Friday, June 26, 2009

From the Vault - Exit 6 Alternate Covers 1999

After I ended my self published comic book, Exit 6, at the end of 1998 I thought that was it for the concept.

But, along comes 1999 and a start up comic book company approaches me and wants to republish the existing issues of Exit 6 as well as pay me to complete the series. Long meetings were held to hash out the details, contracts were signed, and we agreed that I'd do new covers for the new series under their comic label.

These are the new, alternate covers I came up with.

The good part is it really gave me a chance to rethink my initial covers and do something new on each of them. As with most of my personal colored work before 2001, these covers were all done with traditional means. I would ink by hand and the logos and comic information were pasted up by hand on the original. Then I would go to a place that had a photostat camera and have them shoot a stat so I would have a clean service to airbrush on. Then I'd airbrush up the whole thing, cover and logos included.

All in all, I was happy with the new covers.

The bad news is that after I finished these covers the guys I signed the contracts with disappeared.

Now, like most of the work I did for shady, fly-by-night companies in the late 90's who had me do work for them, not pay me, and then disappear, you'd think the story might end there. But, it didn't.

I'm not sure how long, maybe a few months or a year later, I got an email from a fan telling me he was really happy to see I was doing something with Exit 6 comic again through a company, if I recall, called Ice Comics. He had read the news on the companies website. I had no idea what he was talking about, where this website was located, or even who "Ice Comics" was. So, I clicked on a link he sent me to check out this news.

What I found was a comic called, again, if I recall correctly, "Goon Toon".

And, it looked vaguely familiar.

OK, it looked a lot familiar.

What this company had done was take the first issue of Exit 6, recolored it, and repackaged it under a new name. It listed a separate creator, writer, penciler, inker, and colorist. And, guess what? None of them were me.

I was furious. I wanted to hit somebody. The gall of some people. To just take a person's personal work and steal it in such a way made me sick. Luckily, I had some recourse. The first issue of Exit 6 was actually registered for a copyright with the US Government so the ownership of the property was all mine. I drafted a letter to Ice Press telling them as much and told them to take my work that they had stolen down off of their website or I'd have my lawyer get in contact with them. I never got a response but, the next day, "Goon Toon" was nowhere to be found on their site.

So, Exit 6 was finally done. But at least I got some new covers out of the whole mess.

The funny thing is, this wasn't the last time someone would take my work and pass it off as their own. But, that's a whole other story.

1 comment:

rob! said...

Wow, somehow I missed this post, just getting to it now--that's F**KED UP! You busted your back making the book, and lost a bunch of dough in the process, and someone tries to steal it???

Btw, you should collect all of E6 in a trade--it'd be nice to everything in one book, and it'd renew the copyright, too.