Bissette Blathers Into 2012
2012, Week 1: Context is Everything
As noted at the end of 2011, I’m cutting back my blogging to once per week; too many pressing projects and obligations to continue daily (or almost daily) posts. I’ll keep ‘em meaty, still, or link to meatier Bissette blather current elsewhere online—as I can today!
If you care to spend some time with me, jump on over
That should provide an ample Bissette “fix” for the first week of the new year!
Which leads me to
which was about a very particular situation on a very particular project with a very particular collaborator, and wasn’t intended to tar either creative collaboration nor advocate for work-for-hire.
as did my old FantaCo pal Roger Green on his comment to the original Myrant post.
“I found a bit odd the way Graeme McMillan presented this link to a Steve Bissette piece on not being able to release 1963 material because of Alan Moore‘s active disinterest. I had a similar experience to Steve in terms of losing out on such a gig because of another creator’s choice, and while I was of course similarly disappointed, I don’t think I would ever say my situation was a case against creator ownership, or even against collaboration.”
Nor did I; I merely noted how ironic all this is, which seems utterly self-evident, given my positions for creator ownership and against work-for-hire on principle. Again, that peculiar case history is neither a reason to oppose creative collaborations and co-creator-ownership per se, nor an advocacy for work-for-hire per se.
It is what it is: a peculiar, individualized circumstance, all the more ironic since it involves Alan Moore.
For the record, I continue to enjoy many fruitful creative collaborations and partnerships, and many past partnerships continue to be fruitful: i.e., the Center for Cartoon Studies is a constant and daily dance of creative collaboration; David Lloyd recently reprinted our one-time collaboration (“Remembering Rene,” originally published in Eclipse‘s Tales of Terror #7); Stanley Wiater and I profited in 2011 from 2010 and 2011 reprints of select Comic Book Rebels interviews; etc.
For those with long memories and/or long lifespans in comics, my generation learned this lesson at the very outset of the creator publishing movement for the Direct Sales marketplace, via an aborted series entitled D’Arc Tangent (1982).
1963 was different, in that (a) the six issues of material exist and were published, and were instrumental in both (b) linking Alan and Image, to the benefit of both (though Todd McFarlane and Alan‘s Spawn collaborations saw print first, 1963 was the launching pad project and original conduit, an opening Todd and other Image partners understandably jumped upon, to the detriment of 1963), and (c) pulling Alan and myself (I can’t and won’t speak of the respective situations of our collaborators) out of the post-Tundra fiscal holes we found ourselves in.
And to address the copyright points raised on the comments thread on the Newsarama post, repeating statements already made on Myrant and elsewhere in the past: (a) In 1998, the three core partners on 1963 amicably and contractually divided up the primary creative properties, leaving me sole proprietor of The Fury (and that comic title), N-Man, the Hypernaut, and Sky Solo, and all relevant supporting players and concepts, as well as the anthology title Tales of the Uncanny; the rest is co-owned by the other two core creators. (b) I in no way regret that 1998 decision; at least I am left with something to work with. (c) While I understand completely the point of copyright law being raised, given Mr. Moore‘s position on things in this world, I for one would not lift a finger on, agree to, advocate for, or pursue a 1963 reprint without some form of release or contract from/with all participants in the original series—with Alan‘s first and foremost signed and in hand, before anything else was begun, and since that’s nothing I can accomplish, c’est la vie.
I made a public notice of the culmination of the 1963 debacle—now in its 20th year, since we began work on the project in 1992—to note one of the many downsides of 2011 for me, and the upside of still earning quarterly royalties from collaborative work with the same creative partner(s) for DC as work-for-hire hired hands.
I could have gone on to cite the fact I am essentially left to using either transfer-of-copyright or work-for-hire contractual language in all my recent N-Man, Fury, Hypernaut, and Sky Solo creative collaborations and/or commissions.
While everyone working with me on these will earn a share of any, if any, profits, having to retain absolute ownership of the trademarks and copyrights on everything done with the characters has not been comfortable, nor conducive to making any great commitment to such a venture.
More on this later in 2012, when I celebrate the 20th anniversary of our beginning work on 1963 with the print-on-demand publication of Tales of the Uncanny and one companion volume—and that’ll be that, I reckon.