Last night, we had the chance to address an SVA class of aspiring cartoonists on “The Business of Comics”. It was a fun time, and it was interesting to see what these kids today grok (web comics) and don’t grok (Secret Crisis). These kids today should also read Steven Grant’s column on how to negotiate a contract:
I have only two bits of legal advice:
1) Consult a lawyer. Specifically a publishing or entertainment lawyer. A personal injury lawyer or escrow attorney will likely be out of their depth, even if it’s your cousin Johnny who’d never charge you a cent. Lawyers are no more “lawyers” these days than a “scientist” is just a scientist; specialties exist for a reason.
2) Read your contract yourself before you sign. Slowly and fully. If anything puzzles you, ask what it means. When they tell you what it means, if you agree say, “Fine. Replace it with what you just said.” You’ll see problems your lawyer doesn’t because even the best lawyers speak legalese, and will occasionally gloss over clauses where the legalese makes sense to them, even when the clauses leave things open to interpretation. Interpretation is the enemy, because the other party will always interpret in their favor. Interpretation is what lands you in court. In fact, clauses “they” will “explain” but won’t rewrite to fit their explanation are omens of trouble ahead.
Much more in the link.
§ Jeffrey Klaehn muses on the Internet and criticism, a topic that no one seems to have an opinion on, oddly.
Several leading industry columnists have been and/or are current or former professional comic book writers. On the surface, one would think this would diminish potential for real critique, yet Warren Ellis’ old ‘Come in Alone’ column for CBR strongly indicates otherwise. The column, while staying clear of commenting upon actual comic books per se, regularly ‘raised the level of discourse’ regarding the comic industry. Ellis did explore comics as an art form and also looked at craft, but was not concerned to undertake reviews. The Joe Casey and Matt Fraction ‘Basement Tapes’ columns were engaging, critical, thought-provoking and extremely well-written. If the Casey/Fraction essays were collected in book format, I’m sure they would find new audiences (including course adoptions). As commentary, they were consistently brilliant. The tone and range of topics addressed, just right. And many industry professionals have contributed insight and criticism, by way of articles and interviews, to the excellent Jack Kirby Collector magazine over the years as well.
§ Retailer Scott Moore went to a recent Diamond Retailer Summit and had a great time, but was saddened by the grabbiness.
I sat with someone from Alliance at dinner and he told me that the display of figures on the table back by the Diamond display was gone in about 15 minutes. People just came up and took handfuls of them. The funny thing is that they were for display and were not promotional. I don’t know what the figures were (they were gone that fast), but I think it was those Bear-bricks or something similar.
I don’t know how things run in other parts of the country but where I live that would be called stealing.