Monday, June 30, 2008

SONIC X #34 on sale now!

Above: Artwork from SONIC X #34 by (penciler) David Hutchison and (inker) Al Nickerson.

SONIC X #34 is now on sale! Terry Austin inked the first half and I inked the second half.

Here’s how Archie Comic Publications describes SONIC X #34:

"Fool Party": When Chris’ father holds a charity auction with the top prize being a personal pool party at Thorndyke Manor, guess what egg-shaped no-goodnik places the highest bid? Sonic and Tails make the scene to make sure Eggman doesn’t steal it… or more precisely, doesn’t steal one of Grandpa Chuck’s special motors! Hopefully Eggman won’t find out that Sonic can’t swim!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Platinum Studios and HERO BY NIGHT...

When will comic book publishers learn? You might think that the abuse by comic book publishers ended with Jack Kirby. Well, think again. In this modern age when many people believe that comic book creators are treated fairly by publishers, the ugly truth of the matter is that some creators are still being burned.

Across the Internet, folks have been discussing the whole Platinum Studios versus DJ Coffman situation. Previously, DJ has mentioned that this isn’t a Creator’s Rights issue. However, I disagree (and I’ve told this to DJ). When a publisher does not abide by it’s contractual agreements, when it does not pay money-owed to it’s creators for work-completed, then this does become a Creator’s Rights issue.

As I can see, the brief history of this ugly mess began in 2006 when DJ entered his creation, HERO BY NIGHT, into the first annual Comic Book Challenge. DJ won the contest, and Platinum Studios began publishing the HERO BY NIGHT comic book mini-series. The mini-series was then reprinted in a hardcover collection. Soon after, a new ongoing HERO BY NIGHT series began. Platinum went public. Then, Platinum stopped paying DJ and (HERO BY NIGHT colorist) Jason Embury. Still, DJ continued to work in good faith. He continued to write and illustrate HERO BY NIGHT… despite not being paid. DJ blogged about some of his difficulties with Platinum, but continued to remain respectful toward the publisher. He was still hopeful to work out his problems with Platinum, and to continue on with the HERO BY NIGHT property. However, after waiting around to be paid, DJ eventually announced that he would be putting the HERO BY NIGHT comic book on hold. (DJ did create the property, after all. So, that’s his call.)

Since blogging about Platinum’s poor (IMHO) business practices and their scummy (IMHO) treatment of DJ and Jason Embury, Platinum threatened to hold the rights to HERO BY NIGHT over DJ’s head. Platinum’s attempt to punish DJ further to quiet him is horrendous (IMHO).

As DJ posted on his blog: "A long story short, I had emailed the folks at Platinum to inquire if there had been any movement about the rights issue so that I could possibly get moving and publishing at least the webcomic on my own before the audience that we built for 2 years completely dropped off."

In response, Platinum Studios sent DJ a letter containing the following: "…Please be advised that due to the controversy stirred up as a result of your recent blogging and interviews, all discussions between us regarding any potential licensing back to you of limited rights to HERO BY NIGHT are on hold. At this time, we cannot say when those discussions might be resurrected. - Brian Altounian"

From the start, I shared with DJ my concerns about working with Platinum Studios. I have heard some lousy things about the publisher, but DJ seemed happy about the deal. So, I remained hopeful.

Sadly, my worst fears about Platinum have come true. The publisher is taking advantage (IMHO) of a fellow comic book creator by not abiding by it’s (as far as I can tell) contractual obligations. If you say you’re going to pay someone for their work, then pay them.

What’s a comic book creator to do? A publisher owes you money. Money that could have gone to paying your mortgage and other bills. Money that could help feed your wife and children. If a publisher isn’t paying you for your labor, if they threaten to hold control of your creation(s), then I say hire the best lawyer you can and make sure that this type of thing doesn’t happen again.

The comic book industry has a long history of pooping on folks. I can’t believe stuff like this still happens today. One would think that publishers (and even creators) would have learned a lesson or two by now.

I pray that Platinum Studios comes to it’s senses. I pray that Platinum does the right thing and compensates it’s creators. I pray that Platinum returns DJ’s creation back to him. However, I’m not holding my breath.

For more on all of this up-to-the-minute mess, please continue to visit DJ Coffman’s blog.

I also posted this at the Creator’s Rights forum.

Above: A 2008 New York Comicon Hero by Night sketch by DJ Coffman.

Update: The great Steve Bissette (SWAMP THING, TYRANT) has added his insights into the Platinum Studios and HERO BY NIGHT mess at his blog (with the catchy title "Wake Up Creators Or You’re All Through!") as well as at the Creator’s Rights forum.

"Isn't it time for the creative community to aggressively pool resources and quit acting like Creator Rights isn't a war that was won, or somehow doesn't apply to them?" -Steve Bissette

Update: Good news! Accordingly to his blog, DJ Coffman states that he has finally been paid by Platinum Studios.

