Announcement: The Big Giveback

If you haven’t read this older post, you won’t understand the significance of the title, but that shouldn’t impede your enjoyment of this post.

This is…what I’m about to reveal, announce, tell you, is quite possibly the biggest thing I’ve ever done, creatively. Seriously, bigger than doing Superman.

Let’s begin. Before I tell you what is going on, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to read this article. The article is a transcript of Mark Waid’s keynote speech at this year’s Harvey Awards, and it has gone mostly forgotten, by this point (December). Maybe not forgotten, but it’s not spoken about as much as it was when it happened. Trust me when I say that this document is as important as Robert Kirkman’s creator owned manifesto, so please take the time to read it. Go. Now.

Ok, are you back?

Here’s the thing that spoke to me: “…culture is more important than copyright.” Waid argues many points about many different topics, but this…these bolded words above, hit me in a very soft spot (I’ll readily admit that I might be missing the point of his speech). He’s right. The idea of public domain adds to comics. But there are very few characters (as compared to copyrighted/franchise/creator owned characters) that are in the public domain. That changes today.

Today, December 1, 2010, I’m adding 35.

Beginning today, YOU, the comic reading/comic creating public, can create comics or other similar works (film, prose, etc.) using the characters I created for the 30 Characters/30 Days Challenge. Using the Creative Commons license you see below and on the character designs, you can write, draw, compose a comic book, whatever, using one of…or more than one…of these characters.

A few caveats (because there’s always a catch):

1. As the license dictates, you must give me full credit (“Created by Vito Delsante”).

That’s it. You don’t even have to pay me. My characters are yours to play with, so play nice. You don’t even need my approval. Seeing as how six (seven, if you count Black Cobra #5, who was the Cobra Kid) are public domain characters, I really can’t keep them from you.

The question might come up…”Why do this?” Well, I mention the Waid article, but also, I realize that I might not get the chance to work on these characters any time soon, and that’s not fair to the characters. I think they deserve to be seen. Besides, Stan Lee can’t get all the IP* Farm work!

I hope you all agree that this is a big step in my career and that this is a…well, it’s probably not a great moment in comics, but it’s one of minor significance. If others follow suit, and I hope they do, this could change comics for the future.

So…get cracking!

Click here for Week 1.
Click here for Week 2.
Click here for Week 3.
Click here for Week 4.
Click here for the Extras.
here for all 35 characters in one fell swoop.

*intellectual property

Creative Commons License
Vito Delsante’s 30 Characters/30 Days by Vito Delsante is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
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26 thoughts on “Announcement: The Big Giveback

  1. Mark, to say that this is…well, stunning, is an understatement. I don’t want to get into a mutual admiration back slapping contest, but you’ve always been a hero to me, as much for your creative integrity as your creative output. So thank you.

    That said, I wasn’t at the Harveys, but reading your words really stuck with me. I may never get the opportunity to write anything ever again (that’s how life works…you take it by the hand and jump; sometimes you fall/sometimes you fly), but I wanted to somehow…help, or contribute positively. If this is the way to do it, then so be it. I love comics, and I would love to say that I’ll be creating them for the rest of my life, but who can really assure me of that. Better then to help comics live long after me.

  2. Great idea! I’ll be writing up entries for these characters for the Public Domain Superheroes wiki now. One potential hitch: I’m pretty sure the copyright for the Heromachine art is to its creator, though. The wording of the FAQ is kind of confusing in this area. I would get in touch with him about that.

    Some of these characters seem a little generic or half-formed, but I very much like a lot of them, especially the Black Cobra family. I’m not at all a fan of the original Black Cobra, who seemed rather generic to me, but I love what you’ve done with the concept. (The second one is my favorite–he’s very Howard Chaykin-y.) I ended up coming up with a further member–the Black Cobra of the 22nd century (who I hereby release as well):

    A hundred years in the future, massive political and economic upheaval has cleared the way for King Snakeroot’s organization COIL to take over the world. Daniel Nakamura was once a high-ranking lieutenant in COIL but turned against it when his own family were purged as suspected dissidents. Now he fights for freedom in the guise of the legendary figure who, it is said, once fought and defeated King Snakeroot, whose memory is harshly supressed but who is still spoken of in hushed whispers among all those who fear and resent the power of COIL… the Black Cobra.

    (Also, I wonder whether the Gorilla Ghost is the ghost of the gorilla whose body Jack Castle‘s brain was transplanted into.)

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