In case you missed the comments playing out, Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci apologized to writer Don McGregor for his initially a bit testy response to McGregor’s initially testy accusation that he was being cheated out of royalties that haven’t been earned yet and wouldn’t be paid by Dynamite. The character in question: Lady Rawhide. It’s a bit hard to follow the apology trail since it occurred in the comments to an image that Mike Netzer posted on McGregor’s Facebook page but here’s part of it:
Don – first and foremost, I do apologize for both not stating in the press release your creating Lady Rawhide and also that my comment was a bit of venting and was rushed. It was not intended as such and I apologize.
I got defensive as you had mentioned that you were asking if Zorro Properties and Dynamite was screwing you out of royalties, and was more defensive about the accusation about Zorro Properties than about me personally. And I didn’t want to follow up till I was home and could give you a ring.
I called a number a few times in the 718 area code, but it had a machine answer and not your voice, so wasn’t sure to leave a message, but did so a few minutes ago. I also want to let you know that the comics will have your creator credit in there.
Now, to address one point from Michael Netzer, Michael has definitely twisted my words, and at one point in his open letter, out and out lied, which I’m sure will create an internet war. First, he’s imposing the bullying tactics that he claims that publishers have. He’s going online twisting words, and making assumptions, and telling anyone who is looking at this that they are wrong. It’s a lynch mob mentality. No judge, no jury, no evidence, let’s just hang the guy. And then he lies. And Don – you’re not wrong in asking this. But you asked if Dynamite and Zorro properties were going to screw you out of royalties.
There’s a lot more in Barrucci’s response but it is not formatted properly and much of it was repeated in the comments on the above thread.
I’ll throw this in here: you should all go read Kurt Busiek’s comments in the initial thread. I am happy that several people quickly rose to the defense of an older creator who doesn’t have a big place in the industry right now, but sad that it turned into a lynch mob against someone who hadn’t actually done 90% of the things he was being accused of. Yes, Nick’s initial reply was not the most polished response imaginable, but McGregor’s initial outrage wasn’t a very good way to go about saying “Hey, I have a contract here guys.”
Now I can’t blame Don in thinking that he was going to get screwed, because that’s kinda what has generally happened in the comics industry up until the 80s or so, and continues to happen. And I’ll admit my initial radar went up on this as well—but in the end, what this really points to is that a more civilized method of finding out about contract enforcement than Facebook is probably useful.
There are all kinds of deal and negotiations going on right now in regards to characters and their creators. I dare say that the most SUCCESSFUL negotiations are going on in private. I think that is something that Don McGregor, Mike Netzer and potential Don McGregors and Mike Netzers should keep in mind.
And of course, if anyone needs an email address that I can supply, I’m happy to do so: just drop me a line — comicsbeat at gmail.com. All confidences respected.
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.