Harlan Ellison forms ‘Comic Book Legal Offense Fund’ in wake of Watchmen lawsuit

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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15 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does Harlan look like he wants to cry in that image? (I'd say picture, but the watch is clearly a digital enhancement.)I say screw the little guy. Let'em work hard and stab people in the back and claw their way up like everyone before them had to. It's not supposed to be fair, no one ever said it should be!As for the publishers, stop paying all of the writers, colorists, inkers, letterers, stick figure drawers, and editors. Immediately. Make them all sign iron-clad contracts saying you own whatever they produce for you, as long as you pay for it up front. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER BUSINESS ON EARTH! Has there ever been a plumber who came up with a unique way to shovel the shit out of your house who demanded to keep getting paid every time you flushed? How about a roofer asking to get paid each time the rain doesn't fall on your head? Or a computer geek that wants money each and every time you put 2 numbers into a calculator and it adds them correctly? Get it yet? The truly dim will blather on about "unique" this and "original" that as if it matters one iota. Weak minded simplistic cow flop!Unless, of course, you want to pay me a nickle every time somebody eyeballs this commentary…

    • mike weber says:

      Go troll so,ewhere else.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      Hey Anonymous, this is an April Fools Gag, right? This is why I hate April Fools. I'm so gullible and really have no sense of humor. I can't tell if this is serious or a piss take.

  2. Anonymous says:

    addendum: I didn't mean Harlan in particular when I said "screw the little guy." I meant all the little people, not just him.if he wants to make a legal defense fund for the height impaired, he is still free to do so. maybe he can call it the lollipop guild.

  3. Tony Isabella says:

    I've been using "Comic Book Legal Offense Fund" in my columns for years…usually when I talk about how well DC treats freelancers. But, since it's my pal Harlan, he can have it for a dollar. Which I'll use to send nude photos of Glenn to his many fan.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What industries continue to pay out royalties for products sold to the public? A short list: The publishing industry, the film industry (payment of royalties was what the writer's strike was about), and hmm, what else? Oh right, EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY ON THE PLANET. You see honey, in the real world people are paid for the value of their work, which is usually defined as how much money it makes the company that sells the item. If the originator of the item has the right to either negotiate for upfront payment or royalties as he sees fit. If the company doesn't want to do either of those things they are free to go elsewhere and so is the originator. Adults call that the free market. If the two parties freely enter a contract for a certain amount of compensation in return for the product, both parties are bound to honor that contract. If the terms of that contract are violated be either, then other has the right to go to court get their promised compensation. That's called patent law and copyright law, two special grown-up words that I'm sure you'll understand someday. And yes, there was a plumber who patented a unique way to flush shit. His name was Thomas Crapper, who invented the modern flush toilet. The patents he took out didn't demand compensation every time someone flushed, but it did specify that the invention belonged to him and no one could make money off his devices without paying for him first. These patents protected his hard work and kept people from stabbing him in the back. They also made him a millionaire. Which is what this is about, retard: money equal to the value of the work you do. If the work of the artists, writers, colorists, letterers, inkers, etc, is valuable, then they should be paid for it, in the manner specified in their contracts. If it isn't valuable, the comic companies wouldn't bother licensing their products or paying royalties. But they do, because people like you buy the comics and watch the movies. That's the way it works. And yes, it actually is supposed to be a fair process, both for the creators and the companies, which is why copyright and patent law was created in the first place. If you want to actually educate yourself about the subject, you should probably start with these articles: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/PatentHopefully, they won't tax your limited understanding too much.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excuse me, that should be: "THE originator of the item has the right to either negotiate for upfront payment or royalties as he sees fit."And:"If the two parties freely enter a contract for a certain amount of compensation in return for the product, both parties are bound to honor that contract. If the terms of that contract are violated BY either, then THE other has the right to go to court TO get their promised compensation."Also:"If it isn't valuable, the comic companies wouldn't bother licensing their products or NEGOTIATING royalties."Oh, and one more thing: If you bothered to educate yourself, you'd know that the Marvel and DC only started offering royalties in the early 80s because independent companies were already doing it, so the practice began as way of retaining valuable talent. That's called "competition", another word you've apparently never heard of.

  6. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Why is this guy talking to himself?There's just about one scenario where a renegotiation is a reasonable idea – when the item in question turns out to be FAR more valuable than the creator realized, but the one buying the rights DID. So most of the scenarios you hear about with actors, creators, etc, including big ones like Siegel and Schuster (I know there's more involved, but I'm just namedropping) are NOT examples of that. 60 years ago no one had ever HEARD of reruns, let alone DVD sales, so no one thought to sign a contract that included clauses for them (except Audrey Meadows, thanks to her brother-in-law). Nowadays, they have clauses to the effect of "any use or re-use of this work, including media not yet invented" to cover that. But back then, boom, nothing.Legally the companies don't have to do anything. However it's often a good idea to do it ANYway, partially for PR purposes and partially if the person in question is someone they want to work with again in the future, or has the ear of people they wish to work with. Also, there's the chance that if they don't, the person will take them to court where emotion often rules over facts and numbers. The sizable thank you checks DC sent to denny, Neal Adams and the job they gave Jerry Robinson are all examples of that.Now if someone signs a bad contract and it can be PROVEN that the other guy had inside knowledge (the famous "the train's coming through" example leaps to mind) that's another issue. But National Periodicals didn't look into the future and see the billions of dollars Superman made and deliberately give S&S 34 dollars in beads.Oh, wait, that's another contract.

