Tony Moore is a fantastic artist — really one of my favorite artists to debut in recent years. I still think his best work is ahead of him, but Fear Agent, which he did in collaboration with Rick Remender and Jerome Opena, is my favorite. Gotta love the line, the energy behind it, the vitality in the figures, the rubber-expressioned faces. And he’s from my home state of Kentucky! I think of him as a redneck Moebius. The Walking Dead is the most commercially successful thing Moore’s done to date.
Robert Kirkman is a very clever & inventive writer. Walking Dead. Invincible. The Amazing Wolf-Man. This past week’s Thief of Thieves. The first new partner to be added to Image Comics since they were founded in the 1990s. I personally haven’t seen a franchise-generating brain this fruitful in my lifetime (Stan Lee’s franchise powers had faded by the time I was conscious of them; George Lucas got lucky; Joss is a close second; I am a pathetic fanboy for having a ranking). The Walking Dead is the most commercially successful thing Kirkman’s done to date.
These two favorites of mine are fighting a very serious legal battle over the rights to, you guessed it, The Walking Dead, which Moore says they co-created and co-own, and Kirkman says — well, I’m not sure what Kirkman’s position vis a vis co-creation or co-ownership is, but his attorneys say that Moore is owed nothing.
There’s no easy knee-jerk reaction to this one from my perspective, which makes it particularly informative. Business arrangements between people (whether they are individual creators or creators & large companies) often go astray, and there’s always a “he said, she said” aspect to the narrative. Companies have so famously screwed over creators in the past that whenever we hear a creator complain, we always assume the company is at fault. But we don’t really know. It’s possible, as some executives have griped to me in private, that some creators take advantage of this assumption to blackmail the companies they work for. Not likely. But possible.
In this case, it’s not only two creators, but two creators who are champions of creator’s rights going at each other. Goes to show that everything is not always cut and dried, especially in business. Some fanboys will immediately side with Kirkman because he’s widely considered to be the more successful of the two. Some will side with Moore because he seems to be the underdog. None of us knows diddley-jack, until the case is decided.
I can’t wait to find out, though.