Marvel Studios Only Pays Comic Book Creators $5000 For Their Stories

Avengers: Endgame

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has long since established dominance over blockbuster cinema, and by the time Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home have been released by the end of 2021, the cumulative box office takings for the franchise will have comfortably sailed past $23 billion.

The shared superhero saga has now expanded onto television, with today’s premiere of Marvel’s What If…? marking the fourth streaming series to debut so far this year, and Hawkeye is still to come in November. Nothing can stop the MCU juggernaut, but the creators of the stories the movies and TV shows are being based on barely see a fraction of those mammoth earnings.

Winter Soldier creator Ed Brubaker recently admitted that seeing ads for The Falcon and the Winter Solider made him sick to his stomach, when he’d created one of the two title characters only to be left on the outside looking in as Sebastian Stan played Bucky Barnes for a decade in countless projects that brought in billions of dollars.

A new report claims that the company only pays the comic book creators and writer responsible for any characters or storylines adapted for live-action $5000 for their efforts, along with a ticket to the premiere. Marvel refused to comment on the matter based on privacy grounds, but it presents an interesting question nonetheless.

The comic book genre has been Hollywood’s most bankable form of filmmaking for over 20 years, but the creators of the source material have never found themselves in the public eye, even when their efforts have resulted in a slew of smash hit movies and a ton of cinematic icons. It’s not as if Marvel or Disney don’t have the cash to compensate them better, and it’ll be interesting to see if anything changes to a noticeable degree in the future.