Constantine co-creator Stephen Bissette writes an open letter to DC. It's not very nice.

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Mar 4, 2014, 6:52 PM EST (Updated)

Not everybody is happy about Constantine coming to television. 

The Big Two, Marvel and DC, aren't exactly known for their great respect for comic creators. We, the nerdy public, get to enjoy all the many adaptations of familiar comic-book faces, but their original creators don't typically fare very well.

And while the money may pour in, that does not mean there are zero consequences to using the characters someone else came up with without so much as acknowledging them. Such is the case with the upcoming Constantine TV show. While most of the folks behind the snarkiest magic user in DC's stable don't make a ton of noise on the Internet, artist Stephen Bissette has no problem speaking his mind. Often.

The case of Constantine is no different. Bissette took to his Facebook page to share a conundrum he was facing as a result of the new show based on his co-creation. In an open letter to DC, Bissette gets some questions off his chest.

Dear DC Comics:

How are you this morning? Nice to hear.

Look, I’m the ONLY original Constantine co-creator active online.

And with CONSTANTINE getting so much attention lately, and me being the only original co-creator online, I’m getting a lot of requests for this and that—interviews. Podcasts. Etc.


So, in your corporate mind, what should I do?

Every time you ramp up the Constantine or Swamp Thing whatever, someone at DC apparently resents anything I might say—or so I’m occasionally told—but I have no idea what’s going on from your end.

I mean, if you want me “in the loop,” or to shut the hell up, or to behave, or to misbehave, or whatever-it-is-you-want, you really DO know how to reach me.

Well, anyhoot, I sincerely hope all is well with you, congrats on the spiffy new TV show upcoming, everyone really seems so excited about it, and since all I see out here is all everyone else sees out here, and it begs so many obvious questions, which people then ask me, directly, I just thought you should know what a conundrum all this is.

And it gets to be more of a quandary daily now.

PS: I appreciate you have “bigger fish to fry.” I mean, your NY offices are fighting winter, while you CA offices are in a major draught. It must be hell.

Thanks and take care—stay warm, or have a bottle of water (Hydrate! Hydrate!), and nice per usual to hear from you…


“Steve” aka Stephen Bissette

Gosh, Steve. You've done such a fine job of veiling your frustration! How could we ever work out how you really feel?

This is an ugly situation, but one DC is under no moral or legal obligation to resolve. Bissette, along with the rest of the Constan-team, wasn't writing for himself -- he was writing for DC, and DC is pretty good about legally retaining the rights for every idea the freelancers come up with. And we live in a time where most people accept that, no matter how morally bankrupt it may or may not be.

Would it be nice if Bissette were given an answer, input into the forthcoming TV adaptation, and maybe a little money? Sure ... but we wouldn't advise holding your breath.

(via Bleeding Cool)