ITEM! Everyone likes to give your Uncle Stanley a hard time because of creator credit issues that at the time (1960s) and place (my uncle-in-law’s company) were never-ever considered abnormal by any of the parties involved - including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. By the standard practices of later decades, Jolly Jack and Sturdy Steve, as well as many others, should have been credited as co-plotters, co-creators, and even co-cashers of the royalty checks on characters that they authored along with Yours Truly. And Kirby and Ditko in particular should be credited with taking some of the earliest steps in raising these issues and making possible eventual changes in the system that comic creators enjoy to this day.
So it’s with certain sense of sardonic sarcasm I note that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Variety reporter Anne Thompson does a bang-up job of chronicling the history of how Edifyin' Edward Norton got shafted out of his screenwriter credit on The Incredible Hulk movie. It’s worth a read, pilgrims. It seems that Hollywood is still struggling with some of the same issues that plagued comics over 40 years ago. Zak Penn wrote the original script with plot, structure and characters... Eddy Norton contributed a lot of dialog, huge chunks of which (somewhere between 20-50 minutes worth) were edited out of the final cut of the movie. So who did the Writers’ Guild award sole screenplay credit to? Yup, you guessed it: Zak Penn. See the Variety story here.
I’m sure glad Yours Truly didn’t have to submit the first 102 issues of the Fantastic Four to the Screen Writers Guild. By their rationale, my name might have been eliminated from the credit boxes entirely!