Posts tagged Heidi MacDonald

Help Gary Friedrich

The War Imposed Upon Us

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Recent Battle Skirmishes

I’m a little behind on putting together some thoughts on recent industry discussion on Jack Kirby, and the situation with Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich. The latter has prompted a few changes on this site that have taken some time to put together.  Before we get into all that, here’s a little recap of recent events.

Jack Kirby

A fresh round of community angst seems to have started with creator James Strum calling to boycott Marvel over their mishandling of the Jack Kirby legacy, following in the footsteps of the Steven Bissette call for a similar boycott last summer. We’ve posted about it here and here on this site. Talk about the Kirby legacy saturates the comics web community. As happened with the Bissette controversy, discussions in fandom forums on the Strum boycott quickly degenerated into arguments over the effectiveness of such a measure and whether Jack Kirby even created the characters that comics history gives him credit for. It’s an interesting and all too familiar phenomenon that turns fandom forums into a battleground between publisher supporters and those of creators. A revelry of aggression, confusion, disinformation, distortion and conflict that has nearly paralyzed such calls to action and halted what could have been a more effective display from comics fandom in support of such campaigns.

Gary Friedrich

Then news broke of the judgement on the Gary Friedrich litigation against Marvel for the character Ghost Rider. Daniel Best has posted some reports which can be seen here, that have spread across the comics net and also to some mainstream media. The litigation started around the same time as the release of the first Ghost Rider film Marvel licensed in 2007, starring Nicholas Cage. It ends now on the eve of release of the second film, which looks very much to be a box-office success and one of the popular film events for 2012.

The familiar battleground fodder in the Kirby campaigns managed to overpower debate in this case also, at least if measured by talk at Bleeding Cool forums and The Beat comments, which together seem reliable enough as a compass for the general mood in fandom on these issues. In a counter-suit against Friedrich, Marvel had also won a judgement for payment of $17,000 from Gary in compensation for his profits from selling Ghost Rider covers, posters, art and paraphernalia for the last couple of decades since not having any income from writing comic books.

Part of the discussion is about Marvel’s counter-suit and victory against Friedrich, which is feared to have ramifications and become a serious challenge to creators who even sell sketches of copyrighted characters through their web sites or at conventions – even though it’s been assumed, by unspoken waiver, to be a legitimate means of raising supplemental income for artists. Heidi MacDonald elaborates in this post, which also explains why there’s a considerable amount of back-stage talk that Marvel had no choice given how Gary conducted the case. Marvel seems to be saying this will have no ramifications on other artists. Ty Templeton seems to tow the company line with an “ouch” critique of Friedrich’s case in this cartoon. Steven Bissette disagrees with Ty and the judgement against Friedrich in this Facebook Note.

Tom Spurgeon raises the ante in this reverberation, which is worth reading between the lines…and words.

Community Solidarity to help Gary

Steven Niles, bless his soul, rose to action with a PayPal donation account to help Gary, who has been ill, financially devastated from the trial costs, and is apparently in danger of losing the home he and his family own. The call has been picked up and supported in much larger numbers than what the general mood in fandom hinted at. Neal Adams posted a statement to the comics community urging everyone to pitch in and help give Gary a little financial breathing space. Just to remember that Gary Friedrich is the primary co-creator of a character starring in one of this season’s expected blockbuster superhero movies. The film opened this weekend and looks to be a pretty good production at this stage, on its way to a healthy profit margin.

The campaign to raise funds for Gary Friedrich, given the verdict and judgement against him, seems paramount for the writer’s well-being and that of his family.  Anyone who can donate original art or other items for auction is urged to contact Neal Adams. Paypal donations at Steven Niles site. Please consider helping out.

With that behind us, let’s all sit up for a moment and get a little uncomfortable.

The Lies We Live With

We, the community of fans, journalists and creators, concerned about this and similar issues, have inadvertently become paralyzed by our own reluctance to use tools available to us in order to help improve the conditions we all operate under in the comics industry. We are playing by the rules of the enemy, namely DC and Marvel, who, like most other profit driven corporate entities, have taken advantage of a runaway, renegade and mostly hostile-to-the-common-people world economy, and have brought the comics industry to a state of near demise in order to maximize profits outside of comics publishing, utilizing the properties they get from creators, which they control.

