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Messages - Al Nickerson

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Creator's Rights Discussions / Dave Sim's Creative Manifesto 2...
« on: February 14, 2006, 10:02:52 AM »
Below is a letter from Dave Sim. With this letter, Dave begins revising his "Creative Manifesto". All of this was originally posted online here.

Comics Is Comics / Will Eisner audio interview...
« on: February 14, 2006, 08:03:31 AM »
Steve Bissette blogged about this great website that has a Will Eisner audio interview that can be downloaded and listened to.

Comics Is Comics / "Digital versus Traditional Inking"
« on: February 09, 2006, 07:02:12 AM »
Digital versus Traditional Inking

Being a professional comic book inker and animator, I have used a variety of tools to complete a job.

I have used a Wacom tablet. I have used pens and brushes, the traditional inking tools of the trade.

I have mentioned this in the pastÖ Iím not a big supporter of digital inking. I have used a Wacom tablet to create animation, but I think using a computer to do inking, digital inking, is really not inking.

Now, thatís just my opinion. Please withhold stone throwing for now.

I prefer using the brush and pen (a nib or quill) to ink with. After becoming adept with the craft of inking, every artist should have little problem with frayed brushes or snapping pen-points. This sort of thing mostly occurs in the beginning stages of learning how to ink.

Learning to use a brush and quill does take time to master. I think itís just far too easy for new artists to pick up a Wacom tablet and just adapt to inking before learning how line weight and feathering really works. You can only first learn these techniques by understanding, and using, a brush and pen to ink with.

Also, with the brush and quill, I find I can create far more various line weights than I can with a Wacom tablet.

As Iíve said before, in the beginning, itís ok to copy comics. Itís ok to use a pen or marker to imitate an inkerís line. But, youíre gonna have to eventually move onto using a brush and nib.

I think there are a few exceptions to this rule.

In my opinion, the only way to learn how to ink properly is ya gotta understand, and use, the tools of the trade. Brian Bolland understands how a brush and nib works. Heís been using them for years, so, now he can take that knowledge and skill and bring it over onto a computer. He doesnít even pencil his work first, and his art still looks great.

However still, I have, in the past, used a lettering guide and pen to create word balloons. Now-a-days, I do all my word balloons and lettering in Photos shop. The main reason for this is speed and the easiness of making script and spelling changes.

Ultimately, I believe that each artist should explore all the tools available to him/her and then use whatever tools he/she feels most comfortable with.

But, using a Wacom tablet to ink with? Blah, Iíll stick with my brushes.

I asked a few comic book creators how they ink their comics. Do they mostly inking digitally (using a Wacom tablet, computer, or such) or do they ink with the traditional tools of inking (ink on paper)? And why? Here's what they had to say...

Scott R. Kurtz (PvP): "I ink with a pen because I want a thick, crisp, black line. I'm no good with the Wacom tablet, so I can't ink that way. I prefer people using the Wacom as a digital pen to ink over pencils that have been scanned in. That can look good. I hate people scanning in pencils and screwing with the levels to make it LOOK inked. Unless it's for a flashback scene or something."

Brandon J. Carr (QUANTUM, BETWEEN THE PANELS): "Most of my inking is done using a Wacom tablet mainly for speed and cleanliness reasons because most of my work is intended for the web. As I'm moving more towards print, I've been using more and more traditional tools."

Greg Hyland (LETHARGiC LAD): "I ink "traditionally." I didn't believe that you could really do a good job with just something like a Wacom tablet, until I saw the work of artists that were using it exclusively, like Kyle Baker. I was amazed and it inspired me to use the tablet for more than just outlining for colouring. I use the tablet more and more, but usually only for things like fix-ups. For instance, if I had to replace the head or arm on a character, I used to redraw it, scan it in and copy and paste it on to the original file and do a few minor touchups here and there. Now I'll redraw that part right into the computer with the tablet. And I don't think you could tell that's how I did it.
However, I wouldn't want to replace having finished inked artwork on paper (heck, while I letter my comics on the computer, which I've done for about ten years now, I still print out my lettering and then paste it on my artwork, rather than doing all the lettering in the computer). While I've seen people do a really good job drawing right into the computer with the tablet, and don't want to be the person that says "it can't be done!", I think I still can do a better job inking with real ink right on the computer. And it took me almost fifteen years to get around to using a BRUSH, so why would I want to give that up now?"

