See yesterday's comments. Steve and Al are obviously very passionate about the whole Rights / Summit thing, and God Bless 'Em.
I'll address the questions that have come up, and that's it from me. God forgive me, I just can't get motivated to take up my flag and storm the castles of Marvel and DC. The whole thing seems obvious to me.
1. Look at what a company is offering you.
a. If you like the deal, go for it.
b. If you don't like the deal, don't go for it.
It's really that simple. There isn't even a #2. Perhaps there are young cartoonists out there who don't yet know that (shrill-ly) "KIRBY GOT FUCKED!!!" Perhaps there are naive young (or old) greenhorns who aren't familiar with the concept of intellectual property. In fact, I am sure of it. I'll stop saying perhaps.
That being the case. we summitteers should have all thrown $5 on the table and bought an ad in CBG saying "Dear Friends - You don't have to take what your publisher offers you. Remember, you created it, you can own it lock, stock and barrel."
I am oversimplifying, as grouchy old farts are prone to do. But you get the idea.
The whole idea of Unionizing - well, that's for another day. Don't have time to go into it right now. So I'll oversimplify.
- Too many scabs in the comics field.
- Even if we COULD unionize, is the world really going to care if the flow of comics is interrupted when we strike?
- Unions were a good idea when people were treated like shit. Now they suck.
I truly wish I had time to pontificate and dissect, but honestly I don't even have time to do my homework. I have not read the many many articles, interviews, etc etc etc on this subject, and probably never will. It's interesting, but can't seem to gain any real priority in my life. All I know is, sitting and listening to two people argue over whether or not we should refer to comics as "product" for what seemed like an eternity nearly killed me! By the time they got to whether or not it was ethical to sign a contract, I was catatonic.
On to the answers!
Steve: "I wish you'd spoken up! "
me: I did. I was not heard. I am not a Booming Passionate Crusader. The BPCs came in with their agenda. And like you say, it was not a BAD thing. And for all I knew, it WAS the agenda... so...
Steve: "you and I brainstorm, using RUNAWAY as the catalyst"
me: THANK YOU! Very much, seriously. I am actually quite glad to have Fantagraphics promoting me, but if you have any schemes you'd like to share and implement, GO GO GO! I am also MORE THAN GLAD to have a PUBLISHER handle all the soliciting, distributors, convention plans etc etc. I like to draw comics, I hate to run a business.
Steve: "Hugs and kisses"
me: NO TONGUES!
Al: "I continue to believe that The Creator’s Bill of Rights that you guys put together is still important"
me: So do I, Al. I really do, contrary to all of the above. I think the concept of making people aware that there are options is a good thing. But I truly think it is very simple and very obvious. I also think there are people who'd give their left nut to work on Batman or Spiderman, no matter what. And who can blame them? Superhero comics supersuck, but working on one gains you instant celebrity, and you can then go on to publish Rubber Blanket and sell your original art for outrageous fortunes.
Steve: "I'm curious, do you recall where you got that idea from? I recall the entire Mirage crew there (or damn near); was that the perception/expectation that, for you, emerged from Mirage? I know at that time you still lived in Alabama, far away from Northampton -- but you made the trip up, didn't you? And you were working with Mirage on your historic TMNT issues -- I don't want to presume anything, though. Just hoping you can recall and articulate where your expectations for the summit stemmed from."
me: Yes, don't presume! Yes, Kevin very generously invited me up for what he, too, thought would be a very productive meeting (and I'm not saying it was not - just different than I expected). But as you say, apparently the agenda was not clearly nailed down. I probably assumed a lot. Nobody misled me, even unintentionally. Also, I don't want to leave an impression that I went to a lot of trouble coming all the way up from Alabama. Mirage was very generous to provide hotel rooms etc for everybody, including wives and kids. It was a free vacation! The trip itself and the accomodations were a wonderful gift.
Steve: "If you have the time, check out Dave Sim's earliest letters on Al's site. Dave details the "Manifesto" that was the original intended center of discussion at the summit."
me: I'll try...