We will remain at near paralysis until we are able to break the unspoken taboo that assumes us beholden to DC and Marvel as industry leaders and foundation stones, whom we are reluctant to confront effectively, on the deeper issues that affect the medium and everyone contributing to it.

The Big Lies

If there was any doubt that DC and Marvel are intentionally keeping the comics publishing business on a death bed for everyone else as well, last summer’s New 52 reboot from DC seems to dispel any remaining confusion. The reboot was preceded with the self-serving trumpet sounds of DC putting comic books back on the map. They said this re-writing the DC Universe would open the market for new readers. They promised to utilize mainstream media, television and cinema advertising to make it popular for everyone to be seen with comic books again. They said it was the dawn of a new day for the comics.

Six months into the hoax and the DC bubble seems to have burst with as little fanfare as being able to claim a slightly larger market share than Marvel for the initial months of the reboot. No new reader base and no serious publicity campaign for the comic books. To make things worse, the hoax was accompanied by a digital sales initiative that’s diverted attention away from the plight of printed comics books and has been followed suit by most every other publisher, cementing a feeling that the printed books are now on notice of termination. That entire hoopla last summer, all that noise and public relations pretension, has effectively died out without improving, not in the very least, nor promising to improve, anything in the business of comics publishing for the common good of the market.

Like everything else DC and Marvel do, they do it for a public relations buzz which only helps their other-than-comics merchandise. That’s all they need to do, really.

The Bigger Lies

DC and Marvel don’t need nor want the business of publishing comics to grow and flourish. Because if it did, then there would be many more Siegel/Shuster/Kirby/Friedrich cases dragging them to spend exorbitant funds to defend their absolute control of the properties and absolute corporate greed. They rather prefer to spend immense resources on lawyers battling creators instead of just being a little more fair with the artists and writers who’ve been the content backbone of the companies, without whom there would be no comics industry.

A perpetually dying medium, especially one that continues to produce raw material for exploitation in other arenas, is the best way to keep getting the raw material at the lowest possible cost. No one will ask for more from a publishing industry hanging by a thread.

Armed with this grim reality, DC and Marvel, owned and managed by the most powerful media conglomerates in the world, can posture themselves as doing “what they need to do” by virtually raping the destitute creators who helped build their expansive property base. And they do it with a brazen enough face that we, the comics community, are left to bicker among ourselves as to the merits of one particular circumstance, while ignoring the larger dilemma that publishers are driving the industry into, effectively paralyzing any action that could put a little more pressure on them to do the right thing for the collective good of the comics industry.

The War Imposed Upon Us

In our near paralysis to help improve the general state of affairs, comics industry activists are not entirely impotent, as evident in the overwhelming grass-roots support to help disadvantaged creators when a need rises. We live with the situation because we are basically at war, even though we are reluctant to acknowledge it. We are at war not only against DC and Marvel, but the entire world population is at war with an economy whose heads have altogether shed any semblance of collective responsibility. We are at war against a prevailing attitude that the strong among humanity have no collective responsibility for the general welfare. At war with the notion that the strong hold the upper legal prerogative to rape and plunder every good portion of this world that their hands can reach.

We are at war but we are not yet training to be soldiers. We’ve settled for being as paramedics who tend to our wounded – but we have few soldiers on the front lines. These few who are fighting the good fight are operating in a near vacuum without the needed full support of populist systems such as the voice of fandom and the comics press behind them…who all tend to agree that something’s wrong and needs to change. But we are not yet fighting the war that’s been waged upon us, which we need to do in order to help bring a change.

Training Ground

I’ve long held that the way we live our lives is itself the training ground for the wars imposed upon us in our journey through this world. I also understand the notion that taking a defensive measure in offence to wars imposed upon us, by itself defines us as warriors also. I’m alright with that, though I understand that a lot of voices in the periphery disagree with the need for such a definition.

Within this outlook on life, I’ve been somewhat of a gypsy soldier in training myself, moving around the comics web community where I’ve been able to try to add something to the talk that stimulates towards seeing the larger picture we’re contending with. The Web Activism section at my Wikipedia biography highlights some of these activities that have been covered in the comics press.

As such that the entire world is our training ground, I’ve not concentrated much on a focal discussion forum for these activities at this site. A previous attempt to start something like that here was apparently too early and suffered a natural fadeout. It may still be too early or entirely unsustainable for such an environment here. But like I hinted at the head of the article, it seems that an imperative move is needed at this juncture. And so, even in suffering a potential fail, I’ve started somewhat of a discussion forum training ground for myself and anyone interested in participating.

