How Marvel Acquired All Rights To Namor
In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out how Marvel acquired full publishing rights to Namor the Sub-Mariner
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and seventy-fourth episode where we take a look at three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions. Future FEW installments will all center on Namor, honoring the historic Marvel character making his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel manipulated its contract with Funnies Inc. to obtain all publishing rights from Namor.
seems to be true
Okay, I feel weird with some of these captions, because I pretty much just have to repeat the same information, but, well, the same information is important to the caption, you know? Okay, so let’s repeat a few things! At the start of the Golden Age, many new comic book companies were created through comic book packaging studios. A comic book packaging studio would write and draw an entire comic book for you. You owned the characters, but they wrote and drew them, and you just had to publish the comics and collect the money. Of course, you had to pay them in advance. Obviously, if you wanted to start your own comic book business quickly, hiring a comic book packaging studio was by far the easiest way to do it.
One of the most popular comic book packaging studios was Lloyd Jacquet’s Funnies, Inc., which he built through a number of freelancers for Centaur Publishing, one of the first comic book companies (and l “one of the few that existed before the comic book packaging system had taken hold. Obviously, National Comics, which is now DC, was the most famous comic book company that existed before the comic book packaging studios drawn).
HOW FUNNIES INC. HAS HE DEALED WITH COMIC COMPANIES?
Funnies Inc. was a bit of a different comic book packaging studio because Jacquet was actually interested in getting into publishing himself, he was just having more success selling his books to other companies, so that he was NOT having much success publishing books on his own. As stated in a number of recent captions,
Jacquet tried to make a free comic strip called Movie Funnies Weekly for cinemas…
It didn’t work, so they were FORCED to do the comic packaging, and IT worked fine, as obviously Marvel Comics #1 went very well.
Jacquet had some of the best designers in the comic book packaging business, like Bill Everett and Carl Burgos, but interestingly, Martin Goodman was also MUCH more involved than a typical customer. Goodman has personally endorsed each of the features. He didn’t have any creative input, but he had a say in what would be included and what wouldn’t, and he intentionally gave this first issue a nice balance of superhero characters and characters. non-superheroes (including Ka-Zar, one of Goodman’s pulp magazine characters, adapted into comics for the first issue). Therefore, Marvel Comics #1 is exceptionally stacked with top-notch features. Most anthologies of the time had a lot of filler material, while Marvel Comics #1 had very little and their leads were so good that, well, we still know Human Torch and Namor to this day, you know?
Funnies Inc.’s deal with the company was that its client would get official publishing rights to the characters in the comics, but Funnies Inc. would also retain an exclusive agreement to actually PRODUCE the work.
HOW DID TIMELY GET FULL RIGHTS TO NAMOR?
Very quickly, Martin Goodman didn’t like the idea of having to share his profits with an intermediary like Jacquet, so he very quickly considered to, in effect, “steal” the Jacquet guys from him. One of the first decisions he made was to hire a freelancer from Funnies Inc., Joe Simon, to become editor of Timely Comics. He then asked Simon to make deals with cheaper comic packers like Harry A. Chesler’s studio. He also asked Simon to contact some of the Funnies Inc. artists directly and hire them directly to create new features.
Everything was fine for the majority of the comics that Timely published, for the characters created by Funnies Inc. the company still had to deal with Funnies Inc. Again they had a pretty clear contract so there Goodman couldn’t do much -thing at the beginning. So he just kind of had to suck it up and deal with Jacquet on some of the Timely books. Sales were so strong that it wasn’t really a big deal. Famously, Goodman took Jacquet and the entire staff of Funnies Inc. to see Bambi in August 1942…
However, it was essentially the beginning of the end for Goodman and Jacquet. As the great comic book historian Will Murray pointed out in TwoMorrows’ Alter Ego #165, Goodman told Simon to make things difficult for Jacquet. Simon recalls: “Well, Goodman wanted me to make it as difficult as possible for Jacquet and his team. He wanted me to send the work back for correction as often as possible. Martin didn’t want to pay Jacquet to do what we could for a cheaper rate at Timely. Eventually, it caused more trouble than it was worth for Jacquet, and he sold his rights to the characters, and Martin took them over.
Everett also noted, “All I know is that I had a contract with Funnies, through Lloyd. Eventually Martin decided to publish on his own. As I understand it, he bought out all the contracts that Funnies had left, including mine.”
Jacquet maintained the workshop for a few years before going to bed, and he never forgave Goodman.
Thanks to Will Murray for the great information!
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PART THREE COMING SOON!
Check back soon for part 3 of the legends of this episode!