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Who Are The Creators?

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Funt Solo:
Creator, co-creator, developer or mere peon? Sometimes, it's difficult to tell who's who, or what each appellation even means. In the creative industry of comics, isn't everyone a creator? (Obviously, not the letterers.*)

Do we need new words? Originator? Conceptor! And just because you came up with the idea, you might not write the script. And you almost certainly don't own the property. You might come up with the idea, then write the first script - and someone else gets paid to write all the others, but somehow never gets the "creator" title even though they beavered away creating the majority of the actual character arc, dialogue, plotting and adventure. Or a significant portion of it.

Is Ken Niemand** (for example) one of the creators of Judge Dredd? A co-creator? A developer? An employee? Just a ... writer? It seems odd that you could take someone who understands the intricate world of Mega-City One so intimately and just dismiss them as some kind of easily replaceable cookie-cutter professional. Sure, we should honour the originators, but as they hang up their spurs don't we want other creators to have their chance at fame and fortune (within a small, tight-knit industry on the verge of collapse - ha ha - nervous laughter).

Which brings up that other question: should there be no more Judge Dredd if Wagner retires? I don't think anyone imagines that reality. No more Sherlock? Of course not: demonstrably. No more Slaine? Ah...

*I'm joking. Although they never do get listed as creators in the Nerve Centre sense of the word. Like the lighting technicians of the movie industry - it's not *their* vision. Except, without them...

**I chose him because, as he's not real, it's impossible to offend.

This was the same issue with Spiderman, which was thx to Stan's machinations behind the scenes. Or Bob Kane in that regard.

Depends how much writer/artist had his hands on the character or title. I remember Mike W. Barr saying how he reportedly developed Son of the Demon in great detail with Dick Giordano. But rightfully, we didn't get Giordano's name in the credit section. To me, Mills was someone who co-conceptualized Dredd with Wagner and at least initially was forefront of the stories. Cursed Earth, which is where Dredd became the star of 2000ad and practically the character we are all familiar with has been (mostly) written by Mills. Up 'til that point, everything was just an experimentation.

I agree that it's not entirely helpful to use "creator" interchangeably for two different things: both the creative team on a particular project and also for, I suppose, more accurately the originators of a specific character/story/setting.

When, to take your example, Ken Niemand and (say) Patrick Goddard collaborate on a Dredd story, they're clearly the creators of that specific story and, indeed, of any new character they might introduce. They don't retroactively get to be creators of Judge Dredd by adding to the existing mythos. That's just not how it works.

It's much the same as the modern version of Wolverine owing far more to the work of Claremont, Cockrum and Byrne than to the Wein/Trimpe guest star in Incredible Hulk #180,* but Wein and Trimpe are the character's creators. Likewise, Swamp Thing has more closely resembled the vision of Moore and Bissette than Wein and Wrightson for decades, but they don't get listed as creators.

(Interestingly, Jamie Delano gets a credit as co-creator of John Constantine for developing the character in Hellblazer, but that was specifically down to Moore asking DC to do that, since he felt Delano's contribution was as important his own.)

*Remember that we didn't even find out that Logan's claws weren't part of his costume until Claremont/Cockrum era X-Men.

Funt Solo:

--- Quote from: milstar on 06 September, 2021, 06:05:24 PM --- Cursed Earth, which is where Dredd became the star of 2000ad and practically the character we are all familiar with has been (mostly) written by Mills.

--- End quote ---

This is an outlying reading of the situation. You'll find that most consider Wagner's detailing of Mega-City One, and his characterization of Dredd as an anti-hero as being closest to the established milieu. Conversely, Mills writes Dredd usually as hero and savior.

In terms of world-building: most folk have avoided the rather silly floating rocks that were taken from Damnation Alley (and used as a reason not to fly to Mega-City Two). I'm not sure why Mike Carroll chose to resurrect them for Desperadlands, but each to their own.

Luna-1, with its inclusion of the Sov Judges, is far more significant in terms of world-building than The Cursed Earth.

The two main Dredd outings by Mills don’t have anything of what he claims to bring to the character. He’s pretty much a generic hero, a little stiff and stoic but not “fear and terror”.

He’s certainly a contributor to what Dredd became through his work in an editorial/managerial role on it, and if any 2000ad character could be  claimed to be a group effort* it’s certainly Dredd, but I’d always say Wagner and Ezquerra are the primary creators and deserve to be credited as such.

* a “house character”, as Mills has put it,  I guess.


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