Saturday, July 10, 2010

Who owns Sonic?

Above: Cover to SONIC SUPER SPECIAL #7.

I once inked a SONIC X issue for Archie Comics. Issue #34, in fact. That was kinda fun.

But, here’s something that might not be so much fun for some people…

Apparently, Ken Penders is claiming ownership of stories and characters that he penciled and wrote while working on SONIC THE HEDGEHOG. As he tells it, Penders never signed a work-made-for-hire contact with Archie Comics.

From Ken Penders:

That means anyone seeking to use my characters, concepts and stories that were published in the pages of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, various SONIC 48-page specials, various issues of SONIC SUPER SPECIALS, the PRINCESS SALLY mini-series, the SONIC’S FRIENDLY NEMESIS KNUCKLES mini-series, KNUCKLES THE DARK LEGION and the KNUCKLES THE ECHIDNA series, must first contact me for permission and to make arrangements for the use of this material.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all turns out in regards to Creator’s Rights in the comics industry.

Thanks go out to Rich Johnston and Bleeding Cool for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

Check out "Comics and Work-Made-for-Hire: Creator’s Rights" for additional information on work-made-for-hire.

For more information regarding comic book Creator’s Rights, stop by Ya Can’t Erase Ink and the Creator’s Rights forum.

Above: Artwork from SONIC X #34 by (penciler) David Hutchison and (inker) myself.

Update: Robot 6 is reporting feedback from Archie Comics’ Managing Editor, Mike Pellerito:

We have been in contact with our legal team and the claims by Ken Penders are completely false. We will be responding through proper legal channels.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article AL,
This one is very interesting for the fact that he signed no work for hire contract. I find that amazing that Archie would have foregone that detail. I believe if he created new characters within the Sonic comic then they are indeed his. Please keep me informed as to how this plays out if you hear anything. Peace.

July 16, 2010 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger AlNickerson said...

Thanks, Stephen!

Yeah… the no work-made-for-hire contract thing does seem odd. Usually, Archie Comics wants everyone to sign something. I haven’t seen any response from Archie Comics.

July 16, 2010 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger AlNickerson said...

I added an update concerning Archie Comics’ response. Not too surprising, of course. We’ll see if this matter makes it to the courts.

July 18, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

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