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Thread: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

  1. #301

    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Cipriano
    Heya guys,

    Long time no see.

    Anyhoo, while I don't want to comment on certain things involving Speakeasy, I want to clarify what Jose said in passing early in this thread.

    Bio Boy has not been canned. I'm working with the guys at Speakeasy to find the best solution for my book. I refuse to concede on something I've worked so hard on, and that has gotten such great reviews. Those that know me from way back know I'm fighter, and know I love what I do. Every situation needs it's own attention, and it's own solutions. Hopefully we can all find them.

    Best,
    Sal
    Good luck, friend.

  2. #302

    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by The Goddamn Batman
    I've Grimoire, Elk's Run, The Hunger, Gatesville Company and Butternut squash which didn't came out yet

    are they safe ?
    I didn't see anyone else answer this (which doesn't mean someone didn't, I'm tired), so...

    THE GRIMOIRE's a Hawke Studios book, owned by Adam, basically, and the current storyline is being written by Chris Stone, Speakeasy's highest-ranking editor, last time I checked. I reckon it's about as safe as anything else.

    Joshua and Jose have already spoken to the situation with ELK'S RUN and THE HUNGER.

    I got an e-mail from Gatesville Co. writer Marc Bryant this evening. #2's out this Wednesday, it doesn't sound like #3's going to make the minimum sales cut, and Marc doesn't seem inclined to go the online route (though he's been known to change his mind, so don't quote me on that.)

    No idea about BUTTERNUT SQUASH, but if you like the look of it and haven't already checked out the online material, there's a fair amount of it at http://www.butternutsquash.net/

    It's days like this that make me glad I held out and got PARTING WAYS published as a done-in-one self-contained GN.

    Andrew Foley
    Last edited by Andrew Foley; 12-18-2005 at 10:20 PM.

  3. #303

    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by dEnny!
    ...is it unfair to ask creators to invest into their project?
    My initial response to this was, yeah, it's unfair.

    After some consideration, my new answer is, "Depends on who's doing the asking, and when."

    I've got to say the implication I'm reading into this question--that a creator who doesn't step up to the plate to pay for, say, printing is somehow not committed to their project--is troubling to me.

    See if this makes sense to you (it may not--I'm working on four hours sleep for the last 48, and really shouldn't be trying to write coherent posts, esp. on a topic as important to me as this one--I've got a lot of friends with books published, or scheduled to be published, by Speakeasy, to say nothing of the book I've got published there and my friends at the company. Still, it's this very topic that's kept me awake for the last eight hours, so maybe this will put me to sleep...at the very least it should do the trick for anyone reading it...):

    Creators are creators. Publishers are publishers. Some people are both, but for this post, I'm going to ignore that.

    Creators invest in their project by...well, creating it. There's a substantial amount of time required to bring a comic to completion, time that, most often, would generate greater financial rewards if it was spent flipping burgers at McDonalds (at least in the short term.) And that doesn't take into account additional expenditures of either time or capital to coordinate lettering, colouring, and other production work.

    A publisher's investment in a project is generally bearing the financial burden of publishing it. They front the money for printing, shipping, and storage expenses.

    A creator who's invested his creative energies in putting a book together has to ask what benefit they're getting from a publisher that isn't invested in putting the book out.

    This isn't to suggest that Speakeasy isn't invested in getting their books out. It's been rightly pointed out that creators are being given a choice between their book getting the axe, putting it online to allow a storyline to see completion or upping the pricetag (at least, I'm assuming that's an option based on what Joshua's doing with ELK'S RUN #7 and 8.) If what I'm hearing on the grapevine is true, the way in which creators were informed about the new policy could've been handled better. And the notion that a four issue miniseries could be solicited, half-printed, and then finished online...

    ...eh. I'm too tired right now. I just do not know.

    Sorry if any of the above came across as condescending or pedantic. It wasn't intended to be, but I think I may have slid into it, and I can't bear the thought of going through this thing yet again. I Need Sleep.

    Andrew

    Andrew Foley

  4. #304

    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by dEnny!
    Unfortunately, you are in a bad situation in that you have a book being published by Speakeasy so people won't feel you are reporting this story unbiasedly. You just have to do what you feel is right and move on.
    I'll just keep doing what I always do.

  5. #305

    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    .
    Last edited by chucksatterlee; 12-21-2005 at 05:52 AM.

  6. #306

    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by batmanbooyah

    on another note, what marketing does image do that speakeasy doesn't, aside from their section in previews and the ads in the other books?
    Jim Demonakos at Image says, over on The Engine:


    "Speaking as the guy whose title includes "PR & Marketing," we do everything possible to get retailers & fans to know about upcoming titles.

    "This includes, but is not limited to, getting interviews/reviews in magazines like CBG & Wizard, online articles on websites like Newsarama & CBR, press releases announcing new books, doing retailer-only previews of the books (whether online or print & send), sending promotional posters & bookmarks to stores and more.

