Marvel Had to Give a Great Sci-Fi writer Every Comic They Printed After Stolen His Story

After a Marvel writer used a Harlan Ellison story for an Incredible Hulk story, the publisher agreed to give the author a lifetime subscription to all of his comics.

by Michelle Martin | published

In 1983, Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter agreed to give science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison a lifetime subscription, with the company publishing every comic book over the phone as part of a hastily put together deal. Why did the company agree to this? According to Shooter, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlow—along with Cloak & Dagger—swiped the Ellison-written script for it. outer limits when he wrote incredible Hulk #286.

Marvel Harlan Ellison
From “Soldier” – 1964 outer limits Episode written by Harlan Ellison and adapted from his 1957 short story “Soldier from Tomorrow”

In 1957, Alison’s short story “Soldier from Tomorrow” was published in the science fiction magazine fantastic universe And seven years later he wrote a screenplay for “Soldier” – an episode of 1964 outer limits Which was based on a short story. Both stories featured soldiers of dystopian, over-militarized futures who are lagging behind in the present day. The story has since been the subject of several high-profile allegations, and Marvel really wasn’t the only target Harlan Ellison went through when it came to story.

Especially Harlan Ellison took the Terminator Alleging in court that the film was apparently based on him outer limits The episode which – like in the James Cameron film – featured two enemy soldiers from the future who travel to the present. The studio settled out of court with Alison and added an acknowledgment to the writer in the film, but when it came time for the writer to lock horns with Marvel, his case was much more clear.

soldier outer limits
“soldier” outer limits
marvel harlan ellison hulk
From incredible Hulk #286, Marvel Comics 1983

one year ago the Terminator Hit Theatre, incredible Hulk #286 came out, by Sal Buscema and Kim DeMulder, with art by Bill Mantlow. As written by Brian Cronin CBR, the parallels between the Marvel story and Harlan Ellison’s “Soldier” were clear. According to the shooter, Mantlow may also have sent Alison a letter saying he was swiping the story.

The protagonists of Future’s “Soldier” and “Hero” both have similar characters, their dialogue has the same colour, monosyllabic feel, and it’s also blasted by an energy weapon—such as outer limits Episode – which sends the future soldier back in time. Really the only significant difference between the two stories is the appearance of the Hulk and to a lesser extent Kang. While the villain himself is not in the story, the violent order being transmitted to all dark future soldiers is revealed to have been transmitted from a statue modeled after the image of Kang the Conqueror.

In 2011, Jim Shooter posted a story gymshooter.com in which he claimed that Bill Mantlow allegedly had several acts of plagiarism under his belt incredible Hulk #286 is an example. The then Marvel editor-in-chief, Shooter, wrote that he had seen and signed off on the Hulk story, but had not. outer limits Based on the episode. It was Marvel writer and editor Roger Stern, said Shooter, who called him after the issue came to the stands and said “Are you crazy?! This is a Harlan Ellison story!”

During the call with Stern, Shooter said, that his secretary at Marvel told him that Harlan Ellison was second in line. The science fiction author had a reputation for litigation, which could very well be why the shooter confessed to Swipe Up Front. Instead of taking the comic book company to court, Ellison said he would let the case rest for the same amount Bill Mantlow was paid for the offending issue, “an acknowledgment, plus a lifetime subscription to everything.” [Marvel Comics] ever published. ,

“Harlan’s damages, by law, would have been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and he had us dead to rights,” wrote the shooter, explaining that he expressed gratitude and relief in giving in to Alison’s comparatively humble demands. Why did you feel nothing. Surprised when CBR’s Cronin wrote about the incident, we don’t know whether this settlement survived Marvel’s bankruptcy.

as slate Recalled in 2021, Marvel Comics filed for bankruptcy in 1996, and it is possible that their settlement with Harlan Ellison was scrapped during the proceedings. Regardless, there are more than a few fans out there who would give their left hand to every single Marvel comic published between 1983 and 1996.

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