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The Sad Truth About How Much Money The MCU Pays Comic Creators

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the Olympian ideal of film franchises to which studios have just stopped trying to aspire. Try as they might, the DCEU, Sony's Spider-verse, and Universal's "Dark Universe" could never get the same traction as stories about Norse gods teaming up with Howard Hughes analogues and World War II propaganda poster models. Thanks to a backlog of thousands of colorful characters stretching back to the Great Depression, Marvel hooked a generation of moviegoers to create the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

All of which makes it more than a little bit startling to learn how Marvel Studios reportedly compensates the comic book creators upon whose work they base their blockbuster films. According to a report published by The Guardian this week, writers and artists who work on a project that's later adapted for use in the MCU can expect to make almost enough money to afford a mint condition copy of the comic that they wrote.

Marvel movies spare no expense -- besides maybe one

According to three corroborating sources who spoke with The Guardian, Marvel is currently offering a flat rate of $5,000 to comic book creators whose work is adapted into a movie. Additionally, writers and artists can generally expect an invitation to the film's premiere, which, you know, is something.

It's all thanks to the traditional work-for-hire contracts that creatives sign on to when going to work for Marvel or DC. They're paid a set amount, covering not just their work, but also the rights to it. Imagine a retail job where the store owned anything that you doodled when you were bored in exchange for an hourly rate. Now imagine that the store sold those doodles for a billion dollars two or three times a year.

The Guardian went on to note that, in response to questions on the matter, a spokesperson for Marvel stated that the company is "having ongoing conversations with writers and artists pertaining to both recent and past work."