Thanks to various intellectual property laws, notably copyright, any mythic figure created after approximately 1920 has a unique custodian. That’s an incredibly powerful position, and it’s responsible for the positions of most of the nobility of storytelling today. In the film world and the comics world, in particular, there are sharp deliniations between the studios — the myth-holders, the nobles — and everyone else.
The former can make far more money than the latter. Why? Because of their hold on our myths. The public hungers to see tales of their mythic heroes, as they have throughout history. It’s an incredibly powerful draw, and possibly the only thing sustaining the top-heavy world of moviemaking as it is today.
But the result is that storytellers can’t access most of their mythworld. We reach for our mythic figures, but we can’t touch them; at least, not without risking legal battles that we’ll almost certainly lose. And we definitely, definitely can’t do what storytellers have been doing for the rest of humanity’s existence, which is tell tales of our myths for money.
–Hugh Hancock on modern mythkeeping.
Hancock is talking about the popularity of the Cthulhu mythos being linked to the fact it’s one of the most modern “accessible” mythologies (i.e. it’s not locked down by copyright in the way, say, the MCU is).
Obviously, as someone who comes from fanfic, I have… complex feelings on this issue. Because, yeah, modern mythology is commercially inaccessible, but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. It just changes who can profit from it and, more importantly, why they profit (hint: from the unpaid labor and creative work of, largely, female fans).