Leslie W. McClaine (JONNY CROSSBONES, LIFE WITH LESLIE): "I almost never ink digitally. I like the look of a crisp, clean, but organic line, and I don't think the computer can accurately recreate that most of the time. There are exceptions: Michael Brennan does a wonderful job using Illustrator to ink his "Electric Girl" and Steve Conley's "Astounding Space Stories" looks great with its very mechanical line. Most mainstream superhero comics really lose something when they try to digitally eliminate the inker; the work ends up looking unfinished and kind of sloppy. Again, there are exceptions: I think Cory Walker's work on Invincible was inked digitally, and that looked great.
I'm no good at digital inking. I use traditional tools, because that's what I learned with. I do think that the next generation or two of cartoonists will be much more comfortable with digital media than mine and will likely produce some very interesting work with it."

Matt Talbot (JOHNNY RAYGUN): "I do all of the inking in Johnny Raygun in Illustrator. I've been inking in Illustrator for about four years now, and at this point, it's as fast for me as brush or pen inking used to be. I like inking in Illustrator because the angular nature of the vector art really complements our penciler Rich's sharp pencil style. I still bring pens and brushes to cons to sketches with, and I'll still brush ink the occasional cover or pin-up."

Logan DeAngelis (PV Comics, KU-2): "I used to consider myself a traditional "ink-under-the-fingernails" type of cartoonist, and really resisted going digital with my inking. But once I got the hang of it, I swear by my Wacom. Why? No "command-Z" option on pen & bristol board."

Rich Koslowski (Archie Comics, THE THREE GEEKS): "Iím a purist! I do my inking the right way, with a brush and ink!! And sometimes a nice little pen for the tiny details. I don't see the need or any advantages in doing inks with the computer. 'Nuff said."

Comics Is Comics / "Submitting Samples to Editors"
« on: February 09, 2006, 06:57:24 AM »
Submitting Samples to EditorsÖ

For all you aspiring comic book artists and writers out there, I figure I might give some advice concerning submitting your work to comic book editors in the hopes of getting work.

This is all advice that has worked for me in the past. It might not work for everyone else, or with all editors. Ultimately, youíre gonna have to decided what works best for you, but hereís a good place to startÖ

First, search for a book that might suit your style. Also, find an editor you think might like your work. Send them the copies of your samples (either pencils or inks and the original Xeroxed pencils). Wait a week and then give the editor a call back. Some editors are nice. Some are big stinkers. But, be persistent until an editor says, "No" (advice given to me by ex-DC Comics editor Dan Raspler).

Forget about Marvelís and DCís submissionís department. They canít give you a job.

Ya gotta find an editor that likes you and your work. This ain't easy (at least for me). The competition is tough. It takes plenty of time making copies of your work, submitting samples to editors, and making follow up calls. It can certainly be a pain in the butt! However, this is the ONLY way you can make it in the comic book field because THESE are the ONLY people that can give you work. They hire ya, they fire ya, and they tell you what to do. So, don't bother sending samples to "Submissions Editors". They're usually some pimple-faced jerk working his way through college. These guys don't have the power to hire you or sign the checks.

When mailing samples, add a cover letter with your info, experience, education and the type of skills you have (i.e.: pencilling, inking, so forth). Mail the samples to Marvel Comics or DC Comics (or other publisher) in attention to the editor youíre seeking work from.

A good idea is to paste artwork on your envelope. Also use envelopes that are brightly colored (green, orange, etcÖ). This way, your package will stand out from the dozens of packages on an editorís desk. This will also make it easier for the editor to remember and locate your package of samples.

Most editors will mail you Xeroxes of pencil pages if you explain you're trying to be an inker and want to submit inking samples. Actually, you can also ask the submissions department of each company for Xerox pencils. This is probably the only thing these folks are good for.

You can than ink the Xeroxes on a sheet of tracing paper. Itís a pain, but that way you can show editors what the pencils look like and what your inks look like.

Sending e-mails is a smart idea, too. I would only recommend sending jpegs or links to your work to editors that you have already established a relationship with. Most editors wonít even read e-mails from people they donít know. Editors are very busy people, so they might not like surfing' around to look at someone's samples. You donít want to pester an editor, either.

But, remember, mailing editors print outs is the best way for editors to look at samples.

It is hard work submitting samples to editors. Editors get tons of submissions, and ya got to make sure you do your research so you donít waste any of your time. Find an editor and book thatís appropriate for your style, and make sure your submissions stand out.