Announcing FUSION Fourms

FUSION Forums is a registration-free think tank, at this stage.

Its goal is to take a step beyond discussion, into the realm of web activism on behalf of the common people within the comics industry and beyond.

Its hope is to establish a sort of task force of activists who will slowly saturate the comics web community with the need to take a stand and apply a little more public pressure on the “strong forces” who are waging the war against us.

It may take some time to come together, or it may not do so altogether.

But we will at least have tried to fight back.

If you see the war coming, join us and help prepare yourself and others.

Sam Argo's Moving Pictures

Sam Agro Takes the Lead!

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Sam Agro, the thoughtful and talented Canadian artist/writer who posted a series on the state of the comics that was covered here previously, has just posted an in-depth interview on the campaign to save the comics. Sam’s enthusiasm and thorough approach has made it an inspiration to get to know this caliber of people fighting for the comics and moving picture arts. This is a newly informative and greatly helpful push to the campaign. Pass the word around as much as you can.

It’s posted at two blogs he writes to simultaneously. Readers can choose the one most comfortable to the eye.

Links through Fighting Words and Moving Pictures… or images below.


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Creator Revolution 1st Semester Grades

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It seems the creator revolution, as dubbed by Heidi MacDonald, is taking a mid-semester break.

It is expected actually because how many really engaging ideas can Indie creators come up with for dodging comics shops and DC/Marvel’s dominance of publishing? Adding to this venue is the stifling notion that most news sites don’t seem interested in the subject as they load their web pages with more and more fluffy and fun news about the colorful projects and creators making headlines.

But I’m of the mind that we have to take ourselves more seriously sometimes, like a lot of us did in school – and that everything doesn’t only have to be fun and fluffy.  In school we had to take things seriously if we wanted good grades.  And I don’t think it’s serious to talk about a creator revolution when we’re in denial about what we’re revolting against.

By default, a revolution means an overthrow of an undesirable regime. So, patting ourselves on the back as if we’re conducting a revolution when we’re acting more like scaredy teenagers seems silly at best. We have to get our hands dirty to start rebuilding our fallen house of comics.

This is my virtual class on the creator revolution, and for lack of anyone else stepping up, I’m going to be the teacher who grades everyone.  Until I see an initiative better than the petition cited at the head of this page, everyone’s grades will be relative to their position on it. No offense really intended to any of the students. If you want a better grade, study the situation with a little more depth to understand why we need to promote and sign the petition. Or you can make your own virtual class and grade it as you like.

Here we go with the class report card.

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Eric Powell: (A+) – Well done Eric for getting the ball rolling with your poignant and hilarious video. The serious message that followed the first… ahem, act… is one of the more inspiring observations the class has seen. Unfortunate that your fellow students couldn’t bear your message and compelled you to remove the video. But it did its job in opening the dialogue and for that you are commended.

Steven Niles: (C+) – That you are an extremely talented writer may not be enough for a good grade in the class of the creator revolution. Your well received article in response to Eric’s video fed the fears of your fellow students and discouraged their courage.  What do you mean by “First off, this is in no way an anti-Marvel or anti-DC thing. Those are great publishers to work for if you can find the work.”?? This is a revolution class! Not for smoochy goochy with DC and Marvel. Let’s do some more homework, sir.

Kurt Busiek: (C+) – You’re also an amazingly talented writer with a lot of credits in comics, but the revolution needs more than good comic books right now. It needs the courage to stare into the eyes of the undesirable way the business is being strangled, dominated and neglected by DC and Marvel who seek greener pastures outside of comics.  Your challenging the teacher’s comments as if to say that the big 2 are working in good faith for the good of the industry, is an extreme case of denial – not the river in Egypt.  It is not the best way to get a good grade in the revolution against an oppressive regime holding down the comics.  A little more consideration of human nature, my good fellow, could help improve the grade in the next semester.

Mike Dubisch: (A+) – You’re a brilliant artist and creator with a heart of gold and courage of a tiger, who drew me into the class with a call to hear me out, after challenging Steven for his kid gloves treatment of DC and Marvel. The revolution needs you Mike, right up there in the top ranks of leadership.

