The final judgement has been handed down in the long running Gary Friedrich vs Marvel (Ghost Rider) case, and now we know the full amount that Friedrich owes Marvel.  That's right, Marvel, a company that stands to make millions of dollars from the upcoming Ghost Rider II movie, and is paying Nicholas Cage millions to portray a character that Friedrich created, now wants money from Friedrich - in specific $17,000.  And they'd like that $17,000 now, please.  In full.

This stipulation has been agreed upon and so ordered by the court, with the final judgement reflecting all that contained within.  This now means that Gary Friedrich has the right to appeal, and appeal he shall, but it also means that he now owes Marvel Comics, a multi-million dollar making machine, backed by the multi-billion dollar Disney company, $17,000 and cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising.  Well done Marvel!!  I do wonder though, how does the likes of Joe Quesada, who has also made millions from Marvel in recent times, take the court's judgement?  As Friedrich himself has stated, he is unemployed, has no real assets and is, for all intents and purposes, destitute.  $17,000 might be chump change for some, but for someone in Friedrich's situation it's a lot of cash.

Marvel should be ashamed.  Those in management there are probably congratulating themselves, having paid their legal team hundreds of thousands of dollars to pursue this claim, and are more than likely overjoyed that they not only won, but also eked out the last cash from Friedrich's pockets.  And for all of those who are intending to go and see the Ghost Rider movie - remember the fate of the man who made it possible, all those years ago.  I doubt he can afford a ticket, and Marvel won't be inviting him to the premier any time soon.  I think, instead of going to see the movie, I'll see if anyone is starting a fund to raise the $17,000 on Gary's behalf and will donate to that instead.  And if you have Quesada's ear, let him know what you think of this, and don't accept any weak excuses in return.

Here's the stipulation, because people are asking for it:

Here's the final judgement, clearly outlining the $17,000 that is now owed, to Marvel Comics, by the creator of Ghost Rider.

 I recived this email just this morning, taking offence at the posting of the legal documents.  At the moment I'm working through it all as the Chilling Effects databse is down, as usual, so I can't see who ordered the takedown.  Here's the notice.

If anyone is able to get into the database and can email me the details of the takedown, then please do.  Beats me.

Apparently someone called Lugi Novi took offence at the image of Gary himself.  I guess even Gary Friedrich doesn't own his own photos these days.  Oh well... all sorted.

Next time, try and email me directly before bringing in the heavy lads.



Norm Breyfogle said…
That's utterly deplorable.

This proves corporations are not only not people, they're also inhuman.
Mark Luebker said…
C'mon Marvel. You already beat the guy in court. What's this about anyway? "Take that, knave! Don't ever think of challenging your Lord and master again! And all you other knaves, let that be a lesson to you, as well!"

We all know you have the power to do this. But how about demonstrating a little responsibility in how you wield it?
I can't believe the balls that Marvel has to do this to Gary, he is such a nice guy (I met him in person at MonsterCon 2007 in Salisbury, NC).
I personally think that the new Ghost Rider movie should be boycotted to show Marvel that they are wrong for treating the creator of Ghost Rider like the dirt on the bottom of their shoes...makes me not want to buy any more books by Marvel - PEROID!!!
Rusty said…
Marvel gains $17,000 dollars, and Disney and Marvel LOSE much more than that in "good will" from the public. There will be Ghost Riders promotional displays that will cost Disney/Marvel more than $17,000. And that effort to make us care about the movie and the character will be in vain for MANY comics fans.
stephen said…
Vile. Just vile. I fell out of love with Marvel a long time ago, but this is just too much.

I wonder if the HERO Initiative might be able to help him out?
Darrin Bell said…
I was planning on seeing the film, getting the DVD of the first one beforehand, and picking up a copy of the book next time I went to the comic store. Now I'm not going to do any of the above. If they're going to screw the creator of Ghost Rider, I've lost all interest in the franchise.
rob! said…
This is disgusting.

