The legal drama between penciler Chris Wozniak and DC/Warner Bros. stemming from a claim the former made regarding the studio stealing a treatment of his rages on. Wozniak alleged they purloined a Batman story he pitched several times in the 1990s and sued the corporation when ideas he says he originated showed up in the latest movie directed by Matt Reeves.
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The Batman performed well at theaters and on HBO Max and Wozniak would make his case throughout 2022, providing emails, dates, and examples of parallels with the film and his story before filing suit. Warner soon turned around and countersued him for writing an unsolicited story. As things stand right now, he is seeking donations to help with his legal fees.
One of the most fascinating stories in entertainment to come out of the last year, it’s not generating the headlines many would expect. Some of Wozniak’s fellows in the industry are starting to speak up, though. Writer and DC veteran Chuck Dixon was finally asked about it on his Q&A YouTube show and he thinks there’s merit to the case.
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The well-versed Batman scribe explained what he knew about the background information that’s out there for the public, as detailed in short above. However, Dixon adds that the people at DC Wozniak handed his story to strung him along and “glad-handed” him which was fairly common. Editors would applaud work they see, says Dixon, and say they’d do something with it.
Wozniak’s story reimagined The Riddler as a serial killer and cult leader much like what is seen in The Batman. Despite the similarity, Dixon doesn’t believe Matt Reeves took the story for himself. Instead, he thinks Reeves was given the pitch by “someone connected to DC” as a collaborator. Dixon doesn’t use the person’s name but we can gather it’s Michael Uslan.
Uslan is an executive producer of Batman films, live-action and animated, dating back to Michael Keaton’s time in the cape. Wozniak has repeatedly stated and shown he emailed his treatment to Uslan around 2008 as something that would make a good movie. Uslan may have agreed and possibly held onto the pitch to sell as his own at some point.
According to Dixon, there is validity to that scenario as he has experience with Uslan sniffing around for ideas. He, or whoever the person was, allegedly called a meeting at one comic company where he encouraged writers to share their ideas for a TV show. Uslan, Dixon recalls, jotted down everything he was hearing on a notepad while Dixon stayed quiet.
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Wondering why Dixon wasn’t offering any ideas when he was full of them. He explained he normally gets paid for his time and work and there was no indication the company was involved in any TV production. There was no paperwork or guarantees and the meeting wasn’t being recorded. Convinced, it was a troll for ideas without credit, Dixon walked out.
“I have a history of this guy doing exactly what he did to Chris Wozniak and so I am on Team Chris…you should be too if you’re any kind of advocate for creator rights,” Dixon said. He adds Wozniak is only asking for what he’s owed when he could demand millions. Mainly Warner’s lawyers, however, who also drove Dixon crazy occasionally, stand against him.
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