“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Here's a story I wrote. *Obviously* this story is fictional as no self-respecting company nor individuals would ever be this unprofessional. Things are good in the world and this is just a story. Pure fiction. But beware - it could happen. This is a story of tragedy, wasted time, and (mostly) comedy. Oh, and I'm not a very good writer and I typically take story cues from real life. Since this is fabricated I just know it'll be something I need to work on. Please be gentle if you review this. Thanks!

The story opens at an east coast comic book convention. Our tired and traveled artist, E, sits at his post, confounded by the amount of people still interested at the non-existent skills of the buffoon sitting two seats to his right. Little does he know that fate conspires to waste several days of his life working on a cover image that will never come to use. Fate's agents step to him then, as the curtains open:

WRITER X: Hey, E! My name is Writer X - you and I have spoken in the past and I love your work, man. This is my associate, Publisher Y - he's with Intelligence Deficit Workshop and we'd like to talk to you about doing a cover for our upcoming series. I think you're familiar with it: 'Final Frontier'? It's licensed to them by Studio Universus? It's been around since forever; A captain, an alien, and a doctor?

E: Oh hey, Writer X! Nice to see you again! And yeah, man, I'm familiar with it! And I'd be honored to do it - thanks for asking me. But...you're sure you want to use me? I mean, you've seen my work, yeah? I don't draw likenesses very well.

Publisher Y now steps forward, hand extended for a shake and an introduction;

PUBLISHER Y: Hello, E. I'm Publisher Y. Writer X has told me a ton about you - and yes, we know your work. We have an idea of what you do and what you bring to the table. And we'd love for you to do our cover. We'll set up the details within the next couple of weeks, but we just wanted to be sure you were willing to do it?
E: Absolutely, Publisher Y! Again, thanks for asking me. Okay, talk to my Agent, F - and we can go from there.

Weeks pass. Our artist is now on the opposite coast. He meets with Writer X once more at another venue where he's assured things are moving along, that Agent F has had conversations with them and Intelligence Deficit Workshop. Agent F has also been assured that the artist's style and approach on likenesses of the licensed characters of Studio Universus would NOT be an issue. We fast forward another week from then. Now under the yoke of a solicitation deadline, semi-frantic e-mails are exchanged, schedules are defined and dates are set. Let it be known that Writer X bends over backwards, above and beyond what's to be expected by most, in order to facilitate meeting the solicitation deadline.

We open to a new scene where the artist finishes the roughs for the image for Writer X and Publisher Y (at this point Publisher Y is the deciding factor in all of this, but he has been lax in his communications to both the artist and Agent F - both still operating under the assumption that Studio Universus would not have any issues over the artist's interpretation of their property).

The artist sends in the rough image to both Writer X and Publisher Y for their notes and (more importantly) for final notes from Studio Universus. The curtains open:

WRITER X (via e-mail): Looks cool to me. Should we send it to Intelligence Deficit Workshop with the note about tech-ing up the helix? Thanks, E.

Another day passes. the deadlines loom even closer now. Then finally:

PUBLISHER Y (via e-mail): E - Writer X sent me the pencils for the cover--I love it. I'd say roll with it. I gotta get it into the (Ppp)views ad by next Wednesday. Doable? -Publisher Y.

The artist agrees (tight deadlines and all) and promises the delivery of the inks and colors by the promised day - Wednesday. All seems well. Then... it all spirals downward. Agent F calls the artist on Tuesday afternoon, the day before the deadline and harbingers the news. The curtains open:

Agent F: E, stop coloring the cover. I just got a call from Writer X, who just got off the phone with Publisher Y of Intelligence Deficit Workshop. He just got word back from Studio Universus. They have issues about you not drawing the likenesses of their licensed characters exactly as they are!

E: What?! Did we or did we not, at the very beginning of this drama and comedy, ask these people about that exact same motherF*CKING issue?! Didn't we say, 'You don't have a problem with me not drawing these characters exactly as they appear?'
Agent F: We did. They concurred and gave you the green light. Now they're backing out. What's worse is that because they're not going to use it they feel like they're not obligated to pay for the work you've done thus far.


