Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters had a note about the upcoming, ongoing Hero By Night book that I'm cowriting.

"D.J. Coffman's "Hero By Night" is going to become an ongoing series from Platinum Studios."

See, isn't that sweet? What's that? Oh, I see, it was just so he could make the following point.

There are still eighty or more projects sold to Platinum that are still waiting for the treatment that the publisher's literature promised. "Getting your story produced, even if it never advances beyond comics form, is a commitment we're willing to make... we are also willing to finance the publication of a comic (up to eighty-eight pages of material in a single comic or as a limited series), to acquire the property." Sadly such assurances weren't in the actual contracts. Still, it's only a few more years until the rights purchased for $1000 revert - at which point the market gets flooded! So come on, Mike Strang, chin up!

Now, Lying In The Gutters is a rumor column, so I get it -- there would be no mention of the ongoing if there wasn't some controversial point to be made. It's usually the nature of the column, though I should mention the column is sometimes split between rumor and some excellent traditional journalism. And I should mention that I am a fan of the column, and that unless I'm out of town at a con or in a position that I can't read the column, I religiously go to CBR and indulge myself on Mondays with it. Rich seems great, the column is great, howeverrrrrrr . . .

This comes from Rich (obviously), and I seem to remember that when all the Speakeasy stuff was happening, he was defending them to the end. As that ship was sinking, Rich was on the deck with his bucket trying to get as much water out as he could. As he slung arrows in every other direction, he was next to the Speakeasy soldiers holding up a shield (too many metaphors, I know). Anyway, why was Rich doing this?

Because he had a book with them.

Now, I know the argument that some will make is the difference between Speakeasy and other publishers that have had fingers pointed at them by Rich or anyone (*cough* Dreamwave *cough*) is that Speakeasy was good people and they were always upfront and their problems had more to do with getting in over their head rather than, say, any malicious attempt at misinformation or general shady behavior -- but you can't tell me that Rich wouldn't have at least leveled some aim at Speakeasy's mismanagement of their company and the ending result which was lots and lots of creators not getting their books published and be stranded out in the market without a paddle after they spent time, money and love on their creations. The best thing Rich could have done in that circumstance was not say anything, because while his book was still being published other creators were being told theirs would not be. So, when Rich points a finger like this, makes a comment like this, I always remember the Speakeasy fall and how easy it is to forgive the sins of those we have a vested interest in or have and interest in us, and how easy it is to accuse those whom we do not.

Platinum has never been anything but outstanding in its behavior to DJ Coffman and (recently) myself, so that's what my opinion of them stands on.


Blogger DJC said...

Yeah, it's ackward to think I have this good deal and an ongoing series, and other creators who signed up previously didnt have their books come out.

The truth is, internally Platinum is a WHOLE NEW COMPANY pretty much over the past year. New direction. I don't want to slam anyone else who had projects signed up with Platinum that didn't get made, but frankly, Platinum had a double edged sword going, where they were willing to bring on unpublished newbies and wanted to publish the books in a mass storm of publishing, but when the people signed on, most of the projects were stuck in what I call "development hell", because they frankly weren't THAT GOOD. Not all of it, but most was lackluster.

So I can see some people's frustrations with Hero By Night getting good reviews. Things were different for me because of Comic Challenge and the feedback we've gotten from he actual project. Plus, I just do things differently or my own way and take charge, and I was turning in good stuff, and I have a hell of a work ethic.

It frustrates me, being a team player so much, I get referred to as a Platinum cheerleader, but really I'm just a team player. I promoted the other Platinum books like Blood Nation, Unique, etc and encouraged MY readers to check out more Platinum books-- but I noticed other creators just aren't that jazzed to even promote their OWN books, let alone tell people that Platinum has books in the most recent Previews. Maybe they're shy, maybe they're just not the types to express interest in their publisher or own works, but I can't do that .I can't just turn in work, collect a paycheck and pretend like it never happened.

I'd like to see Platinum put a solid stake into the industry and I want HBN to lead that charge. Maybe that's why it's happening, partly because of my passion, and secondly because we're doing good work that new and old audiences are enjoying. I don't say that gloatingly, in fact, it's humbled the shit out of me and given me a new direction and purpose..

Shoot.. I'm rambling.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Hi James.

No... I *had* had a book from Speakeasy. Past. One book, that was it, no plans for anything else. And it didn't affect a word I wrote.

You may not recall that I was the only person to report alleged financial misconduct at Speakeasy with certain suppliers. And I was able to put the allegations to Adam himself.

And yes, being upfront with creators is a blessing. I behaved similarly with Val Staples at MVC when he did the same.

And when Wowio put Civil Wardrobe up, in the same place I mentioned it, I took a stab at Wowio rep Mike Miller, because, hey, that's Mike Miller. If I hear dodgy stories about Wowio, I won't hesitate to investigate.

11:36 AM  
Blogger James Patrick said...

First of all, Rich, I'm not calling you anything for your defense of Speakeasy; I'm calling it human nature.

And I remember when you put those questions to Adam -- and unless I'm remembering the wrong interview -- it felt more like a platform for him to defend himself than a series of allegations.

I don't remember the accusations of financial misconduct though; all I remember is some very disappointed creators, some my friends, not feeling they got what was promised to them. That was the real crime that I saw in that situation, but the bulk or angle of your coverage seemed to be about how Speakeasy was in a bad situation but weren't bad people, and ignore the raw deal those creators were getting.

And from what I've seen of criticisms of Platinum, it's people who want more than their ACTUAL contract says. It's people who didn't read or understand their contracts. If Platinum tells a creator they're going buy or option their property for a certain amount of money, and has nowhere in the contract that they have to publish it, they don't have to publish it. This happens in movies all the time. Movies get shelved, there's development hell, and there's also realizations that properties they purchased will not be profitable once they review them again or look at executing them. And there's also personelle changes that occur and don't have the same stars in their eyes of properties, or failure of similar properties. I seem to be in a similar situation right now (not with Platinum) and I made sure that what I want as a minimum is in the contract. How hard is that? And how hard is it to get an agent or a lawyer to read something when a deal is already in place and they're guarenteed money? There's a line between inexperiance and stupidity.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

I'm denying that there was a defense of Speakeasy.

There was an appreciation of honesty with creators that was shared with companies such as MVC who didn't publish anything with my name on it.

Adam chose to respond to allegations put to him... where Pat Lee, say, did not. If Pat Lee had, I'd have run them the same.

The point here is that Platinum told creators that would *publish* (not just buy or option), it wasn't in the contract and it didn't happen. I'm just pointing out the disparity of the two.

5:53 AM  
Blogger James Patrick said...

Fair enough, Rich. We stand where we stand. And obviously I generally stand on the side creators, I just think it's been really easy to point fingers at Platinum lately, and from what I've seen from them is a change of the guard and some different approaches to some things.

And it isn't too bad that I've read your column for years and years and had issue with one itsy, bitsy thing. Keep up the great work.

5:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home