  7. Ian Fowler says:

    "like that blond harpy who thinks if she insults enough comics she'll get a job on Fox and Friends."Who is this in reference to?

    • George Haberberger says:

      "like that blond harpy who thinks if she insults enough comics she'll get a job on Fox and Friends."Who is this in reference to?Debbie Schlussel. There is a link on the right side of this page.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      Debbie Schlussel. A real Right Wing-Nut blogger. A Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter wannabe. But Ms. Schlussel mixes in a complete lack of writing skill in with her bigoty, slander and Paranoid Islaamaphobic Delusions. I'm not sure if she's capable of coherent thought let alone cogent writing. If all the Conservative Columnists, Talk Show Hosts and Bloggers were Chimpanzees in the Zoo, Debbie Schlussel would be flinging the most poo.

  8. don Hillsman II says:

    Hey,this is a great idea! Wonder could I use the comic book legal offense funds to get the 6000.00 + Comicmix owes me.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      This is the first time I've seen the "I'm leaving a snarky comment in an effort to collect a debt" tack used. Although, your comment is date and time stamped, so you might be able to present this in small claims court as evidence that you have contacted ComicMix about the debt.Don, I've seen your name connected with The Original Johnson. Great work, some beautiful pages. The Original Johnson remains one of the most exciting projects ComicMix has attempted and the artwork been superior throughout it's very short run. Your inks have been a seemingly seamless match with Trevor Von Eeden's own. That's no small accomplishment!But, so far, about 30 pages of your work has been published on ComicMix. You weren't promised $200 a page, were you? How many pages have you inked? Are you still working on it? Any guesses as to when we will see more pages of The Original Johnson? Right now, the comic has been on hiatus for longer than it was published! Do you think money troubles are keeping The Original Johnson from being published? I know, it's probably unprofessional to announce your page rates in the comments on an Internet News Story. But Don, it speaks to both your level of frustration with ComicMix and your level of professionalism that you began airing your dispute here. Or was your comment "Just in Jest," in the Spirit of April Fool's Day, like this article?

  9. Tony Isabella says:

    It's truly amazing how many fans simply assume facts not in evidence in championing publishers over freelancers. Now I fully admit I do not know the facts of the dispute mentioned above…and that includes not knowing if the publisher was contacted by the freelancer prior to the post, not knowing what the original contracts called for, and so on and so on. There's a whole range of things I don't know and which Russ doesn't know either. Which doesn't stop him from attacking the freelancer.The history of comics is filled with publishers cheating freelancers. But I'm not going to assume wrongdoing on either Don's or ComixMix's parts when I'm not in possession of the facts.I will say I can fully understand why a freelancer's frustration in dealing with a publisher might find expression in public posts. Sometimes it's the only way to get a publisher's attention.I hope the situation can be resolved to everyone's benefit and satisfaction . But, as I'm sure my friends here at ComixMix will understand, my natural inclination is to side with the freelancer.Blame experience.Tony Isabella

    • Russ Rogers says:

      I would not call saying that Don Hillman's work "great work, some beautiful pages;" "superior" or "seamless" with Trevor Von Eeden's art an attack on the man. Rather, I would call that Glowing Praise.I do think that it's strange and unprofessional to deal with a debt in the comments section of a site. But that was not intended as an attack on Don Hillsman II, just an observation. I'm trying hard to not take sides. I even speculated that Don's comment might be a continuation of The April Fool's Day joke in the original article, but I have a poor sense of humor, so I sometimes don't recognize things as "jokes" when they are meant to be funny. I have trouble knowing when someone is pulling my leg.Don says that he is owed $60……00+ from ComicMix. I assumed that was for his work on The Original Johnson, but Don doesn't say. Don doesn't say how much work he did, but that would, in effect, give away his page rate. Don doesn't say how long he has been owed $60……00+. So we can only guess at his frustration. Has ComicMix made any payments to Don? Do they even acknowledge the debt? We don't know.I was also expressing my personal frustrations (as a reader and fan) that The Original Johnson has been delayed for three months now. At this point, it doesn't surprise me all that much to hear that payments to the freelancers on the Original Johnson have been delayed as well. (Now somebody's going to think I'm attacking ComicMix!) ComicMix had to undergo some dramatic and unexpected restructuring last fall. My guess (and I love farting out of my mouth by guessing) is that the "Investment Capital" financing ComicMix was tied up in stocks. When those stocks unexpectedly fell so did ComicMix's working capital. Another similar guess, is that the Investment Capital that ComicMix was expecting from it's backers dried up suddenly when the markets fell. It amounts to the same thing. Maybe Google restructured the way it was paying for advertising. Point is, something happened to the money. It stopped flowing. Maybe ComicMix has a contract that pays for the work as it gets uploaded. If ComicMix can't pay the freelancers, it can't upload the work. Work that freelancers were assured would get up loaded (and thus paid for) by now, can't because the money isn't there to pay them.The ironic thing is, ComicMix is also a NEWS site, but there is rarely much news about ComicMix on it, so butt-heads like me are left to guess.