A lot more information is coming out regarding the presumed murder of former comics and animation writer Stephen Perry. And it is sad and disturbing. Tampa Bay has a jailhouse interview with Perry’s ex-roomie, a confirmed OxyContin addict, and the unflattering picture he paints of Perry is unconvincing.
Perry’s friend Rick Veitch is running some of Perry’s emails and last court documents over at the revamped Pulse. The story involves much strife with Perry’s ex-partner, Krystal, the mother of his young son Leo. Perry was engaged in a bitter custody fight with her at the same time he was battling terminal bladder cancer. Here’s is an excerpt of Perry’s own account, from an email to Steve Bissette:
I finally, on Thursday AND Friday, DID WHAT child services WANTED ME TO DO – GOT A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INJUNCTION AGAINST Krystal — UNAWARE SHE HAD OPENED A CUSTODY CASE FOR Leo.
Here’s WERE THINGS GOT CRAZY: two DIFFERENT Judges HAD ISSUED TWO DIFFERENT ORDERS — ONE JUDGE GAVE k CUSTODY, THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INJUNCTION GAVE ME CUSTODY. But my Injunction was not granted until Friday at 4pm.
She came Friday at 3 pm with cops “to take Leo from the home”. Cops investigated, realized she had lied, saw Leo lived with me, discovered he HAd been living with me FOR 14 MONTHS, that he was happy, had his own room, was in a good place. They looked at my Safety plan but paid no attention to it. They looked at a copy of my Injunction but ignored it because it had not yet been granted, just filed, and the cop said it probably would be denied. But the cop said he was not blind or stupid – he could see where Leo lived. He could see Leo was distant from Krystal, and did not seem to want to be around her. It seems she had told them that for the last year I had been “keeping Leo from her”. The lead Cop threatened to take me to jail for obstructing her parental rights unless I was reasonable and cooperated. I have always been reasonable and never stood in her way while, during the last 14 months, she had abandoned Leo to go with her new boyfriend and work in the carnival.
Without disrespecting the many fond memories of Perry to his friends and family, this story has tru TV all over it — dismemberments, bloody vans, OxyContin, repossessed cars, restraining orders. It’s a sad end to the career of a man whose work many people still respect, and as the economy for creative types increasingly favors floating freelancing and entrepreneurship over 30 years at the same company, Mark Evanier reminds a lot of us that we could all be in the same boat someday:
Writers and artists are often extremely vulnerable and prone to forget, or to perhaps shove into a corner, the concept that long-term financial security is necessary in this world. We often have an emotional response to opportunities, grabbing at bad (or non-existent) deals because some project looks like it would be fun to do, looks like it will allow us to produce what we think will be our best work. This lust on our part is often exploited — sometimes deliberately but sometimes innocently — by those who control the money end of our business. The unintentional exploitation can be the most damaging because that’s the kind you really don’t see coming.
Often, too often, we encourage our own exploitation by allowing ourselves to get desperate. There’s a vicious cycle in the marketplace: When you’re desperate, or at least when you look that way, you get fewer jobs and the ones you do get do not pay as well. And that, of course, only serves to keep you desperate…and we all know where that leads.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.