Tom Spurgeon: (A+) – You’re a light to your fellow class members. The clever way you fed the fire of revolt is nothing less than brilliant.  But the articulate speech you delivered to explain what we’re up against will become a lesson for generations to come.

Rik Offenberger: (A+) – You were not only a trailblazer for the comics on the internet, but are now also trailblazing the way for the creators with your excellent interview. With it, you’ve paved the way for the dialogue that needs to now be nurtured amongst the creators, reporters and fandom.

Heidi MacDonald: (B-) – You know I think you’re one of the more promising students, and you are the one who led the charge in spreading the word about the revolution.  But because you take sides in the debate and effectively influence discussion on it, you’ll get a less than excellent grade right now. Chin-up though, a word or two about the petition, which is a viable and reportable story, will go a long way towards taking you to the top of the class… where you really belong.

Rich Johnston: (B-) – You’re also one of the more promising students. And though you haven’t led a charge for the revolution, you did help out with a runaround in the beginning. But it’ll be imperative for you also to fulfill your destiny as a reporter and tell your readers about the petition. There will be no way around that… unless you come up with a better incentive for public pressure on DC and Marvel.  Which I don’t put past you at all.  Either way the grade will improve in accordance with next semester efforts.

Daniel Best: (A+) – You, my friend, are a front line power in the war against publishers who’ve driven the comics into the mud. There isn’t a better researcher who’s mindful of the injustices of the industry to its creators.

Jon B. Cooke: (A+) – Though your contribution will only be known in the upcoming issue of The Jack Kirby Collector, your signing the petition openly is a brave statement by one of the more revered comics historians in the industry.

Comicon Pulse: (A) – Just for being a good fighter and helping pass the word around. You built a great vehicle and community and are destined to do very big things things with them.

J. Caleb Mozzocco: (B+)Your nice words on the open letter are only rivaled by the awesome comment on the beard.  You deserve a better grade but your blog has no contact info in order to send you updates.  What kind of an outfit are you people running at Blog@Newsarama anyway? Shouldn’t you have an accessible link for sending in stories? Let’s get it together guys and plug the petition already.

Fandom: (AAA+) – A special grade for all the special things that you, the fans, do to help spread the word on the petition and campaign…and who are the lion’s share of signatories.  You are the grassroots voice of the people that will guide the comics into victory.  It’s only a matter of time that more creators begin to discover the faith and trust you place in them…and begin to reach for the role of leadership that you know to be their destiny.

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More Creator Rumblings at The Beat

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After nearly 130 comments on the Creator rumblings at Heidi MacDonald,s TheBeat, discussion is shifting to a followup article, A Little More on the Creators Revolution.

Tom Spurgeon chimed in on Van Jensen’s blog post that touched off this round and it seems this thread is a little more willing to be critical of DC and Marvel policy.

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Who Watches the Comics?

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I said earlier I’d get back to Heidi MacDonald’s article at The Beat on the grassroots rumblings in the creator community.

http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/01/31/grassroots-creators-suport-campaign-begins/

As I kept an eye on the discussion in the comments thread, I thought that maybe that’s a good place to start. But I got carried away a little and started spilling the beans on a story that I’ve not told in this way before.  A long comment that I figure will add a little spice and space for thought about why things are the way they are and what I think could be done. It starts by addressing the discussion in comments that, like everywhere else, are looking for what the the small guys like us can do.  It’s also brought writer Kurt Busiek to  defend DC and Marvel against my claims and resulted in an interesting exchange. Here it is in full with minor edits:

I think everybody here is right. Everything you all say is true. If the situation wasn’t so dire and confusing, there’d be no need for this diverse focus to be a contentious matter  at all.

But things are bad and it’s got us talking circles around ourselves and when things get like this no one wants to hear they may be wrong. So, simmer down for a moment, please. Nobody’s wrong. You’re all right.

There’s  just one little thing not making sense that Heidi hinted at and bears a little more thought:

“Marvel and DC aren’t even comic book companies any more.”

Oh man, that’s really wild. DC and Marvel aren’t even comic book companies any more? You mean, they’re just pretending? That’s a really good story. I’d go to the NY times with that. But wait!  If they’re not even comic book companies anymore, why all this talk about the merit or non-merit of the comic books they publish?

“They are IP companies.”

