Think for a moment about your favorite cartoons you grew up watching and may still enjoy today. Do you know who created the show? Odds are unless it was Hanna Barbera you wouldn't know. The only shot at recognition is a 2 second created by " " in the credits. So perhaps If you have a very good memory and actually paid attention to the credits, it's possible you remember that John R. Dilworth was the creator behind Cartoon Networks "Courage the Cowardly Dog" or that Hugh Harman created "The Looney Tunes"
Frustrated with this reality of little creator recognition, Mike Judge decided on a new path. He began by adding his name in small black lettering at the bottom corner of his show's logo, Beavis and ButtHead. Then in 2005, in collaboration with MTV & Paramount, the Beavis and Butthead Mike Judge collection released as a DVD box set full of extras and cuts. This 4 volume set along with his many appearances on panels has solidified his name as the creator of Beavis and ButtHead. Once the DVD volume 1 became successful, anyone who was a fan of the show knew who created it.
This summer, Mike Judge will be reaching a new generation with this show along with a bold new approach to ensure everyone knows who the creator is. The title of the new series is " Mike Judge's Beavis and Butthead " and will air on Paramount + in August. But more importantly, it is essential that creators don't overlook what has happened here. Mike Judge, the creator of the show, got a contract with a publisher that allowed him to put his name in the title of the show. Now he's not the first creator to have ever done this. But it certainly is rare in the world of animation. Usually, if you create an animated show and pitch it to a network they buy the show and its characters from you. Then they hire you to create the show until the network cancels it. Your only recognition only ever coming from the credits in each episode. Now if a network reboots your show, they can do so without your involvement or anyone else from the original crew because they own your show.
In the case of Mike Judge, he was likely able to secure rights to his show. Which is why we've never seen MTV attempt a reboot without him making it. This triumph in Creator contracting has blazed a new trail in creator recognition. Now that the world has seen Mike Judge do it, it's known to be possible. There will be further efforts to recognize creators and many creators worth recognizing.