Also note that this column concerning submissions to editors only includes samples to get work as freelance artists, letterers, and such. It doesnít include submitting original ideas or creator-owned properties to publishers. Thatís a totally different topic.

Marvel, for example, asks that you sign a submission form before sending them new ideas for their books. They also, to a great degree, arenít taking any submissions to publish creator-owned comics.

DC Comics, as far as I have heard, has a closed-door policy concerning submitting ideas for creator-owned comics.

I hope this advice helps anyone seeking a career in comics. Good luck.

Creator's Rights Discussions / Contract: Creators working with Creators
« on: February 06, 2006, 03:30:08 PM »
Not too long ago, webcomics cartoonist Brandon Carr and I had agreed to do a team-up where my character, Nihilist-Man, would appear in Brandonís webcomic The Kenmore. So, episode 27 of The Kenmore began a multi-part epic co-starring my "rockin'" (as Brandon had put it) superhero Nihilist-Man. Brandon and I co-wrote the story while Brandon was kept busy illustrating the strips. Soon, "hilarity to hilaritize and the action to action" (as Brandon had put it) began.

Brandon and I decided to draw up a contract for the team-up in hopes of protecting each of interests and rights to our creations. The contract states that Brandon and I each own our characters. We can print the team-up strips whenever and however we want. We donít expect any money from each other if we reprint the comics.

Iím very happy with this contract, and I believe this is such a great contract for creators that want to work with other creators on creator-owned projects.

So, in keeping on the topic of The Creatorís Bill of Rights, I have posted below our contract. I originally posted the contract here.

The Kenmore and Nihilist-Man Team-up story
(a.k.a.: The Kenmore webcomic episodes 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35) agreement

Under the Team-up agreement, each party acknowledges the followingÖ The Kenmore, Iago, Andrew and all related characters are TM and copyright 2005 Brandon J. Carr. Nihilist-Man and all related characters are TM and copyright 2005 Albert Gordon Nickerson Jr.. Dr. Ugly is TM and copyright 2005 Brandon J. Carr and Albert Gordon Nickerson Jr.. All rights are reserved.

Both parties agree that each party can print the Team-up story in any form, in either print or digital format, that they wish without the approval or permission of the other party.

Both parties agree that there are no financial expectations from one another concerning the Team-up story.

Name: ________________________

Signature: _____________________

Date: _________________________

Name: ________________________

Signature: _____________________

Date: _________________________

Comics Is Comics / "Comics is Comics"
« on: January 15, 2006, 08:43:13 AM »
"Comics is Comics"

Comics is comics. I donít care if ya read your comics on your computer or if ya read them on slick glossy paper. To me thereís really no difference. Comics are comics are comics.

In a time when the comics industry is struggling to survive, it annoys me whenever I see creators or fans taking sides between print comics and webcomics. Comics are comics, regardless. Seeing this divide, and the occasional mud-slinging between the two groups, is not good for us. Itís certainly not good for the artform.

Debating on whether print comics or webcomics are better, which is more lasting, or which is purer to the artform is just a silly debate. Are print comics the old dinosaur waiting to die? Are webcomics just created by a bunch of no-talent hacks that couldnít get work at a big comic book publisher?

Weíre wasting our time fighting amongst ourselves.

Iíve seen plenty of webcomics creators bad-mouth print comics on their websites or forums. Why? I donít get it. Sure big comic book publishers have a horrid history of treating creators poorly, but why criticize all print comics?

Like it or not, the survival of print comics means the survival of the comic book artform as a whole.

Also, Iím seeing so much anger and criticism growing towards webcomics these days. I just donít understand this great need for people to worry about who did what, where, and when, how important he or she really is, or if webcomics are relevant or not. Of course webcomics are relevant!

Webcomics allow a creator total freedom and control of his/her work. He/She doesnít have to worry about an editor making changes to his/her work. Creativity is almost endless! Webcomics afford the creator to not have to worry about the complications that come with dealing with printers and distributors. And it can be (almost) entirely free to create.

We need to stick together. We need to stop all the name-calling, back-stabbing, and infighting. We need to work together to build the industry we love so much, not help tear it down.

All of us who read comics, love comics. So, if weíre going to judge a comic, it should be judged on itís content, not if itís a webcomic or print comic.

So, letís all stop the bad behavior, because if we want comics to survive, we need to start acting like adults, and begin working together. Divided we fall.

