Posts tagged Neal Adams

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.

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Have Peace Jerry Robinson

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I had barely missed his visit to Continuity just before I started working there in late 1975, when Jerry Robinson joined Neal Adams in the drive to convince Warner Bros. to help the creators of Superman in their later years. He became a mediator between the creators and DC Comics, and procured the appearance of their credit on the Superman titles. I barely missed him but the giant shadow that Jerry Robinson cast couldn’t escape my attention. I hadn’t met him on the few occasions I’ve attended comics conventions, but I did receive a friend request from him on Facebook last year and was surprised to discover he even knew of me. After a few warm conversations there, I came to know wonderful simplicity in him, and a passionate activism on behalf of the creator community and the comics medium, that also exuded a humbling concern for the world we live in.

Aside from his seminal role in the creation of the Batman mythos, especially the Joker and Robin, Jerry Robinson remained an active ambassador for the medium from behind the scenes, putting forward the best that comics stood for, even if his work wasn’t visible on the pages themselves. The comics community is beginning to pour its affection for him after news of his departure from us surfaced; Bleeding Cool; NewsaramaComics Reporter and io9 are an early start. True to his site format, Tom Spurgeon is compiling sentiments from across the web into a collective memory post, which is always of the better places to get an impression of the impact that the likes of Mr. Robinson have on us. Godspeed Jerry and thanks for the bright light you shine on us, and the comics.

Neal Adams (2nd from left) and Jerry Robinson (far right) launch the campaign for Jerry Siegel (2nd from right) and Joe Shuster (far left) from Continuity Studios in 1975. (Photo from Kris' World at NealAdams.com)

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The Sidekick Foundation

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A New Friend to Creators in Need

Clifford Meth will announce at the New York Comic Con on Sunday that he’s founded The Sidekick Foundation and is scheduled to launch its first fundraising activity at the show.

The Sidekick Foundation is a new confederacy that seeks to generously aid comics creators in need of financial and medical assistance. Sidekick’s board of directors and advisors consists of established, respected comics professionals who have agreed to support the organization’s initiative which, in its first year, shall be to donate 90% of all generated proceeds directly to those in need.

Clifford’s been active in helping comics creators who’ve fallen into difficult times by raising community support and funds for their benefit. His efforts began with the late Dave Cockrum, and more recently focused on the departed Gene Colan. Both creators were able to finish the last segment of their lives considerably better off, mainly through grants from Marvel Comics that Clifford negotiated. In both cases he put his public relations savvy to work and convinced Marvel that it was in their best interest to help these seminal contributors to the Marvel ethos. He’s also been involved in numerous other such drives, particularly with William Messner-Loebs and some others not widely known of. He’s been of the more vociferous campaigners for the disparate plight of comics creators in the last decade.

Without getting into conditions that can leave creators in financial dire straits when calamity strikes, especially considering the wealth many have generated for major publishers, the need for this effort perhaps comes from knowing that the only the other organization dedicated to the same cause, Hero Initiative, has become somewhat top heavy and expends nearly 50% of its funds on administrative and management expenses. One of the concerns I’ve heard of late was whether the comics community can afford to support two such organization simultaneously. I find this perhaps a little over-protective because looking at the breadth of the comics community, there seems to be no shortage of generous contributions when a cause is deemed necessary. And with another effort in the mix, we might see a tendency for everyone to streamline their expenses in order to remain attractive as a charitable cause. Human nature and social dynamics would also suggest that the presence of another such body will mean more public awareness for needy cases, which is likely to also increase the scope of donations.

It should rather perhaps be seen as a step towards more efficient ways of providing relief for creators under mitigating conditions. Thinking of the hundreds of artists and writers who are not working in the field, any of whom could fall into distress at any moment, I’d think there’s room for not only two, but perhaps a few more such organizations in order to help level the playing field.

Sidekick’s Board of Advisors includes Neal Adams, Harlan Ellison, Joe Sinnott, Tom Palmer, Herb Trimpe, and Morris Berger (former president of IDT Entertainment and chairman of IDW Publishing).

A website is in the works for The Sidekick Foundation. In the meantime there’s a holding page with basic information and a contact link for perusal at the thesidekickfoundation.org domain.

