Here's an interesting example of how the rights to a creator-owned comic property are shared...
I asked on the Invincible message board
I've noticed that most Invincible comics claim that Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker own the trademarks and copyrights to the Invincible stories and characters. But I seem to recall that the legal indicia in the Guarding the Globe books claimed that the characters in those books were co-owned by Ryan Ottley as well as Kirkman and Walker.
How exactly does this work? Does Ottley own the characters/stories he created/illustrated, or does Walker have in stake in those characters/stories as well?
"Capuga" replied by stating that...
Ryan twitted once that the comic is owned 40% Kirkman, 30% Walker, and 30% Ottley. But that that is not how the profits are necessarily split. My guess is that Kirkman gets his cut of every issue, Walker gets a % from sales of each issue he drew (so mostly from the first trade or hardcover at this point) plus a small royalty of the sales that have his characters in it, and Ottley gets the same as Walker but he'll have more issues drawn to get profit from. Of course, other then the 40/30/30 ownership that's all speculation.
Ryan Ottley explained that...
Capuga is close. It is a 40/30/30 ownership. That's how we split merch and options and such, the comics themselves are split 50/50 who ever is working on them. So for a hard cover that Robert and I worked on we split 50/50. If Cory has a 2 issue run in there then he gets a percentage of the HC for those issues he did. We don't get paid when others use each others characters. The created by at the beginning of each book pertains to the title, not every character in the book. SO if there was ever a battle beast mini it would only say created by Kirkman and Ottley. Or like Guarding the Globe, since I created some of those characters too, it has our 3 names. So it mainly has to do with titles. Yes I've created plenty FOR Invincible, but I didn't create Invincible himself, so my name is not there.
"Drawer" then asked
I was wondering if you can divulge how the colorist and letterer (and editor) get paid since you said it was 50/50. Do they get a flat rate rather than a percentage? (Don't mean to be nosy. Just curious as to handle it myself in the future.)
And Ryan replied
Yes, everyone else gets a page rate only.
So, there you go.