Tymm Cover1
UPDATE: AS per the comments, Platinum has now added credits for the strip. Kudos to them for doing the right thing right away.

Platinum VP Dan Forcey had this to say in Roman’s LJ comments:

Dave, it’s Dan Forcey here, VP of Content Development from Platinum. I wanted to write you a personal apology here about your credits being omitted on Drunk Duck. It was entirely a mistake on our part and not an intentional omission in any way, shape or form. There was a custom homepage, just like we’ve done with some of our other titles (like the one here: http://www.drunkduck.com/Blood_Nation/index.php) that we had made for this and it somehow got deleted along the way. You can also check it out on our own comics site (http://www.platinumstudioscomics.com/index.php?template=comics&option=com_content&task=view&id=39&Itemid=46) and you’ll see that are proud to have your name associated with this property and proud of the property itself. We actually have a lot of plans for Alien Circus and I apologize, again, for not being in better contact with you about this. This is a mistake on our part that I wholeheartedly apologize for any disrespect that you felt from it. I completely see why you would feel that way and I feel terrible because of it.

Where does Platinum get its “library” that it keeps talking about? Apparently from a lot of material that they bought back in the day which is now being run uncredited as webcomics.

On his LJ Dave Roman writes of one such projects, My big graphic novel that no one knows about.:

So a while back I wrote a 3-part graphic novel series called “Alien Circus” for Platinum Studios that was beautifully illustrated by Luke Weber. It was a big space aventure series that mixed Hamlet with Marsupilami and was a lot of fun to work on. I ended up developing a whole universe complete with tons of creatures, planets, history and plots for potential spinoffs.

At some point Platinum decided to change the name to The Adventures of Tymm and register a domain name for it. But as far as I know they have no plans to actually release it in print.

But I recently found out from a friend that they changed the name back to Alien Circus and it is being serialized on Drunkduck.com (yay!) without any credits for the people who worked on it (boo!)

Ac Samplepage
Boo, indeed. In this day and age, this kind of thing makes us feel a little sick, especially when you look at all the samples in the link: this book has an immediately accessible Euro-influenced look, and Luke Weber should get credit for his work. But as Roman reveals later on, ALIEN CIRCUS was work for hire.

I knew going in I wouldn’t really have any control. I just hoped (and still do) that it would be published in some way shape or form. Even if it’s just on the internet. But I feel like if the graphic novel for kids market continues to expand SOMEONE should consider putting it out in print! I just don’t think it’s a priority for Platinum compared to their more high profile stuff. Maybe I’ll become famous in the next year and they’ll realize what a goldmine they are sitting on ;)

Let’s put it this way: signing away original material as work-for-hire is right up there with sharing needles with AIDS patients, eating blowfish liver, and not wearing a seat belt in a vehicle driven by a New Jersey state trooper our own personal DO NOT DO list.

And yet people STILL do it. Why? We asked Roman, who is no stranger to creator owned projects like AGNES QUILL and QUICKEN FORBIDDEN, and he explained:

Well since I was already familiar with WFH contracts from working at Nickelodeon Magazine I knew what I was getting into. I was still pretty young when I started the project, so I was just happy to get paid to write stuff in comics. I don’t really regret it, especially considering how many people do comics for no money at all. And honestly Lee Nordling was always good to me and really supportive of the project. I really only became frustrated by Platinum after I saw what a great job the artist did. It scares me to think how much other material they are sitting on.

Here we should remind people that Nordling developed material at Platinum over a seven year period. In other words, when Roman came up with ALIEN CIRCUS, webcomics were in their infancy. Nowadays, creators don’t seem to have the same urgency to be “happy to get paid to write stuff in comics” since they can reach as large an audience as the print world via the web, even if there is no pay involved.

Any way, we cry shenanigans on Platinum. A quick look at a few comics on Drunk Duck showed none of them had any credits. Since they own the material lock stock and barrel, running it uncredited just seems positively medieval in this day and age.


  1. Platinum better get with the program. quick. I sure do hope they realize this mistake and correct it.

    this story might help that i think.

    please update the story if it does or doesnt. just to be fair.


