” about this platform but ultimately he realized that it’s “not his f****** job” to make sure the proper names are all accounted for.

Credit: Declan Shalvey

Henderson, who illustrates Marvel's The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, spoke up about the New Warriors television series news and how she felt so interchangeable, especially since Squirrel Girl will be involved with the series.

Gillen then told an anecdote about how he was originally credited as “Gillen McKelvie” in articles for Phonogram, and some even credited “Gillen McKelvie Wilson” for The Wicked + The Divine.

Credit: Declan Shalvey

At one point, Bellaire stated how she believed letterers should be credited on covers as well as be mentioned more in reviews, arguing that they are an important component.

“We want to be credited together,” she said.

This panel came just a few days after the announcement of DC's "artist-driven" line, "Dark Matter." Shalvey talked about how that’s an interesting counter measure for Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso who recently had the comment that artists “don’t move the needle” on books and associated them with low sales figures.

“It strikes me as a little bit opportunistic,” he said.

Credit: DC Comics

The subject also came about removing credits all together. Zdarsky said that’s what he and Sex Criminals co-creator Matt Fraction did later on because it was “incredibly difficult” to really call who did what when it came to fleshing out characters and story beats as well as the creation of that world at large.

Latour joked about him being mistaken for Southern Bastards co-creator Jason Aaron frequently.

“Jason and I have become so synonymous, I get tweeted at for Thor.”

Segueing into about reviews, it is brought how, in some cases, the artist or art is never mentioned, and the plot is the sole focus. Sava spoke from his experiences, saying that in many cases the reviewer doesn’t have a proper grasp of what the art says and the technique behind it. There’s a “repetition,” he notices when describing certain artists, and advises critics to “read up” on artists that they are unfamiliar with to be able to discuss the art adequately.

Credit: Declan Shalvey

Latour then mentioned how “sometimes there’s a value” when the proper parties involved are credited accordingly.

“If you treat your entertainment as so easily digestible, you vote with your wallet that it should be treated as such.”

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