ĎCuz comics is comics.

I recently asked a few comics creators what they thought of this topic, and hereís what some of them had to sayÖ

Terry Moore (STRANGERS IN PARADISE): "It would be wrong if there were no comics on the internet, so it seems obvious to me to find them there. An awful lot of comics and creators can be found only on the internet, so I'm grateful for the medium. It would be awful if the only comics and creators we had in the world were mainstream stars."

Joe Staton (FEMME NOIR, E-MAN, SCOOBY-DOO): "I figure that anytime you put pictures in a sequence to tell a story, you can call it comics. One of these days, we'll have some object we can hold in our hands and flip the pages and do the interactive things all at once and it won't bother us at all that we once thought paper pamphlets and plasma screens were at odds."

Rich Woodall (JOHNNY RAYGUN): "I do think it's interesting that anyone would put down web comics, it's merely another format to present your work in. It seems kinda silly that anyone would have a beef with how someone wants to present their work. It's just another form of art."

DJ Coffman (YIRMUMAH, LIONXOR): "I know I can rant on and on about that. I know there are many people in the web community ONLY because they couldnít A: afford to print, B: They werenít good enough to get picked up by ANY Publishers, or C: They failed with their projects and now take Ďem online in some form. --- thatís not everyoneóbut many of those people become REALLY bitter and backhanded about the comic book industry, or anything PRINT. Anything that failed them. They should have kept the faith. Soon, the playing field will be a little more level with stuff like that."

Matt Talbot (JOHNNY RAYGUN QUARTERLY): "It is sort of a silly argument--comics are comics, regardless of format. If the web is exposing more people to comics--people who don't go in comic shops and wouldn't be reading otherwise--then that's a good thing. As far as creators and fans taking sides, well, that's nothing new. Everyone seems to like defending their views on a variety of comic 'issues' outside of print vs. web. You'll have your indy fans putting down super-hero books and vice versa. Your Marvel fans vs. DC fans, etc etc. Comic fans seem to be afraid of the unknown. I've never given much thought to it, really. I like comics, plain and simple--no matter what form they take."

Steve Conley (ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS, BLOOP): "I agree with you entirely. The real definition of comics doesn't change when you move the work from one medium to another. The creative process may, the planning should and the execution must differ between print work and web work. As storytellers, we have to take into account HOW the audience will be experiencing what we've created but that's the end of it. The argument of print vs. web is silly. And all the player(s) in the debate strike me as either goofy or grandstanding self-promoters. I think the reason the debate evaporated quickly was that comics fans found real subjects to argue about like if The Thing is stronger than The Hulk or just how bad that Catwoman movie is going to be."

Walt Simonson (THOR, ORION, ELRIC: THE MAKING OF A SORCERER): "I don't know that I can offer any insightful comment about the subject at hand--web comics vs. print comics--except to say that I didn't even know there WAS an on-going debate about the matter.  And now that I know it, I'll probably do my best to forget about it as quickly as possible.  My deadlines are much more immediate!"

Scott McCloud (ZOT, UNDERSTANDING COMICS): "Alas, it would take a month for me to say it all, Al."

Comics Is Comics / "Christians and Comics: A Chat with Terry Moore"
« on: January 15, 2006, 08:35:05 AM »
"Christians and Comics: A Chat with Terry Moore"

There are, and have been, Christian artists that have involved themselves in artforms that arenít necessarily labeled as "Christian". For example, Elvis Presley was a Christian, but he wasnít making what many believe to be "Christian Music" when he started out. In fact, many felt his songs were "devil music".

There are Christian comic books, but like with the example of Elvis Presley, there are also Christian comic book creators who make comic books that may not have heavy Christian themes, or be labeled as "Christian comic books". These same creators work for all sorts of comic book publishers like Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Some of these Christian comic book creators are self-publishers, too.

Where are these Christian comic book creators? Who are they? What are they working on? And how does their Christian faith play a part in their work, and their attitude toward the comic book industry?

These questions boggled my mind.

So, I went about finding the answers to these questions. In doing so, I will be writing a series of columns titled "Christians and Comics". Here, I will chat with other comic book creators to find out how they feel about the topic of Christianity and comics.

First up is STRANGERS IN PARADISE creator, Terry MooreÖ

Al Nickerson: So, you are a Christian?

Terry Moore: Yes.
Nickerson: How long have you been a Christian?

