A good article on the current Ms. Mystic situation at Comic Book Resources – one of the longest running comics news sites – first home of Rich Johnston’s steamy news and rumor column, Lying in the Gutters.
Last night, artist Michael Netzer in a lengthy Facebook post accused Neal Adams of stealing a character Netzer claims to have created and taking credit for his work. Netzer, also known professionally as Michael Nasser, alleges that he co-created Ms. Mystic, a character Adams developed for Pacific Comics and later published under his Continuity Comics imprint, but that Adams has erased his role in the character’s origin and used his artwork without credit for the first issue.
Adams has denied all 36 of Netzer’s allegations.
According to Netzer, he and Adams had created Ms. Mystic for DC Comics in 1977, though plans for the character there ultimately fell through. Netzer later “took a break from comics,” during which time Adams was invited to create a series for Pacific Comics, under the stipulation that this was all Adams’ own work, “not a studio effort or collaboration.”
“Considering that my presence in comics was becoming scarcer — you, one of the more influential artists in comics history, lauded for championing creator’s rights, decided to do something that rubs the grain of everything you stand for,” Netzer said. “You decided to wrench away from me the character I had created, and to claim it as your own.”
Though Netzer admits Adams later invited him to work at Continuity Comics, he alleges that Adams “spared no opportunity to misrepresent me and my work on the character.”
“You talk about me as someone who became crazy while working on the project you created. You have so effectively warped time in order to cover up your tracks, it seems to make sense to most people who could hardly remember, or know, that my creation of, and work on Ms. Mystic, our collaboration, was finished months before I had any thoughts of stepping away from comics.”
Netzer goes on to list several more alleged incidents of abuse, along with his own efforts to reclaim Ms. Mystic.
Adams, in a rebuttal released through Bleeding Cool, begins by encouraging people to listen to both sides of a story, adding, “people lie when they get upset.”
“When I was asked by Pacific Comics for an original creator-owned series, my first choice of those several characters was Ms. Mystic,” Adams said. “Since I always try to advance the work of other younger creators, I asked the young Mike Nasser if he’d like to join me in this project? He said yes.” Adams also stated, “Mike created nothing!”
According to Adams, he never offered Ms. Mystic to DC, further claiming Netzer attempted to sell the character to the publisher, and was actually paid for his work.
“Mike was acting very strange at this time,” Adams said, behavior he would allude to through his response.
Adams also alleges Netzer tried to copy Ms. Mystic as a character called Starchilde, who bore a bit too close of a resemblance to the original.
“Mike has betrayed me time after time, as he has others and lied to get into my studio in many ways. He and I have had some few good times and many bad times,” Adams said. “He has oppressed my family (5 adult kids, now) along the way and no matter how he may cry at my door, and he has. I will never let him NEAR me and mine!”
After being alerted to Adams’ response on Facebook, Netzer said, “You might ask Neal why he’s making life so easy for me with that response.”