Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter; Neal Adams, Comic Book Artist Who Revitalized Batman and Fought for Creators’ Rights, Dies at 80
"Adams also worked tirelessly to promote better working conditions and, radically at the time, creators’ rights, especially for their work. He early on recognized the value of creators and was a thorn in the side of publishers, demanding compensation for himself and others when their characters were adapted off the page.
He, along with Stan Lee, formed the Academy of Comic Book Arts, hoping to start a union that would fight for benefits and ownership on behalf of writers and artists. Lee wanted an organization that was more akin to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the two parted ways.
In the late ’70s, when a new federal work-for-hire law was being enshrined, Marvel and then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter distributed contracts that stated freelancers could not assert copyright over their creations. As detailed in Reisman’s 2021 Lee biography, True Believer, Adams sent around a copy of the contract, scrawling on top, “Do Not Sign This Contract! You Will Be Signing Your Life Away!” While it caused a ruckus and awareness, the effort didn’t have its intended effect as Marvel flexed its muscle and threatened anyone who tried to unionize with a drying up of the freelance well."