Moore: I was baptized by submersion in the Church Of Christ when I was ten.

Nickerson: How does your faith affect your views as a comic book creator?

Moore: As a writer it affects my point of view of the world and people and their actions, and this carries into stories, what I want from them. There are times when I feel a conscience about what I leave in my wake (work-wise). There haven't been any consequences in the business world or fan world.  

Nickerson: Has your Christian beliefs ever played a part in you turning down a lucrative offer because it conflicted with your religious beliefs?

Moore: No. I never get lucrative offers!

Nickerson: Iíve received a bit of prejudice for being a Christian during my time as an animator. Not so much in comics, though. Have you ever received any grief for being a Christian creator in comics? Do you find that it helps being a Christian in the dog-eat-dog world of comics, or does it not even matter?

Moore: I can't say I've experienced any significant grief in this business for my faith, only the natural separation that you find between people when you meet someone you don't agree with.

Nickerson: I am a fan of STRANGERS IN PARADISE. One of my favorite characters is David. David is a Christian, and you have shown the character dealing with his faith. What led you to make David a Christian? And what kind of response have you received from readers concerning this?

Moore: I wanted a Christian in the story because there aren't any I can think of in mainstream comics. I suppose there are, but I'm not aware of them. It was kind of a rebellion thing for me. Like, why are defenders of free speech always defending porn, why not public prayer? That kind of thing. So I made a Christian character as a counterpoint to all the dark characters. We need balance in the world, it can't all be hot sauce!

Nickerson: Thatís an interesting point you made about protecting prayer. Do you think thereís a stigma towards Christianity today? Do you feel that the general public refuses to protect things that are important to Christians, such as prayer or the Ten Commandants in court buildings, for example?

Moore: Yes.

Nickerson: STRANGERS IN PARADISE is a wonderful comic. I have always thought that you handle violence, sexual themes, and other adult subject matter very tastefully. Do you ever find yourself having to hold back creatively in the case of offending any of your readers?

Moore: Oh yes, every issue. I self-censor myself constantly. I hold back everything. Only a smidgen of what I see in my head every sees print. Just because I can conceive it doesn't mean I should make it.

Nickerson: Is there any subject matter that you would not include in your comics?

Moore: Hurting children or animals. I can't stand that. And of course, disrespecting God and blasphemy. I may write about people who do it, just as the Bible writers did, but never as a writer setting himself against God.

Nickerson: I am a big supporter of The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. However, protecting Free Speech means we might, at times, be protecting the rights of people or artists that produce material that we may find offensive. Now, Iím not gay, and Iím not against using violence in comics if itís done tastefully and proves useful to the story. However, there are some comics that, I feel, border on the line of soft-core pornography. There are also some comics that are overly violent, and use violence only as shock value. Do you find such comics offensive? Or do you just ignore these comics all together?

Moore: I think God judges us by our hearts and actions, not by the comics we read. But I am not entertained by comics that wallow in darkness. I prefer hope, and not the "self-reliance pitted against a world-gone-mad!" kind either. That only works in stories.

Nickerson: "The Passion Of The Christ", for me, was certainly a very faith strengthening film.  Have you watched "The Passion Of The Christ"?  Did the film have any sort of impact on you?

Moore: I found it to be enlightening. I appreciated hearing the language and seeing the closest thing yet to accurate settings in a film.

Nickerson: What comic books are you reading now-a-days?

Moore: Jane's World, DC: The New Frontier, PlasticMan, Batman: Harley and Ivy.

Nickerson: Do you read any Online Comics?

Moore: I like PVP and Penny Arcade. I cruise the editorial cartoonists sites and comic strip sites.

Nickerson: Thank you for the interview, Terry. And thanks for being so forthcoming with your views.

Moore: You're welcome.

To understand the origins of The Creator's Bill of Rights, here's the creator's themselves explaining some of the events that led to the creation of Dave Sim's Creative Manifesto which, in turn, led to the creation of The Creator's Bill of Rights...

Dave Sim: "The question was basically "Where do a self-publisherís Ďrights to choose how to run his own businessí end and a distributorsí start?""