We just created a page on FB to show support for Gary:
rob! said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Starman said…
I was already boycotting Marvel over One More Day. I had been pondering lifting the ban so that I could see The Avengers but no more. Marvel Comics will never get a dime of my money ever again and I will do everything in my power to encourage my fellow fans to abandon The House Of Ideas.
pwood said…
Man, even Marvel is becoming a Corporate Pig! I will be boycotting the new ghost rider flick
Rip Jagger said…
I will not see Ghost Rider II. I will urge my friends not to see Ghost Rider II.

"Spirit of Vengeance" indeed.

Rip Off
Swingin' Brett said…
In your article, you state that Mr. Friedrich can appeal, "and appeal he shall." There does not appear to be anything from which his company can appeal. This is a stipulation of the parties. Essentially, it's a settlement. Parties cannot appeal from a settlement and stipulated judgment. They can sue to enforce the agreements made in the stipulation, but part of a settlement is always the forfeiture of any right to appeal.
Daniel Best said…
Swingin' Brett, if you read this entry ( you'll find a letter from Gary's lawyers to the judge in which they indicate that they'd be filing an appeal. Now that the true costs are in, you're right, he may not file an appeal, but he has nothing to lose at the moment by filing one. He can't appeal the stipulation, but he can appeal the judgement and findings.

Attached to the Judgement was a notice of appeal, and one of the reasons why the suit has been settled up so rapidly was to enable Gary to file an appeal straight away. Hell, I'd be tempted to pay the costs to lodge the appeal myself, just out of general principal.
I'll never see another Marvel film, nor will I ever pay money for another Marvel product of any type.
gummo said…
Pedantic correction:
"all intents and purposes",
"all intensive purposes".

See also:
Mike D. said…
I think...because Marvel will never give in...they should drop the 17 and call it a wash....this needs to be discussed at a nice big table.
Gary should not have to pay squat and Marvel should just leave the man alone....they can rest on their laurels that loopholes and legalese has made it possible for them to cheap out on a GREAT WRITER AND GREAT CREATOR OF ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC characters ever.
Unknown said…
I would be interested in donating what I would normally spend on the Avengers movie (I wouldn't see a Nic Cage movie in theaters anyway) and what I spend on the Marvel comics I normally would buy... I'm seriously considering dropping those from my list over this. Sad as there's some pretty decent stories there.
CWHeit said…
Damn it! I was looking forward to seeing Avengers and new Ghost Rider (despite the wholesale slaughter of the character by Nic Coppola (he doesn't deserve his 'chosen' name)).

Sigh... Why does corporate greed have to kill my last link to childhood...
uncollared4 said…
Ill most likely pirate the movie, but I am deffinitely not going to pay marvel any money to go see it.
ElYurio said…
Thanks for shitting on my childhood, Marvel. If you start a fund for Gary, I'll donate money.
Tommy_Retro said…
This is why I stopped buying comic-books...too much drama.
And they wonder why readership is at an historic all-time low.
Its scandals like this that puts another nail in the coffin.

Just like they treated Jack Kirby back in the '80s - even refusing to return his artwork to him...

Just like how they sat back and let Dave Cockrum - the creator of theit top cash-cow the Uncanny X-Men - die a slow painful death without lifting a finger to help him.

Why in the world would they seek destroy the life of the creator of one of their top money-makers?

No wonder so many industry legends frown down upon them.

So much for going to see Ghost Rider in the theater... I'll get a bootleg off the street.
Timothy Aymar said…
People have leapt to defend these companies (and denigrate the heirs of Jack Kirby, or Siegel and Shuster, or Alan Moore) like lemmings. A shame that the pillars of the comic book industry were built upon exploitation of some great people, so that do nothing lawyers and talentless management make all the money for being two faced. Am I being too mean?