    "This doesn't even count the Previews ad, shopping the books out for foreign licensing and even, though not often, coordinating store signings/appearances to promote the books.

    "The more promotion the creator does, the better it is, naturally, but we don't enter in to an agreement expecting that the creators are going to do all the promotion, since as the publisher, we have just as much a vested interest in making sure the book succeeds as the creator does.

    "At the end of the day, though, we naturally encourage the creator to put themselves out there to both fans and retailers. Pro-active creators tend to find themselves with more recognizable books and better orders, it's just the way it is."
    --------------------
    warrenelliscom - twitter - ieu store

  7. #307
    Gunsel Saul Colt's Avatar
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    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by chucksatterlee
    My name is Chuck Satterlee and I have/had two books with Speakeasy. The titles are SMOKE & MIRROR and OF BITTER SOULS.

    My association with Speakeasy has been decent on a personal level and disastrous on a professional level.

    To start, I have never had a personal problem with Fortier or anyone else, but I am very dissapointed in the way the books were managed.

    I'll just lay it all on the line.

    To start, I (as a creator) helped to pay for a Speakeasy Comics Party in San Diego. I paid $750.00 for that. I was the person responsible for actually getting them some banners through my friends who had the abilility to make them. You see, one of the first things that pissed me off about Speakeasy was their unprofessional presence in San Diego. The booth was a hodge podge of organization and without MY banner, they would not have even had a Speakeasy logo...IN SAN DIEGO!!!!!!!!!!! Also, I worked with the people who produce the television show Entourage on HBO to get a huge Speakeasy banner (made by my friends) shown in the episode where the Entourage guys go to Comic-Con. Adam had nothing to do with that past signing a release. Let's move on to Chicago. They used the banners from the Entourage shoot and they still do. I also tirelessly stated in interviews that I was happy and I pushed Speakeasy and Speakeasy titles.

    Also, my group was a well oiled machine. We turned in projects on time but that just didn't seem to matter. The books still found a way to come out late. That is damn frustrating and I never received a acceptable answer for the delays. One time, when I spoke to a senior management person at Speakeasy, he told me that SMOKE & MIRROR #2 had "fallen off a truck"...yeah...he really said that. In San Diego, another senior managemnet member of the Speakeasy team told me to keep a look-out because he was expecting "Harvey Weinstein" of Miramax fame...really. Since that, I have taken everything they say with a grain of salt and never let on that I had frustrations. I simply started to look for another publisher.

    Also, I am still trying to figure out what we get for our fees.

    We have to spend a certain amount on a fee. Then we are also charged for printing and another amount for the ad in Previews (which nobody reads anyway for the most part). The fee is my biggest question mark.

    I did the following:

    I marketed my books at my expense.
    I procured all of my own interviews (except one for silverbulletcomics).
    I paid my own talent. (artists, etc...)
    I had my book pre-pressed
    I paid my own travel expenses
    I paid for Speakeasy ( a good percentage) parties
    I procured banners for them
    I delivered my books on time


    Let me also explain another point...

    I also allowed them to print ads for their company owned books in the back of my books. I say allowed because, if I am paying for printing...which I am...then ALL of the content is my discretion. So...I allowed them to print ads for their books in my books. I must state that I have absolutely no problem with other creator owned books in my books, but the company owned stuff I have a problem with. They purposefully print larger ads for their books in Previews and I have my suspicions about who pays for that. But since I can not prove anything, I will not state who I think is paying for it.

    Here is what I got for the fee

    Late shipments

    Almost non-existent accounting (even after several requests)

    No marketing support

    Almost non-existent communication (at one point, I had a serious question and I had to wait for almost three weeks for a call back....now I am a little slow, but if I am doing two books per month, that adds up to $3500 per month in feees. That would make me a client. That would qualify me for a call back I would think in a more timely manner...say...two weeks.)

    No proofs or blue-lines (I have never seen a bok before it was printed. I said I trusted them before and when I was naieve. However, after issue 1 of Smoke & Mirror came out with the credits on the inside back cover and an ad on the inside front cover, I got a little pissed off. I thought we could at least count on them to look at a proof, look at the original file and make a f'ing determination if it looked the same. I was dead wrong. I can not tell you how many printing errors there have beeen in Speakeasy books. It ius a major reason for late shipments. Rocketo #2 had an upside down back cover and a senior member of the staff told him that "nobody would notice" but Frank insisted on the reprinting.


    All of this said, I have had financing problems but I fixed them now. I have been shopping for another publisher and I found one. In fact, I am very happy at my new place and I am not the only Speakeasy creator to jump. I can tell you that I know of four to five others who are planning to jump to other publishers. I can not say who I am jumping to yet, but I will after it is safer to do so.