Oooooooohhhh! Geez. That’s really killer. I mean it’s killing me!  And a lot of other comics artists and writers too.  Now I understand why we’re all dying like this.  Goshdangit!  But wait wait wait… If that’s the case, why would an IP company that’s carrying the extra baggage of comic book publishing allow for that extra load to bog it down like this and make it look like DC and Marvel are investing so much effort in making a profit from the extra baggage because they just don’t know how, or maybe don’t even want to really publish comics?

Why would DC and Marvel make it look like that when it makes no sense whatsoever? Boy I’m really on a roll with these questions. Great. Let’s see what ‘s next…. oh, yeah, right! Maybe it’s because they don’t need to make a profit from the extra baggage because they make much much much much more from IP licensing and merchandising and that covers everything else they do like publishing comic books and company cellphones for all their employees (I’m just guessing here but it doesn’t really matter, does it?).

Well, if that’s the case, then maybe I can answer my own genius question with a genius answer. How about if we say that the reason DC and Marvel don’t stop publishing comic books and concentrate solely on IP trade may be that they need to carry the extra baggage in order for the properties to stay alive for IP appeal, which they’d lose if they stopped publishing comics books for all the properties they want to trade in.  OH GOD  I’m so clever I kill myself sometimes, and that would take away all the fun from DC and Marvel who are already killing me and everybody else, wouldn’t it?  Can’t do that can I?  Alright, I’ll try to simmer down too. Ppphhheeeewwwww!!!  Good. That’s better.   Let’s move on a little more now.

Here’s just a normal question with no special genius behind it. Why don’t DC and Marvel, being owned by some of the biggest money in the entertainment world, not invest a minute fraction of their enormous assets to make comics profitable? They obviously can if they wanted to because they’re the most savvy business people on the scene with the greatest assets around to do it? Right? And that’s just an average question isn’t it?  OK.  I’ll try to tackle that one without any special IQ level, like we said earlier, so as not to get too excited and kill myself and take away all the fun from DC and Marvel doing it.

Let me tell you a short personal story that everybody in the comics knew about, once upon a time. Well, not all the details, really. I’m the only one who discovered them and you guys are about to get the biggest scoop of comics history… so hang tight, alright?  And please, stay calm. Don’t forget who’s supposed to have all the fun in the end.

You all remember, well some of you at least, how when I started drawing comic books at Continuity that Neal Adams was strategizing how to help the poor and destitute creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, get some money from DC so they could die with a little more respect than a couple of starving paupers. Right? Some of you remember that. Well some of you also remember that he devised a great strategy that worked.  He started calling newspapers like the NY Times (That rings a bell… oh yeah, I’ll keep a note of that if I ever have a comics history scoop for them.), radio and TV stations and everybody who was willing to publicize the BIG story.  And EVERYBODY wanted the BIG story.  It finally got so big that it was invited to the Tomorrow show with tom Snyder (it’s alright, most of you don’t remember but he was like the Ophra of his time, almost, but he didn’t have so much ambition) and it blew Warner communications flat on their big fat hiney! The very next day, they called Neal and invited him and the creators of Superman and gave them a relatively very generous package of $$$, at least compared to anything else they’d ever seen from creating the property that makes Billions of $$s for Warners. That was really fun, seeing this grungy comics artist bring Warners to their knees like that.  Never underestimate the power of a good PR campaign even if you’re not really a good PR person.  Anyway, remember this incident and how Warners came down on their knees because we’ll get back to it in a minute.

Well the wackiest things started happening in comics after that.  I mean sometimes I blamed myself for it all because it all started just after I started drawing comics. Wouldn’t you think the same thing in my place? I know most everybody would and I’m not really so different. It’s a guilt trip thing but we live with it.  Anyway, everything started going wacky. Suddenly there was an implosion beginning. That’s when something explodes in on itself like the opposite of an explosion.  Clever language isn’t it? Well DC was publishing too many books and suddenly things started going downhill really fast.  Warners retired publisher Carmine Infantino and brought in a publisher with no experience whatsoever in comics to take over. That was Jenette Kahn. Great and wonderful lady who knew absolutely nothing about the comics business.  That’s just what you would all do if you were Warners, right?  Right! Whatever.  Well, Jenette really needed to learn the ropes fast and all she could do was talk to as many people as possible at DC about it because  Warners told her they had no idea what to do either. They made her swim alone and drown if she couldn’t make it. Almost like they did everything to make her fail. As fate would have it when the questions got tough and people at DC didn’t know what to answer Jenette, Neal Adams’ name would come up as someone who had a lot of ideas for the good of the comics and was a big mover and shaker at DC.  So, after a few days, Jenette calls Neal and asks him a few questions.

