|Savage-Vark Head-Sketch (2012)|
Art by Dave Sim
(from The Creators Bill Of Rights, August 2005)
The Creators' Bill of Rights was always a puzzle to me. It seems as relevant to me as eight random human beings hanging out at a street corner getting together and making rules for mankind. It’s not as though anybody put them in charge of anything or have any reason to acknowledge or adhere to their rules. Those who drafted and signed it, talk about the Creators' Bill of Rights as though it’s a document of some historic import, I'll grant you, but outside of those who signed it -- I’ve never had it brought up or even mentioned in passing to me by anybody in the industry. And really, I’m not sure why anybody should mention it. To call it a Creators Bill of Rights is a bit of a misnomer. It ISN'T a Creators Bill of Rights -- it's the conditions under which these eight (or however many it was) individuals are willing to do business. Anything more is presumptuous at best and arrogant at worst. What makes these individuals feel as though it's their place to speak for the rest of us? It may be a good thing to keep in mind or be aware of when a creative person is negotiating a contract with a publishing company but I think its impact in the industry is, frankly, minimal at best. Heck, I've never read the darned thing. Like I said -- it hasn't come up. Which isn't to say that the people involved aren't all good guys -- I just think that this isn’t really something that can be hammered out by eight random human beings hanging out at a street corner -- it's something that is to be decided in negotiation between a creator and a publisher. At the end of the day, the Creators' Bill of Rights real value may come from simply spelling things out in a form people can understand and utilize in their negotiations with a potential client. I think it's a little naïve to expect everybody in the industry to salute it like they would a flag and hang on its every word.
Erik Larsen is the writer/artist of Savage Dragon and was one of the founders of Image Comics.