 

 

Darryl Cunningham - Science Denial

Darryl Cunningham’s Science Denial

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Darryl Cunningham is a British Indie comics creator, considered the prolific producer of Psychiatric Tales. He’s recently produced a webcomic on Science Denial. In it, Darryl tries to draw a sharp line between science and most everything else, including religious dogma, mysticism and pseudo-science. Through the process, he takes a jab at many populist issues in support of mainstream scientific consensus, including global warming controversy and Growing Earth (formerly Expanding Earth) Theory, that’s returned to popular forums over the last decade, in large measure due to the efforts of another comics creator, Neal Adams.

To even suggest that Plate Tectonics fits “all observations made” about the Earth’s development is so… and I really hate to say this, but it is so ignorant of the history of Earth science, that it’s perhaps better said in a church instead of a presentation on science. Plate Tectonics cannot explain the near perfect fit of the Pacific landmasses on a smaller globe, nor does it fit the near incontrovertible evidence visible in how all the continents converge onto a smaller Earth to create a perfect whole shell. PT cannot begin to convince how such a perfect fit between South America and Africa is achieved on a smaller globe while leaving a notable discrepancy in the present sized Earth. Plate Tectonics doesn’t even tackle the problem of how dinosaurs could have moved so freely in a present sized Earth and gravity.

Darryll’s webcomic will likely have a nice following of science lovers who also only scratch the surface of populist theory… and it seems a shame that such a talented creator is taking this dogmatic and absolutist approach to such an important subject. The piece thus tends to demonstrate a lack of depth, understanding and independent thinking about science. It also places Darryl in a difficult position, considering his steadfast advocacy of the profession.

So I left a comment at his site that also only scratches the surface of his “science preaching”.

It’s a nicely done piece but not very objective, I’m afraid. It resonates of the same type of religious absolutism about science theory that have kept society and human curiosity in dark ages.

As a case in point, though cosmic background radiation can be assumed to indicate a beginning point to the universe, it can also indicate an emanation from the Aether that Fred Hoyle suggested was the source of continuous manufacture of matter in a growing universe. Science locked itself into Big Bang prematurely without remaining open to viable alternative probabilities.

Most discoveries since then, such as accelerated expansion, suggest Steady State to remain a viable option. But science won’t have it anymore. Even though science rejected the Aether, they went on to adopt other “invisible” constructs such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy when evidence suggested there must be something invisible to us that is acting on the universe.

Thus science has effectively re-adopted the Aether but applied new names to it in order to cover its tracks and shame. Mainstream science will never admit that DM and DE effectively serve the same functions as Aether. Science has become as self-dogmatic as the religious absolutism it rightly criticizes.

I enjoyed the look of this piece very much but I respect scientific curiosity too much in order to be wooed by the writing here. Science, like all other human constructs, is susceptible to bias and manipulation. It seems important that we remain aware of this in order to be as objective as humanly possible about our world.

I do hope that Darryl, who is a very talented storyteller, will find something here to think about, and try to learn a little more about sciences in order to curb the superficial and near religious zeal with which he presents it.

Finished Color GL/GA #76 Revised

GL/GA #76 New Version Finished

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The Cover that Wasn’t

Below is the finished coloring of the rejected GL/GA #76 (above), combining it with the published cover, by Neal Adams.

Acrylics and concentrated water colors on 360 gr. quality water color paper.

The original is being offered for sale. For inquiries please contact me or Clifford Meth through the site contact form.


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Finishing GL/GA #76 Cover

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GL/GA #76 Revised Cover

The Cover that Wasn’t | GL/GA 76

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A new take combining the original cover for GL/GA #76 that Julie Schwartz rejected, with Neal Adams’ revised version that saw print. Maybe the cover that should have been done instead of changing the layout. This is as of yet an unsold commission. Good thing I bought an extra sheet of 360 gr watercolor paper. Will post progress on both pieces as they develop.

 

Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76 Cover Commission

Commission in Progress | GL/GA #76

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For Clifford Meth’s private collection. Neal Adams’ Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76 cover. 11X17 in full color. I bought some dyes like Dr. Martin’s for this and have some acrylics also. I’ll likely ink it with a little grey wash and mostly color with dyes, using some acrylics if needed. We’ll soon see.

Sam Argo's Moving Pictures

Sam Agro Takes the Lead!

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SIGN THE PETITION


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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SIGN THE PETITION!

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CAMPAIGN BANNERS

SIGNATORIES COMMENTS

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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?

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