And Neal, bless his soul, never missed a beat. He suggested they have dinner and discuss the business.  Now Jenette was a young and pretty girl going out to dinner with a young and pretty boy, and what do you think happened? Right on! They started dating.. Yeah!!!  Not only that, but Neal even moved in to live at Jenette’s apartment a couple of weeks after that and the two became the hottest love birds in the industry.  I told you you’d like this story, but we’re not at the historic scoop yet.  So, Neal and Jenette start turning DC upside down to save the comics industry and raise it to something that it only aspired to before. Right at the worst time for comics, they were also doing the best thing for comics. They’re the ones who made Dollar Comics so newsstands would make more money from them and display more of them to sell. It was genius. They even devised a plan for creator owned projects.  You gotta believe me on this and I’ll tell you why.  Neal and I were doing the very first ever creator owned comic book for DC that Jenette agreed to do.  That was really friggin’ revolutionary, man, for back then, at least.  I know you think I’m fibbin’ but I’ll prove it to you.  Open the inside cover to Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali that Neal wrote and drew during this time.  The new reprint has it too. The nincampoops never changed it to cover their tracks. Look at the schematic listing all the names of the people and characters on the front and back covers.  Find that yet? Alright.  Now I don’t have the exact number of Ms. Mystic but turn to the back cover itself and look at the top of the ring pole. Now at a 45 degree angle to the top left, third person from the top of the pole. See the blonde there. That’s Ms. Mystic. Now look inside at the schematic, you’ll see her name. Number 51 or 53, or something like that as I remember.  What’s it say? Right!  Ms. Mystic.  See this proves I’m not fibbing and everything I say here is true.  Well, not proven scientifically, but it’s strong supporting evidence.  But that’s still not the historic scoop and we’ve wasted enough time on my credibility, so let’s move on.

Well, as all this great stuff is happening I decide to act a little crazy because I could see what was coming around the corner. So, I took off and went into the mountains and came back to role-play the Son of God. I thought that would help a little seeing what was going on. Anyway, I come back to Continuity and then leave again a month later for California. Then I come back to Continuity a few months after that and what’s the first thing Neal tells me? Ah, you’re starting to catch on. Right! He said Jenette broke up with him and it’s over.  I knew it was all too good to be true anyway.  But I’m busy being the Son of God and Neal’s in a big rut, you know. I think he really loved her and I couldn’t bear seeing him like this so I came down from my throne and tried to be human enough to have a heart to heart talk with him. All he could tell me was that something wasn’t right or normal about it.  Now you all know I really like the guy, well I did most of the time. Sometimes he just pisses me off but he’s like that. But back then I was acting a little crazy and thought I’d try to talk to Jenette because I thought it might help and that I could do anything I wanted anyway.  It comes with the throne, you know. So, I go to DC and I walk into Jenette’s office while the secretary tries to stop me.  But nobody could stop me, I mean Jenette and I were also pretty close and I really love Jenette a lot anyway… I mean not like Neal did but really a lot, I mean I don’t want to say like a mother because she was too young. More like a daughter, actually.   I was also like their son or something like that before I became the Son of God so you could imagine this close relationship that lets me barge into her office.  Long story and not important really.  So I’m in Jenette’s office and some Warner’s big shots are sitting there with her. They were pretty intimidating actually. But you know me, I just stared them down.  That’s when I started realizing that Jenette was in a pickle with these guys and I figured it had something to do with Neal.  So, what could I do?  I mean I haven’t had my powers for that long yet and wasn’t sure they’d work but I tried to read their minds to figure out what was going on.  I gotta tell ya, I’d never done anything like that before and what I got was an overload of the biggest scheme that anyone could imagine churning around in the Warners big shots heads.  It was the scariest thing I’d ever confronted, believe you me! And you know I don’t scare easy, right? Right! This is the big historical scoop you’ve all been waiting for so fasten your seat belts guys and gals cause here it comes.

