VENOM, SCOTT LANG, CARNAGE, TASKMASTER 'Co-Creator' Says Take Out the 'Co'

Credit: Todd McFarlane (Marvel Comics)
Credit: John Byrne (Marvel Comics)

David Michelinie has weighed in others being credited alongside him for the creation of certain characters at Marvel, and claims a administrative rule at the time from inside the House of Ideas may have produced some inaccuracies. Specifically, the characters and creator credits for Venom, Scott Lang, Carnage, and Taskmaster.

Credit: Mark Bagley (Marvel Comics)

"Feel free to add 'co-creator' to my credits as much as you like. But the bottom line is that I alone originated those characters," Michelinie wrote on Facebook. "I was the first to think of them, I brought them into this world, and if I had never been born those characters would not exist. And there's not a fact, opinion or argument that can change that."

Michelinie explained that when Marvel instituted reavenue-sharing programs for comic professionals who created new characters, the 'creator' credit was simply given to the first writer and first artist to draw that character in published work.

"Marvel's initial policy declared that, for them, the first person to write a new character and the first person to draw that character were technically and legally the creators of the character, regardless of who had come up with it or when the character was actually first published," Michelinie explained.

Credit: George Pérez

"For example: I came up with a new character in a Marvel series I was writing, and introduced that character in a one-page teaser plugged into an ongoing storyline. The regular penciller - for whom I had and have nothing but tremendous respect and admiration - drew that issue. In the teaser, the character appears in only one panel, seen from behind in black silhouette with no details. The artist moved on after that issue, but because of that single panel silhouette he is considered by Marvel to be co-creator of that character, and has been paid accordingly."

Michelinie specifically notes times he collaborated with others to co-create characters - such as with Bob Layton on Iron Man and Walter Simonson on Star Wars - but that in other cases he conceived of the character wholy on his own, "with no input from anyone else on the planet."

"Characters that I put into plots, along with their names, backgrounds, motivations, personalities and frequently visual descriptions and even bits of speech patterns. Those plots were sent to editors who, after approval, then sent them along to other individuals in the creative chain."

According to Marvel, Michelinie co-created Venom with Todd McFarlane, Scott Lang with John Byrne, Carnage with Erik Larsen and Mark Bagley, and Taskmaster with George Pérez.

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