Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stuff and Nonsense

Struggled through some intense physical discomfort yesterday to get the first draft of the 12-page script for UP1 done and off. That only took a week longer than it should have.

Also got some minor notes off to Nick Johnson re: THE HOLIDAY MEN, which is going to be a fun little book if I can keep on top of it.

Also worked on the outline for a new three-issue series for a small-press publisher I've never worked with before that's coming together frighteningly quickly.

Also wrote some long-overdue e-mails, one of which got an immediate and surprisingly positive response. That one was to the aforementioned publisher, requesting a specific provision to a contract that I never really thought I'd get--basically, he gets control of the multimedia rights, but only if he actually publishes the book.

Not that I thought he'd actually try and avoid publishing the book, but at this stage I'm extremely leery of signing over rights without either some sort of up-front payment or contractual assurance that I'll actually have something in print to show for my effort inside a reasonable timeframe.

Two pieces of what I consider to be some of my all-time best writing, THREADS (co-written with Scott O. Brown) and JEST CAUSE, have been locked up at Platinum for years, and may never see the light of day until the rights revert back to me/us, which is still several years down the line. And then there's the other four or five projects that originated with me that are stalled out in various stages of development, and the five or six in-house gigs also in various stages of completion, including AGE OF KINGS, which artist Russell Hossain finished drawing years ago but is nowhere to be found on Platinum's publishing schedule, and JEREMIAH: THE LAST EMPIRE, an incredibly work-intensive project which took several months out of my life for less money in total than I'd make in a month of flipping burgers.

Speaking of which, one of the good things about Platinum's unfortunate run-in with Heidi MacDonald's THE BEAT last week was the discovery that the first fourteen pages of J:TLE have been posted online at Platinum's DrunkDuck.com webcomic site. It was nice to be able to show what remains of Jeremiah's fanbase (there don't seem to be that many left, but the ones there are are hardcore) at least some of what we did. I'm vaguely hopeful the remaining 25 or so completed pages will be made available, along with at least the outline of where we were going with the story. That wouldn't do anything tangible for me, but the fans deserve that much.

Not having those books on the shelves hurts in a greater number of ways than someone who isn't a low-level comic creator aspiring to become a higher-level comic creator would probably suspect. But as I said to Platinum VP in Charge of Something-or-Other and Generally Nice Guy Dan Forcey on the phone the other day, I'm not complaining. Anyone getting into this business post-Steve Gerber/Howard the Duck has no excuse for not knowing what they may be signing away. (Hint: if the contract includes a phrase along the lines of "in all the universe, known and unknown", it's probably a fair amount.)

To be honest, up until recently, it's been my policy to simply assume 1) with each contract I'm signing away the rights to everything I'll ever create including my first-born, and 2) that I'm going to get screwed by whatever publisher I get involved with at some point. The idea is that I'll then be pleasantly surprised if the other party actually does what it claimed it would.

I haven't been pleasantly surprised all that often, to date. But, again, I'm not complaining. I am just, as they say, sayin'.


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