"Fed Ex showed up with a check from Platinum paying me up to date anything that was owed to me, so that whole issue is over with." -DJ Coffman

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ARCHIE & FRIENDS #120 on sale now!

ARCHIE & FRIENDS #120 came out this week or last week. As with the previous issue, I inked the first half of the comic and Jim Amash inked the second half… even though (again) the comic’s inking credit reads "Amash/Nickerson". I know… it doesn’t make any sense to me, either. Anyway, buy your copies before all of the kiddies get their greedy little hands on them first!

For a preview of ARCHIE & FRIENDS #120, go to where the website has posted the first seven pages (the pages that I had inked).

Here’s how Archie Comic Publications describes ARCHIE & FRIENDS #120:

"Archie World Tour Part 4 of 4: The Who Stole My Girl Affair": When Archie and his friends set out on their quest to see five cities in ten days, they looked forward to getting as many sightseeing thrills as possible. Little did they know they'd get a heaping helping of suspense and intrigue as well! Now, Veronica's been kidnapped and the race is on to find and rescue her before it's too late. This leads to a whirlwind trek from Rome to Zurich in pursuit of the mysterious 'Green Man' and his minions. Along the way Archie and friends will befuddle the Italian police, trash a movie set, stowaway on a jet, frustrate the Zurich police, storm a fortress, confound half the criminal underworld - and somehow still come off as good ambassadors of the United States! Don't miss this hysterical, fast-paced, action-packed salute to super-spy films everywhere, as Archie finally unravels the Green Man's plans and discovers a plot that could bring Europe to its knees (and imagine how much that will hurt) in this thrilling conclusion to the four-part epic!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hugs in Philly!

Above photo: Yesterday, Solly Sol and Joey B were able to meet up in Philadelphia.

I received the following e-mail from P.I.C. friend, Solly Sol:

Hey Al- Hope all is going well. Joe and I got a chance to meet up in Philly today, if only briefly. It was the first time we had seen each other for probably 15 years. Attached find proof.... thought you might want a pic for your blog. Maybe sometime in the coming year we can all meet (whomever is left around) and grab some lunch in NY. - Sol

Thanks for the update, Sol. We’ll do lunch. :)


Thursday, June 12, 2008

New P.I.C. news…

Above photo: P.I.C. member and thespian, Steve Pro.

-Steve Pro has headed out to Los Angeles to further his acting career. Go Pro!

Above photo: P.I.C. member and famed animator, Miguel.

-Miguel’s animated short, TICKLE ME SILLY, has been nominated for two awards. Check out Miguel’s blog for more details.

Above: Sean’s caricature of some crazy New York governor.

-Sean has updated his own blog! Check out Sean’s cool-looking caricatures.

-umm… Scan has visited a nude beach! There’s no photo for this part of the news.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Hear I am Send Me"

About a year ago, I was able to see the band Delirious? (yes, that question mark is part of the band’s name) perform at New Jersey’s Meadow Lands. The band’s live songs are so incredibly energetic and powerful. And that includes the live version of "Hear I am Send Me" (I posted the lyrics below). You can listen to "Hear I am Send Me" (as well as all of the rest of their albums) for free at the Delirious? website. Go to the Delirious? website, select "Now is the Time" (all the way on the right of the webpage), and listen to the first track "Hear I am Send Me." It’s good stuff.

Lyrics to "Hear I am Send Me":

Here I am send me, Here I am send me,
There’s nothing in my hands,
But here I am send me.

Show me a vision like Isaiah saw,
Where the angel touched his lips and he sinned no more.
Let me hear your voice saying "Who shall I send?"
I’ll say send me Lord, I’ll follow you to the end.

Show me a vision like Ezekiel saw,
An army of light from a valley of bones.
Breathe life into these lungs of mine,
So I can scream and shout of your love divine.

Search light, burns bright, floods my eyes,
Invade me, serenade me, I’m giving back my life.

Here I am send me, Here I am send me,
There’s nothing in my hands,
But here I am send me.

I’m in Jacobs dream seeing heavens gate,
Let me climb all night on my ladder of faith.
Wrestle with the angel till my body is weak,
Dislocate my bones for it’s you that I seek.

Show me the light Paul apostle saw,
When he fell to the dust and he could see no more,
Open my eyes, open my eyes,
Open my eyes, open my eyes.

I’m frightened what you’ll find,
When you open up my heart, I’m walking in the light,
Cos it’s light that changes the atmosphere,
So touch these lips that criticise,
And put a song in my mouth that opens our eyes.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 2, 2008

My 2008 Eisner Awards ballot...

Tomorrow, I’ll be mailing out my ballot for the 2008 Eisner Awards. Sadly, NIHILIST-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS #1 wasn’t nominated for "Best Graphic Album-Reprint." Still, I am pleased that BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON EIGHT was nominated for the "Best New Series" and "Best Continuing Series" categories. ATOMIC ROBO was nominated for "Best Limited Series." All of which I had voted for. For "Best Digital Comic", I wrote in "Lethargic Lad."

Labels: , ,