New page of The Adventures of ROMA
by John Workman, now available.
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Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool raised a few eyebrows recently with the post “The Return Of Comico? But What Of The Elementals?“
In the post he very briefly describes the demise of Comico before unveiling his discovery of a recent trademark application filed by Steven Rev. Rich happily divulges address information and even describes the location as having convenient parking, thus instigating the ires of the many folk that have beefs with Comico owner Andrew Rev who has become both notorious and mysterious since Comico last published.
Curiously, Johnston questions the future of one of Comico’s most legendary titles, The Elementals, which had been purchased by Rev from Bill Willingham back in the 1990′s. If Johnston would have dug just a little deeper he would have found that the same trademark search engine that revealed a potential revival of Comico also discloses that the trademark for The Elementals is currently held by DYNAMITE.
That revelation would have surely stirred up some excitement!
Of course all of that is here or there speculation. One line in the post, however personally struck a nerve for two glaring inaccuracies.
“…there has been an attempt by the original founders to publish comcics[sic] as CO2 Comics…”
The Original Founders:
Bill Cucinotta and I are only two of “the original founders” of Comico. Though we both feel very responsible for the initial direction of that company and many of the positive and innovative approaches that defined it in its heyday, we were both often at odds with the other partners and ensuing management team. The working environment at Comico was often emotionally, verbally and physically hostile. Our disputes within the partnership resulted in both of our departures as active members of the partnership at separate times years prior to the bankruptcy and sale to Rev.
Though we are prone to celebrate the accomplishments of Comico, and there is a lot that we are very proud of, there is a pall of resentment toward what we endured within that extended partnership that continues to haunt us.
We made a conscious effort to define our current partnership by naming our publishing venture CO2 Comics to specify that the vision of this approach belongs to the two of us working in cooperation with the creators that support our vision. We cannot deny our roles as former Comico publishers but, as we have repeatedly stated, CO2 Comics is NOT Comico and never intends to be.
An Attempt to Publish:
We feel that we have accomplished a lot in the last five years since we launched CO2 Comics originally as a web comic collective on the internet in 2009 We have published both on the web and in print several thousand pages of comics and comic related content. A brief rundown of those accomplishments as well as upcoming projects was highlighted on our blog to commemorate our fifth anniversary.
I think we have well exceeded what could be considered an “attempt” at publishing comics!
A few weeks ago Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche, in an effort to promote their new book, a graphic adaptation of Amity Shlaes’ THE FORGOTTEN MAN, suggested that they were the subjects of a black list crafted by liberals in the industry against conservative creators.
The idea of a black list might seem ludicrous to some but when our efforts to publish great comics by a laundry list of incredible creators can be so easily dismissed by observers of the industry we have to ask ourselves if we are not being subjugated by attitudes shaped by what Comico had become toward the end; a Comico that was far from our control and well beyond what we had ever intended it to be.
We couldn’t even get a link in this post that mentions us.
There may or may not be a defined black list in comics, but Bill and I often feel like two black sheep when our current efforts and accomplishments are overlooked. We can only wonder if we are maligned by the dark shadow cast by the sins of what Comico became after we left.
Fortunately we have surrounded ourselves by great talent, many of whom witnessed first-hand what we accomplished and experienced back-in-the-day. They appreciate our integrity and commitment to them personally and to the medium of comics. We can not thank them enough for their continued faith in us!
CO2 Comics is already much more than Comico became. It is a labor of love from which great comics will continue to flow, not a trial of deception, hostility, resentment and fiscal irresponsibility that crushed the dreams of many.
Bill and I have the same vision we ever had: to publish creator owned comics and to establish wonderful, trustworthy, and mutually profitable relationships with creators in that process.
We wish any new Comico all the luck in the world. They are gonna need it. We just ask, please, don’t let the sins of Comico past damn the future of CO2 Comics.
Making Comics Because We Want to,
It is no surprise that, with the Supreme Court considering listening to law suits brought by the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster as well as legendary Marvel creator, Jack Kirby in an epic battle over creators rights, DC Comics is attempting to preemptively save face by offering a new “Participation Plan.”
Their timely effort is boorishly intended to make them look good in the public’s eye pending any fallout from a potential legal hell-storm that has already attracted support from every creative guild in Hollywood.
Their new “incentive” (as Marvel calls it) will share with creators net profits generated across all distribution networks including digital sales. As an added PR bonus, colorists will be included in the profit sharing for the first time, following Marvel’s lead.
Everything looks rosy!
Depending on who you believe…
For every creator, like Chuck Dixon who has had nothing but a positive experience regarding how DC reports shared revenue there is a disgruntled one like Steve Bisette who feels that he is treated like a second class citizen.
As outsiders, who are we to judge? Contracts are and should be private agreements and presumably they are negotiable and often different for each creator. History, however, has proven that these agreements, no matter how good they may seem or are intended, can often be subject to reinterpretation and malignment on favor of the corporation. Just ask Alan Moore who’s great Watchmen deal went sour fast.
Gentleman Gerry Conway has a very polite perspective on policing DC’s approach to participation packages that should raise an eyebrow or two. Imagine that in this day and age, DC admittedly cannot track the use of all its properties and accurately pay out without the support of its aging creators, many of which are far from tech savvy. So they say. Yet, in a heartbeat, they can shut down a sculpture of a dead boy wearing a Superman shirt in Canada before bowing to social media outrage.
The bottom line is that DC is part of a huge entertainment company that specializes in cooking books when it comes to sharing revenue. This is not an indictment of Warner Brothers but of the practices of Hollywood accounting in general.
Anyone that has ever signed on to a royalty arrangement will tell you that, unless you are willing to march into the accounts payable office with an expensive auditor by your side, your relationship with the company paying you is one of blind faith.
DC is playing with magical mystery money when they tell a creator that they will combine net profits from all channels of distribution. These numbers are tabulated over a period of months and are calculated by an algorithm that would make Sheldon Cooper’s head spin! Most comic creators are just not equipped to challenge their word and are willing to accept what they get or be prepared to move on.
Combine this mystery math with vague language that can arbitrarily define characters as “derivitive” and suddenly there are creators like Alan Brennert campaigning for a moral victory over a $45 payout that is hardly worth a legal battle let alone sitting on hold for a half hour waiting for the problem to be addressed.
This is why contracts are important. Spell details out in black-and-white to eliminate the questions, provide all the answers and provide proof of the agreement.
Wait for it…
Now, DC says all transactions and agreements will be digital only!
Kiss that paper trail goodbye!
Can anybody say Comixology?
“I’m sorry, your digital contract was somehow erased from our server but don’t worry we will reinstate you with our current (and less favorable) Participation Plan. Any questions?”
Time to look for an Indy Publisher comic creators. At least you will own your work.
Making Comics Because We Want to,
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