I could go on and on and on......... about the lawyerin' done to keep money and rights from people who worked hard at perfecting their trades out of love. "Work for hire?" What about fair credit and a few bucks thrown in gratitude to artists and writers for an unexpected motion picture boomtown industry? And years later the geniuses who did the hard part saw nothing but a pauper's wage, a pat on the back and a merry "on your way", and people who weren't even born when the work was done, or did nothing remotely creative that couldn't be done from a cellphone on a golf course, pat each other on their backs because they are skilled at pushing paper, and rake in millions.
Michael said…
Another nail in Marvel's coffin in my eyes. Very in line with Disney's corporate philosophy, sue sue sue, Trademark law doesn't matter, the creator of our content doesn't matter. I for one will not be going to see Ghost Rider in theaters, nor will I buy the blu-ray.
bob said…
"[Friedrich] cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising"

Maybe I'm missing this, but I don't see that in the documents. He explicitly can sell Marvel-produced Ghost Rider items with his signature, he just can't manufacture his own items to sell. I don't see anything about him not being able to claim to be the creator of the character, so long as he doesn't use the trademark. That might mean he has to be extra careful in advertising (if he offers to sell a Ghost Rider comic signed by the creator of Ghost Rider, can he show the cover of that comic which has the trademark?), but I think he can still claim to have created the character.
Daniel Best said…
Bob, if he gains from saying he's the creator, then he has to pay Marvel. He can sign officially licensed material, but only if he buys it, retail, from Marvel. Most creators have their own prints that they sell at conventions - how can Gary make any money on a print he's had to buy from Marvel, for retail? He can't.

If he offers to sell a signed comic, then Marvel can ask for a portion of that money, no matter how he advertises. He can sign anything, say what he wants, but he cannot make money doing it.

But Marvel can make money from Ghost Rider, and does.
køpper said…
Someone should start a Kickstarter campaign to try and raise money for Gary. Make the goal $17k. But it should be someone who knows him personally... just a thought. I'd donate!
Amadis said…
Maybe someone could start a kickstarter to help him raise the money?

Oh Kopper already said that...but really! I'd donate!
Daniel Best said…
Kopper: check this out -

And then this:
Rose said…
Dear Nicolas Cage, I have read that you are very dedicated to making Ghost Rider II a success, so much so that you have taken a hefty pay cut in order to get this film made. Unfortunately Marvel Enterprises has won a settlement of $17,000 from artist Gary Friedrich (I am sure you know Mr. Friedrich is one of the creators of the Ghost Rider character). Marvel winning a lawsuit against a financially destitute and unemployed senior citizen who helped create the iconic character that is the subject of the movie you care so deeply about has created a distinct antipathy toward your project.The negative effect Marvel's lawsuit has caused is perhaps far greater than you know. Facebook and Twitter are aflame with negative comments, petitions and people urging others not to see your film solely because of Marvel's treatment of Mr. Friedrich. You stand to lose millions because of the public relations disaster Marvel has caused. Mr. Cage I know how you can personally overcome this PR nightmare, save your movie and make yourself a true hero in the eyes of the comics and movie-going public. Do you want that and more positive publicity than you have ever had? All it would take for you to be a true hero to millions of people is $17,000. That's less than the price of a car. Give $17,000 to Mr. Friedrich so that he can pay Marvel. Save your movie by saving Mr. Friedrich. My best regards to you Mr. Cage. I hope to see you at the movies. Sincerely, Karalyn Johnson
Rose said…
utterly deplorable, on every damn level. I was already so incensed by how they treated jack and dave, and now this.