    I will add that, while Norm Breyfogle is not a gigantic name anymore, he is still a household name in this industry. He is the quintessential Batman artists for a lot of guys and gals. A good bunch of us came up reading Breyfogle and GRant's Bat stories. Norm is my partner for Of Bitter Souls. They had a household name and they did nothing to make that work to their advantage.

    Their contract, which I am not allowed to divuldge due to a NDA I signed, has many stated duties that they are supposed to do as a explanation for their fee. They have, at last count, been in breach (IMO) of almost 11 of these duties.

    I beleieve in my heart that Speakeasy management is not made up of bad people. I also believe that the problems that have arisen in Speakeasy have made Speakeasy management a bit on the desperate side and good...or bad...desperity can bring out the worst in some people.

    My books will go on. I am happy about that. I will be leaving Speakeasy with a wealth of wisdom I did not have prior to our time together. For that, I am thankful. I do wish that nothing would have gone wrong and I would have been publishing with them for a long time, but maybe the education is worth the trouble. The books have also afforded me the ability to get ntoiced by other editors at the big two.

    When I shopped my books around, I did stop by IMage where they were flattly rejected by Erik Larsen. He was not shy about his rejection either. I just want to close with something.

    A lot of people knock Erik Larsen. I don't. He personally did not like my books and he told me so. He didn't say I could never pitch again. He simply did not like the books I offered at the time. I must say that he is at the very least...an honest guy. A creator knows where he stands with an Erik Larsen. I feel as if I have been less fortunate in that department with Speakeasy. I just can honestly say I have no idea what they are ever up to.

    In closing, let me also say that I never found Marshall Dillon at Speakeasy to be anything other than an honest, hard working guy. Again, I do not think that the Speakeasy upper management were born bad, I just think the circumstances have created some desperity.

    Oh yeah, they sent me extra books to sell, which I intend to pay for, once everything is settled.

    Thanks for the post.

    You cleared up a lot if what I has assumed as far as the fees and such.

    saul

    p.s. i also agree with your assesment of Erik Larsen

  8. #308
    Gunsel Ravengregory's Avatar
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    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by warrenellis
    Jim Demonakos at Image says, over on The Engine:


    "Speaking as the guy whose title includes "PR & Marketing," we do everything possible to get retailers & fans to know about upcoming titles.

    "This includes, but is not limited to, getting interviews/reviews in magazines like CBG & Wizard, online articles on websites like Newsarama & CBR, press releases announcing new books, doing retailer-only previews of the books (whether online or print & send), sending promotional posters & bookmarks to stores and more.

    "This doesn't even count the Previews ad, shopping the books out for foreign licensing and even, though not often, coordinating store signings/appearances to promote the books.

    "The more promotion the creator does, the better it is, naturally, but we don't enter in to an agreement expecting that the creators are going to do all the promotion, since as the publisher, we have just as much a vested interest in making sure the book succeeds as the creator does.

    "At the end of the day, though, we naturally encourage the creator to put themselves out there to both fans and retailers. Pro-active creators tend to find themselves with more recognizable books and better orders, it's just the way it is."
    And since Jim runs Emerald City Comic Con and has a shop if anyone knows PR and Marketing it's Jimmy.

    And Erik Larsen is one of the most upfroint people you'll ever meet and that in of itself is rare.
    Raven Gregory
    Executive Editor Zenescope Entertainment
    www.zenescope.com
    JOHN 3:16
    http://twitter.com/Ravengregory
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  9. #309
    Gunsel dimeshop's Avatar
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    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    I just wanted to mention that in this week's litg , Rich put some hard questions to Adam of Speakeasy.

    I'd really like to see him (Adam) speak about the situations that creators have brought up in this thread, which has been a really eye-opening education.

  10. #310
    Hard Boiled batmanbooyah's Avatar
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    Re: Something really sucky happened today in independent comics

    Quote Originally Posted by warrenellis
    Jim Demonakos at Image says, over on The Engine:


    "Speaking as the guy whose title includes "PR & Marketing," we do everything possible to get retailers & fans to know about upcoming titles.

    "This includes, but is not limited to, getting interviews/reviews in magazines like CBG & Wizard, online articles on websites like Newsarama & CBR, press releases announcing new books, doing retailer-only previews of the books (whether online or print & send), sending promotional posters & bookmarks to stores and more.

    "This doesn't even count the Previews ad, shopping the books out for foreign licensing and even, though not often, coordinating store signings/appearances to promote the books.

    "The more promotion the creator does, the better it is, naturally, but we don't enter in to an agreement expecting that the creators are going to do all the promotion, since as the publisher, we have just as much a vested interest in making sure the book succeeds as the creator does.

    "At the end of the day, though, we naturally encourage the creator to put themselves out there to both fans and retailers. Pro-active creators tend to find themselves with more recognizable books and better orders, it's just the way it is."

    does speakeasy do any of those things? i honestly have no idea how big or small speakeasy is, or how much clout they have with their members, etc.

    thanks for the info, it was really helpful.
    http://twitter.com/johnhervatski

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