Steve Bissette: "There was at least a couple preliminary meetings on these issues that were held between a group of us -- myself, Steve Murphy, Michael Zulli, Rick Veitch, Peter Laird -- just before Dave contacted us. We met once in Brattleboro, VT at a local outdoor fast-food place, and at least once in Northampton. These were prompted by the Puma Blues situation [in retaliation for Dave Simís mail-order only release of High Society, Diamond Distribution refused to carry Puma Blues]. After that, as I recall, there were three Dave Sim-sponsored summits in all; for those of us who had been involved in the prior meetings, these were of a piece, though Iím sure that wasnít the case for those outside that immediate New England circle. Dave had his own agenda, which he can articulate just fine. As for the summits Dave organized, there was one that was held at a restaurant in an inn or restaurant around Springfield, Massachusetts. Dave subsequently invited a group up to Toronto for the second summit."

Dave Sim: "At the time of the Toronto Summit and the preliminary meetings in Northampton and with Alan Moore and Frank Miller, it seemed the best way to determine jurisdiction was to follow the progress of a creative work from its creation to the point where it is purchased by the consumer and consider where and when control over the creation changes handsóIF it changes handsóand to draw the lines as sharply as possible as general rules of conduct and then present them to Diamond Comic Distributors as a proposal from our side of the fence to their side of the fence and to solicit feedback from them so we could arrive at some conclusions that would prevent a situation like this from coming up again in the future."

Steve Bissette: "As I said, I believe the first meeting was in Springfield, Massachusetts at a restaurant. It was Dave, a group of the (Teenage Mutant Ninja) Turtle guys, Rick Veitch was there, Steve Murphy and Michael Zulli, the Puma Blues creators. I think that was the core group that met at the restaurant. Then, building on that, Dave organized the summit in Toronto. The was Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman, Steve Murphy, Michael Zulli, myself, and Iím not sure who else was there. There were a number of people who couldnít make it to that trip or who hadnít been invited up. It wasnít a shut-out thing. As I recall, Dave was sponsoring all of this, and was working to keep this core group of activists and potential activists engaged. I know that core group was there. There was the Mirage Studio group, Puma Blues, and myself. That culminated in the final and decisive Northampton, Massachusetts summit."

Rick Veitch: "I believe Scott McCloud wrote a rough draft and brought it with him to the Northampton Creator's Summit. When he brought it up at the first meeting it caught everyone's attention and the group decided to try and see if we could hone it into something complete and substantial. I'm not sure why Scott first drafted it, but the reason I felt it worth defining was that many creators did not know what their rights to their own work were at that time. I knew loads of artists and writers who just assumed if they were being paid the company owned whatever they did. This was especially the situation at the big comic book companies who had a history of assuming everything; often without any paper being passed. Young creators, and there were many in the mid 1980's, needed guidance in these ownership matters."

Scott McCloud: "I wrote the original draft (of The Creator's Bill of Rights). It was mostly in response to the Creative Manifesto which had been put together by the first of those summits. Iím not sure who had penned the original. When I was invited to the Northampton summit, I was given a copy of the Creative Manifesto. Reading it over, I thought it might be more appropriate, since this was a unilateral gesture that we were making, to have it less in the form of a pseudo-contract or statement of principles of the sort that the Creative Manifesto seemed to be striving for and more just a declaration of our intentions as individuals. So, I thought a bill of rights was more appropriate, since thatís the sort of thing you can unilaterally declare. A statement of the way we intended to conduct our business, without any real expectation of how anyone else will behave. I felt at the time that creators had far more power than they gave themselves credit for within the industry."

Steve Bissette: "Scott really realized that (the Creative) ManifestoÖ the Manifesto was a sprawl, ya know? It was well-intentioned, but all over the place."

An Introduction to The Creatorís Bill of RightsÖ

I donít have to tell you how comic book creators have been abused in our history. I donít have to tell you about how certain editors or publishers stole ideas or creations from freelancers. I donít have to tell you about the fight for the return of artwork to those who created the art. I donít have to tell you about the right for creators to receive royalties to their work.

However, I do have to tell you that if you think all these issues were of the past, that things have changed, then youíre dead wrong.

Although things have gotten better for comic book creators, freelancers, artists, and writers, these same people continue to be taken advantage of by others.

Back in 1988, a group of comic book creators got together to see what they can do about protecting the rights of comic book creators. From these series of summits, specifically at Northampton, Massachusetts, The Creatorís Bill of Rights was created.

The participants of the Billís creation included Scott McCloud, Dave Sim, Gerhard, Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Larry Marder, Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Mark Martin, Steve Murphy, Michael Zulli, Eric Talbot, Ken Mitchroney, Michael Dooney, Steve Lavigne, Craig Farley, Jim Lawson and Ryan Brown. Please forgive me if Iíve forgotten to include anyone.