Remember how Neal brought Warners down on their knees for the creators of Superman? I told you we’d get back to this. Well, you know those guys don’t like a grungy comics artist doing that to them. Nobody like them would, I mean, they think they run the world, don’t they? Sure.  So, that’s when they realized they had a big problem on their hands and it could happen with any of their characters and creators. They decided that they had to put an end to it right there and then.  So they started giving orders to over-publish comic book titles to make the big implosion that would destroy the business of comic books. They didn’t need them so much after all and made their money on IP marketeering anyway. Just like today but a little less.  Then they discover that their new publisher who knew nothing about comics and was supposed to fail, well, she was madly in love with the guy that brought them to their knees and they were ruining all their plans.  So they put all the screws on her to break it up or else no more comic books for her or anybody. They threatened they’d shut down DC Comics if she kept it up. So that’s why it didn’t make sense to Neal how she broke up with him. And she did it because she was also in love with comics by then because of Neal.  She did it to save the comics and that’s why I love her so much. If you don’t believe Superman and Muhammad Ali then go ahead and ask Jenette.  She’d tell the truth today. Maybe.

And these Warner big shots had the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie loaded and ready to fire already. Who needed all these headaches with creators ruining the biggest gold mine in the world for them? You tell me!  Well they began to scheme to destroy comics sales without telling anyone at DC they were doing it. Everybody actually thought they were trying to sell more comics.  Just like today. They figured this way, they can keep having creators make comics for them and never have to give anything back in return. They need the comics for the gold mine but they can lose money on them and still have it pay off. They were the biggest connivers you could ever run into, just like today. Only then it was just the beginning of the scheme but it was such a big sensory overload that it almost drove me crazy. And you know you don’t wanna drive me crazy. You wouldn’t like me when I’m crazy. But they didn’t know I was reading their minds with my new powers, so I was still safe back then. What a scoop huh?  I told you this would be BIG!  Glad I got that off my chest, you know. I’ve been carrying it for more than 30 years now and never mentioned it to anybody.  Didn’t wanna break it this way to Neal but boy that feels good.

And you know, I’m listening to everything that’s going on in the business today and I can’t take it anymore because you’re all arguing about nothing really important when you realize that DC and Marvel joined forces way back then to push comics into a corner with the direct market and systematically destroy the business so creators will keep on getting screwed and say thank you… Just like Eric Powell said.  I think some of my powers must have rubbed off on him, actually.

So there you have it. You got your scoop. And that answers that normal not so genius question about why DC and Marvel, being owned by some of the biggest money in the entertainment world, don’t invest a minute fraction of their enormous assets to make comics profitable.  Now you have your normal not so genius answer.  Now you know the score behind everything you’re talking about.

So, whatcha gonna do about it, I wonder?  If you keep on talking this nonsense now that you know all this then I’ll know I might as well crawl into a mylar sack and die because that would be the most hopeless situation I could imagine. But I don’t think so.  Not all of you anyway.  Some of you know I’m telling the truth and saw the supporting evidence in Superman Muhammad Ali.  This is where we separate the men from the boys if we really love the comics. If we really want to save the industry we love from the clutches of DC and Marvel. This is where we start to turn things back because we know the score now.  We finally have our Big historic scoop. So what are we gonna do with it? Huh?!!  Whadja say?  Rorschach?  Whaddaya mean by that?  Oh, right! Almost forgot.

What was that about the NY Times again?

Stephanie Buscema's logo art for Steven Niles' new colum introducing creator owned projects.

How Grassroots Grow

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Recent rumblings around the comics creator community regarding the state of the comics medium are gaining momentum. On our side, the Open Letter to DC & Marvel from The Comics has been mentioned at three of the high profile industry sites:

I sometimes talk to my comic books, but apparently some of the comic books are talking through Michael Netzer.

You probably knew Michael Netzer was an incredible artist and an incredible beard haver, but did you also know he could channel the voices of comic books?

Stephanie Buscema's logo art for Steven Niles' new column introducing creator owned projects.

More extensive coverage of the last few days was delivered twice by Heidi MacDonald @ The Beat, where she highlights Steven Niles first post on supporting creator owned projects, followed by Eric Powell’s video with CREATORS FRONT FOR DIVERSITY IN COMICS. Heidi’s second item on grassroots creators rumblings pretty much agrees with the assessment of DC and Marvel in our open letter. She’s much more diplomatic, however, but her insight encourages a thought on the role of journalism at such a critical juncture that I hope to publish here soon.

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