  2. Which other comics don’t have credits? I don’t spend a lot of time on DD, but until now, everything I’ve seen has been credited. I tend to look at the stuff from the actual pre-Platinum DD community, though, not the Platinum Studios “productions.” So I’m very likely missing them.

  3. I’m thinking along the lines of Google’s so-called “do no evil” here. I’d love to know why Platinum thought, even though it was work for hire, that they should do a disservice to their creative talent by leaving their names off of it. What harm or risk is presented to Platinum by including the names of the creative team? What was their motive? Or was it just oversight?

    In comics, work-for-hire is bad enough because it limits the chance that the creative team will ever get the full potential value out of their work. But not crediting the creative team?

  4. let me see, making money and not getting credit for using your imagination or talent is the same as being a drug addict and sharing needles with someone who has an uncurable disease you can DIE from? not quite, pretty harsh analogy actually and kind of tasteless.

    “I don’t really regret it, especially considering how many people do comics for no money at all.”

    doesn’t seem like Roman has as big a problem with it as the “comic creator police” Honestly, other creators are really the only ones who up and coming creators should listen to. If you’ve never worked in comics, what gives you a background to offer advice?

    could it be that Platinum is working on other material for this project, and they’ll credit the guys involved when they have something done? Looks like up until now they’ve always been given credit.

    with the strength of your anger towards signing way original material you’ve managed to insult people with AIDS, law enforcment and defenseless invertabrates all in the same breath. I think at the end of the day, I’d rather settle for being slighted like Roman, than being insulted by someone who has likely never created anything original as work for hire or otherwise.

    oh, and the website of his project, http://www.adventuresoftymm.com/ is not only copyrighted in 2007, but also gives both of them credit. Why doesn’t someone just email Platinum or call them and ask why they changed the name of the property? I’m pretty sure the email and phone number is right on their website. Most reporters actually DO stuff like that before they write an article (you see, newspapers can get in trouble for not verifying sources and facts, online blogs can’t, which is a shame) even I learned that in my introductory journalism class in college. it’s called etiquette.

  5. Calgary: I learned in elementary school where the shift key is and how to sign my name. If you’re going to call people out, how about you learn how to utilize both of those crucial skills.

  6. yeah, because clearly anyone who disagrees must be a Platinum employee or someone who actually enjoys working with them??? That is a good point of the adventuresoftymm website, if it were Platinum’s intention to not credit someone, they wouldnt have done it there. I think Heidi owes Platinum a small apology at least.

    Or maybe Marvel and DC and other companies who use WFH employees, since she’s equated such with sharing needles with AIDS patients??? wtf??? I cry shenanigans right back.

  7. So, DJ, your point is that Platinum didn’t care enough about creator credit to make it a priority before posting something on the Internet? Nice defense, there. Makes a lot of sense, too. If that’s your point, then I think you’re probably right.

  8. That sure is a beautiful looking comic book. One I would like to see in a store or better on my shelf (since I am one of those old farts who genuinely hates reading comic books on a computer screen… yes, I know… “get with the times”).

  9. No. I’m saying Drunk Duck, and that side of things there is a whole seperate thing for publishing, and it’s clearly an oversight or like a few other things there, it looks like they’re putting some things into place with the standard bare bones Drunk Duck template, just like the initially did with the other, (now fancy) layouts for the books that are in print.

    Plus, I’d just love to see someone actually ask Platinum before running off like this. You know, journalism??

  10. If it wasn’t just a screw up, then I’d guess the intent would be for Platinum to be the only name to be contacted if the material is shopped to the studios (that being the business model for which the material was created). Still, its pretty tacky. Alan Moore would probably boycott them if it happened to him.

  11. Well, if I know Platinum, I bet the page is fixed by the end of the day with proper credit, just like their OTHER projects. But I also bet no one will acclaim how fast they are at correcting an oversight.

  12. I think everyone who worked at Platinum knew what they were getting into when they signed those contracts. I know I did — and even though my project “Love Bytes” still floats helplessly in development limb half-finished, I knew that Platinum’s business strategy never really revolved around actually publishing comics. Of course I now bug them almost daily about when it’ll be finished and printed…

    Plus, working under someone like Lee Nordling really helped me improve my craft and get me ready for prime time and for my later books like “Mail Order Ninja.”