Following are the details to The Creatorís Bill of Rights that I swiped from Scott McCloudís website (thanks, Scott). Also, please note that Scott McCloud points out that: "This version of the Bill is my proposed "final draft" with annotations as it appeared in The Comics Journal. The original Summit version spoke of control of format and distribution rather than approval and included an additional article about labeling which had been a hot topic at the time, but should be adequately covered by format."

For the survival and health of comics, we recognize that no single system of commerce and no single type of agreement between creator and publisher can or should be instituted. However, the rights and dignity of creators everywhere are equally vital.

Our rights, as we perceive them to be and intend to preserve them, are:
1.The right to full ownership of what we fully create.

2.The right to full control over the creative execution of that which we fully own.

3.The right of approval over the reproduction and format of our creative property.

4.The right of approval over the methods by which our creative property is distributed.

5.The right to free movement of ourselves and our creative property to and from publishers.

6.The right to employ legal counsel in any and all business transactions.

7.The right to offer a proposal to more than one publisher at a time.

8.The right to prompt payment of a fair and equitable share of profits derived from all of our creative work.

9.The right to full and accurate accounting of any and all income and disbursements relative to our work.

10.The right to prompt and complete return of our artwork in its original condition.

11.The right to full control over the licensing of our creative property.

12.The right to promote and the right of approval over any and all promotion of ourselves and our creative property.

Over the years, I would start thinking about The Creator's Bill of Rights and how I can, in some way, make people aware of it again. One idea Iíve had been mulling over for some time was to interview the Billís creators, get their insights and recollections of the Bill. I was curious to see what they thought of the Bill today, if it was still valid, and if not, how then could the Bill be tweaked for todayís comic book industry.

I had e-mailed Scott McCloud about The Creator's Bill of Rights on a couple of occasions. I had told Scott that I was interested in writing something about the Bill for Ya Canít Erase InkÖ. Finally, things went into full swing when I asked Dave Sim about the Bill. So, that got Dave thinking, and he suggested we try and write some sort of article about the Bill for Following Cerebus.

In March of 2005, I began interviewing the various participants who were involved in the making of The Creators Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, I was unable to contact or interview all of the participates, while others didnít want to be interviewed.

The Creatorís Bill of Rights is a vital part of our industry, and should remain so. Itís still important to print comics because the reasons it was formed in the first place still remain. The comic book industry still hasnít made the major changes that impede on the rights of creators.

Even though Online Comics creators have ownership and control of their comics, they should remain aware of the Bill and of their inherent rights as creators. This is even more important when Online Comics creators move to put their comics into print. Also, keep in mind, that at some point, Online Comics will become profitable. At this time, I believe that the large comic book publishers will become more interested in Online Comics and their creators. So itís important that these creators are fully aware of their rights so that that the abuses done to creators in the past do not happen to them.
The Creatorís Bill of Rights is such a heavy and detailed topic. All itís points can not be fully covered here. I hope that the Bill will continue to be discussed by comic book creators, especially those who participated in itís creation. Only by continued discussion can the Billís impact be significant in the comics industry.

Creator's Rights Discussions / Welcome!
« on: January 11, 2006, 12:59:01 PM »
Back in March of 2005, I started talking with Scott McCloud, Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, and Dave Sim about 1988ís Creatorís Bill of Rights. I was curious to see if the Bill was still relevant today, and wondered how far our community has come since the creation of the Bill.

Since the start of these new discussions on creatorís rights, I have been pleased to have such wonderful comic book creators contribute to the talks. Here, we featured new conversations and interviews with Scott McCloud, Dave Sim, Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Mark Martin, Denis Kitchen, and Erik Larsen. Thanks guys.

However, I found that we needed an official forum where creators and fans can stop by to freely add their insights and opinions.

So on March 6, 2006, in honor of Will Eisnerís birthday, Brandon Carr, Chuck Morrison, and myself have launched this message board. This is the place where anyone and everyone can join in the talks on The Creatorís Bill of Rights and creator's rights in general.

I want to thank Chuck and Brandon for all their hard work in putting this forum together.

Creatorís rights is a topic that is very dear to many of us. For only continued discussions on this subject further much needed change for comic book artists and creators.

So, welcome.

And please feel free to speak up, speak loudly, and speak often. :D

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