At the end of November, I wrote about how Warner Bros. is planning to reboot the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ franchise without any involvement from series creator Joss Whedon, the man whose singular voice informed every aspect of the character and the show. That still sounds to me like a spectacularly bad idea. As if that weren’t unjust enough, it looks like Whedon and the other writers behind the official ‘Buffy’ comic book also haven’t been paid a dime for the recently-released ‘Season 8’ motion comic.
This may not be breaking news, but I only recently stumbled upon it while doing some research for my impending review of the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Motion Comic‘, which was just released on Blu-ray a couple weeks ago. Back in July of last year, Bleeding Cool reported the following:
The writer’s strike in Hollywood a couple of years back was primarily driven by the studios and networks denial of royalty payments to writers when their work was refranchised through new media – so, for example, NBC could stream My Name Is Earl on their website and not shell out a penny to its creators.
Similarly, it seems that motion comics might offer a new frontier through which publishers can exploit the artists and writers who created the original, still comics and not have to pay them. What cost the TV and movie industries so dearly could now happen to comics – well, if motion comics don’t just go away.
A source close to the situation with Fox’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 motion comics tells me:
“Fox won’t pay any of the creators any royalties. Artists or writers. So, it’s a bit of bullshit that they are using and selling the content without any recompense to the talent that made it.”
If there have been any newer developments to this story that contradict the above, I wasn’t able to find any follow-up in my Google searching.
I did, however, find this article, which suggests that Whedon had some minimal amount of involvement with the creation of the motion comic.
Whedon’s involved, but not on an ‘in-the-studio’ kind of way. He will pop in at bench-marks and give the thumbs up to make the studio happen. Not as much involvement as any of us want, but its better than not any at all.
From that, it sounds like Whedon condoned the existence of this motion comic, but didn’t have much of anything to do with its creation.
I read the first handful of the ‘Season 8’ comics when they were published, and I’ve now watched the motion comic. From what I can tell, it’s nearly line-by-line, frame-by-frame identical to the source, with just some minimal animation and bad voice acting added. All of the original comic authors are given “Script” credits during each of the 19 “issues” that comprise the motion comic. I find it astounding that they wouldn’t be paid for the repurposing of their work.
For what it’s worth, I’m not terribly impressed with the motion comic. But then, I wasn’t terribly impressed with what I read of the comic book either. I think ‘Buffy’ ended in a good spot where it did on TV, and that should have just been the last of it.