Agent F: I know...I know...

The story ends with Agent F and the artist vowing to never again do work for villains and hoods who look like men but whose eyes are slits and tongues are forked like snakes. Curtains close. The End.




HartCactus said...

That's F'd up Eric!!! Those F#^*%ers need to do what's right and pay ya! WANKERS the lot of 'em!!!!!

Jon Tsuei said...

This is truly a very intriguing cautionary tale. Although it is founded in fiction, it rings very true as I was told a similar story from by a friend of mine just recently.

I asked the question, "May we now add said publisher to our 'poop' list?"

He responded, "Why yes my friend, yes we can."

Odd how fiction can mirror reality, no?

Dean Trippe said...

JEEZ, what bullsh*t.

BTW, that's one of the best ST drawings I've ever seen.

Brian said...

A heartwrenching, but all to true tale. Well written and very entertaing, plus you have a great ear for dialog as I know real people who talk exactly that way when making promises they do not have the ability to keep.

Unfortunately, the early reveal of the cover being for a licensed property made the tragic ending all to predictable.

Adam Hughes had a similar experience with a cover for a G.I. Joe book featuring the Baroness. Adam, of course, is known for his sexy women and the Baroness, in her skin tight black leather outfit, certainly is a sexy gal. Adam asked up front if they knew his stuff and did Hasbro, the licenses owner who had final say, really want him. He was assured they did and went ahead and submitted the completed fully colered work. It was beautiful and sexy and your typical Adam Hughes woman and shock of all shocks, Hasbro turned it down because it was, too sexy. Adam, being the great guy that he is, even agreed to take continue to work on it to tone down the sexy. Well, the second version didn't pass muster with the powers that be either, so Adam sold it on ebay. I think he had a kill fee in his contract, but I'm pretty sure he didn't get paid the full cover price, even though he had done all the work and then some.

By the way, I absolutely love your cover and think its not only the best piece of Star Trek art I've ever seen, but a lot better job of depicting the characters then appears in most of the Star Trek comics.

Bill said...

Soory to hear about the drama with the publisher - that just plain sucks!

On a separate note, I too was dumbfounded by the attention that R.L. got at the NY convention. It was just crazy! I mean... have these "fans" seen him "draw"??? I just don't get it, and I'm glad I wasn't the only one!

Lauren said...

Wow! What an imaginitive piece of fiction. How ever did you come up with it? Surely not from life experience. An amazing artist like you? No. I won't believe it.

SeqartMark said...

Wow. Pretty weak, man...pretty weak.

weshoyot said...

damn that sucks! but word goes around quick of bad folk in this industry....karma will bite them in the ass, while you have a sweet pic!!!!!

Spud said...

It seems a problem created by the Artists getting suckered into bad working practise.No job should begin without an agreed fee..hour spent regerdless of approval have to be paid for...this sucks bigtime dude..It does seem to me you may have got sucked in a bit by an rose spectacles Agent F and Writer x. Shame but a good lesson for all i feel.
Awesome piece dude!

Rob Harper said...

It's a nice looking cover though...


its like auditioning

ass-uming, middle men, and not dealing with the boss / president of the main company usually causes these problems

gotta remember that your dealing with a committee not a single person

i'd say bypass them and send some sample work sent with your prelim to the boss and have a contract kill fee during the process, if it is not used then you get paid half and can sell art, if used get paid in full

Ryan Cody said...

This is something I hear about and fear very much as someone just breaking in. I've had similar situations twice with the same guy when he wanted me for 2 separate projects, and then asked me to change my style both times. Why bother asking me then?

Antimatty said...

that is an awesome cover and its the closest that i have ever come to being interested in all that old kirk spock crap. iwould have definetly wanted to check this out had it come to light, instead, star trek will stay lame.