I, for one, wasn't planning on seeing the damn movie anyway, but I'd certainly send the money to Gary to help him out. I've also already signed the campaign.
Riplee said…
With great power comes great douchebaggery.
Rose said…
Friends, I have closed the petition. The petition was closed because Mr. Friedrich is appealing his case. I want to thank each and every one of the hundreds of people who signed, liked and shared and supported the petition. Gary is aware of everyone’s help and good wishes. I believe the entire industry sent a message concerning the treatment of creators and that message was heard throughout the industry. “Comics’ creators are our heroes. Please treat them as such.” Mr. Cage I look forward to seeing your film when it comes out. I wish you the greatest success. Again, I want to thank the hundreds upon hundreds of people who signed, liked, posted and in other ways supported Mr. Friedrich. I am personally looking forward to seeing how Marvel handles Mr. Friedrich’s appeal. My best wishes to all, Karalyn Johnson.
The Seditionist said…
First thing to keep in mind: Friedrich is destitute, he and his company are judgment proof.
Second, this isn't quite deplorable yet. If this is just the law firm being white shoe firm assholes, that's just S.O.P. That said, it would be nice if Marvel is aware of this, they put a stop to it.
Third, at this stage it isn't quite so much deplorable as bizarre. Where's the $17,000 come from? Marvel's damages, from what I understand -- from Friedrich's selling the "prints", not litigation costs -- would be approximately zero.
No what burns *my* ass and no one else's, apparently, is the judge's opinion granting summary judgment to Marvel was, well, a piece of garbage legally. Here entire reasoning was that whatever Friedrich had or didn't have was signed away by the 1978 agreement. Which is my problem. The way it works, to overly simplify, is this: Marvel gives something in exchange, "consideration". In this case, it was at the offer -- not even the promise -- of future assignments. My question, which the judge, as I recollect, chose not to address, is this: Was such an offer sufficient consideration to make the agreement binding?
While this crap is kind of deplorable, everyone's over-reacting. The big thing will be whether Friedrich appeals. And gets better representation because I'm not too sure about the present legal team. (I don't know that they're bad, I'm sort of reverse-engineering with limited knowledge of What Went On.)
At the end of the day, I think Friedrich's claim is actually relatively good. (Far better than the Kirby's estate's.)
Of course, if you want to talk moral as opposed to legal, it's a whole different thing....
Daniel Best said…
It's a reaction against Marvel demanding the $17,000. They didn't need to demand it, as far as I'm aware it's the first time Marvel have done such a thing. They knew, well in advance, that Gary was broke and not working as Gary's lawyers had sent a letter to the court, and marvel, asking for leniency they chose to ignore it.

The actual ruling leaves a lot of wriggle room for an appeal, but the $17,000 demand is just vile.
bob said…
"If he offers to sell a signed comic, then Marvel can ask for a portion of that money, no matter how he advertises. He can sign anything, say what he wants, but he cannot make money doing it."

I'm sorry, maybe I'm dense, but are you basing this on documents or statements in addition to those you've posted above? Because all I see is that he can't use the Ghost Rider trademark. Saying "I created Ghost Rider" does not use the trademark as I understand it, any more than me using the name in this comment uses the trademark. I suppose you could argue a convention advertising "Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich", or a sign on his table saying "Ghost Rider creator" would be using the trademark, but that's quite a stretch, and I don't think comic conventions usually have to get permission to use a character name in that capacity.

And I'm not sure how Marvel can ask for additional money if he sells a signed comic. The agreement allows him to sell his autograph affixed to a Marvel-produced Ghost Rider item. No mention of paying Marvel for that, and provided he legally obtained the item he's selling the first-sale doctrine means Marvel has no claim to that money.

To be clear, I think what Marvel is doing is lousy (and perfectly in keeping with their history), but unless there are other documents you're referring to I don't think your interpretation of how far-reaching their claims are is correct.

And Mickey Mouse say: Give me your money stupid consumers, one old indigent has no right to sell pictures of my characters registered, so the creators are living in poverty. I need many money to to continue prostituting teens with producers of programs in Disney Channel.
jhalton said…
Where is the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund during all of this? They always hang out at conventions, but isn't this the exact kind of thing they're supposed to help with?
S D Joe said…
Well, Gary died in August of 2018. It says here that

The case was ruled in Marvel’s favor in late December 2011, and upon appeal, the two sides settled in 2013.

What that means in actual folding money, we'll never know. RIP, Gary, and rest easy: the movies were terrible, and your best work in comics was SGT FURY in the first place.

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