“The Walking Dead” actor and Marvel artist shines light on writers’ and actors’ strike, say AI takes away from creativity

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 10:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The writers and actors strike is still underway, with no resolution for either on the table just yet.

Day 2 of Tucson Comic Con opened to large audiences looking to celebrate their favorite heroes and villains. But lots of folks are excited to see some of the special guests making an appearance, who are actively fighting for better contracts for film and television actors.

The writer’s strike has reached its fourth month, with many movie and television writers on the picket lines every day fighting for better pay.

But how does it impact comic book creators?

Joe Jusko, an artist here at Comic Con, says while there is no direct impact, there is a growing discussion around originality and the importance of being genuine.

He still does all of his pieces entirely by hand.

“I’m a traditional painter and I really like the tactile feel of painting something,” said Jusko.

“I like feeling the brush on the board and I like having a physical piece of art when it’s over, because it seems like I actually accomplished something. I don’t think I will ever switch over to digital as a medium for myself.”

“I can use it to clean stuff up after I scan things, for print and reproduction, but as far as painting stuff, I like painting.”

One small concern, however, is AI.

Jusko says that comic artists are pretty secure in their field, but due to AI often being a cheaper option, beginner comic writers may choose that route over an actual artist. However, AI can’t think like humans can.

“It’s also based on what we’ve already done. There’s nothing really original about it, so if we want to branch off and try something new, AI isn’t there yet because we haven’t done it yet,” Jusko said. “So AI can build on what we’ve already done, but it doesn’t think as the way we’re going to go next.”

For actors, AI is a much bigger concern.

Part of why actors are striking are for protection from AI, with hopes that it doesn’t replace characters or extras completely due to its lower cost.

One actor you may recognize from shows like The Walking Dead, Chandler Riggs, also says the advancement of AI poses a risk to creativity and originality.

He says only real people can make a role into their own or transform it into something new and unexpected.

“It’s always important to have your own stamp on your craft. How you approach one role should be how you alone approach your role,” said Riggs.

“In the acting class that I’m in, every week I’m always blown away by how different we all make the same character, but it’s always so different how everyone approaches it,” he said. “That’s why there’s always recasts of roles or reboots and things are possible.”

Another priority for the actor’s strike is pay.

With streaming services now taking over regular cable television, things like residuals have not been updated to ensure that actors are paid fairly.

Riggs notes that while streaming can let people enjoy movies and shows well after production is over, pay methods and compensation for actors need to reflect the changes the entertainment industry has been seeing for years.

“That is one of the kickers with streaming, is that it extends longevity, but if someone binges all of ‘The Walking Dead’ 20 times, the actors don’t see anything from that, but if AMC were to air the show 20 times, then we would get residuals from it,” he said.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re on strike, is trying to find some good middle ground there.”

Riggs is hopeful that an agreement will be made soon.

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