    And I’m sure the lack of credit is just an oversight. They may take a long time to get their projects out there, but they’re definitely not out to take credit away from anyone.

  13. 32 years ago, my first pro sale was published, uncredited, on the inside cover of Marvel’s Crazy #9. Imagine my excitement grabbing the issue off of the stands in 1975, and then imagine my dismay when I flipped open the cover.

    If I’d have known the ad spoof was going to be published uncredited, I wouldn’t have sold the script to them for 20 bucks in the first place. After all, without a credit, the whole deal just wasn’t worth it to me. Adding insult to injury, they paid me nothing for art/layouts, even though someone basically light-boxed my original art (which they also kept) for the slightly more polished finished page.

    To Marvel’s credit, when I wrote them my sad letter of woe, a Marvel editor called my house to apologize. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home at the time. Still, the gesture was nice.

    To Marvel’s discredit, the page was later reprinted in 1981 and 1999, still uncredited.

    I hope Platinum doesn’t make the same mistake.

  14. The comic is credited now. Kudos to Platinum. I wasn’t holding my breath, but I *am* a smoker, so there you go. A Polynesian oyster diver could have probably held his/her breath for this long, so that’s not so bad.

  15. That was pretty damn fast if you ask me. Great looking project, and one I never heard of until now. I bet if Platinum put it out as a GN now it would do great, especially in the childrens book market.

  16. No need to check my IP address, I work for Platinum and admit it freely. And I’m just here to say two things:
    #1- It was an honest to goodness mistake and has been corrected. I’ve emailed Dave directly to personally apologize for the mistake. It was a mistake and I feel bad about it.
    #2- None of our comics have creator credit on them? Really, Heidi? That’s unfair, untrue and plain shoddy journalism.

  17. “A quick look at a few comics on Drunk Duck showed none of them had any credits.” does not equal all. One comic without credits is one too many. Anyway I am very happy to see you have corrected this so speedily.

  18. That’s good news that it was a simple oversight rather than anything intentional. Props to The Beat for covering it. And props to Dan and Platinum for the prompt private and public apology.

  19. “Where does Platinum get its “library” that it keeps talking about? ”

    While Platinum has indeed developed a lot of projects which have not yet seen print (a GN by yours truly among them), a large portion of their “library” is material which has seen print from other publishers, which they now represent. Top Cow, Awesome, foreign companies like Hexgon… they’re all part of the library for licensing or development purposes.

  20. I appreciate Dan emailing me and accept the appology because I never really had any beef with Platinum and also assumed it was an oversight. But I feel like it’s the kind of thing that happens too often. Case in point there is still no credit for the guys who colored or lettered the comic pages.

    At any rate I’m glad that people seem to be responding well to the material. And if Heidi’s post encourages people to talk about things like work for hire contracts and giving credit to artists like Luke Weber, Scott Brown and Stu Chaifetz–it’s probably a good thing in the long run!

  21. I just want to publicly apologize for the “shoddy journalism” comment above. Heidi IS a professional and her criticism of us in the past has always been fair. (A little harsh, maybe, but fair. :-)) It was inappropriate and unprofessional of ME to attack her integrity and I wanted to publicly say I’m sorry.

  22. When I first read this article at work, it made me mad, Todd Goldman-Type Mad!!

    But I see now how everyone is tyring to make up and make good. so I am happy again. :)

  23. I want to thank Dan Forcey for mentioning that he works for Platinum. That little bit of openness makes a huge difference when reading posts in these types of situations. DJ Coffman should take note.

  24. Should take note of what? It’s pretty clear that I work with them in the links from here.

    Anyway, glad this was resolved.

  25. I’d like to say that Dan’s a hell of a guy to work for. Straightforward, honest, and easy to work with. I can’t say the same for many of my past employers and/or commissions, and it’s refreshing to work for a place where all you have to worry about are your deadlines, rather than your deadlines, whether you’re going to get paid this month, whether you’re going to have your commission yanked out from under you at the last minute, and all the rest of the standard bullshit that comes with being a freelance artist these days.

    I’d also like to say that, if you had no idea that DJ is working for Platinum by now, you should probably get out more often. ;)

  26. DJ—

    I am unfortunately on dialup, so I don’t follow a lot of links.

    Also, there is no link connected to your name here.