Sunday, March 10, 2013

Naughty Litigious Woody (and a few other things)

So I got this letter the other day from The Wallace Wood Estate. I post copyrighted material here practically every day but this is the first time anyone has asked me to stop. I did print something in its entirety without much exposition, that's not arguable. On one hand it's not done for money, but on the other hand the work is still in print. On one hand a judge might rule in my favor but on the other hand it's not worth it, especially when I don't have a law degree. The letter would have to be real because otherwise the person would have nothing to gain. Unless it's someone on a power trip, which I doubt. Regardless of any of this, despite my hyperbolic title, it's no big deal. They were even kind enough to point me to the right link so I wouldn't have to look for it.

 photo 3-10-1_zpsafba38c8.jpg If the shoe's on the other foot, I'm flattered for the attention, unless the person was to profit from it. People I don't know post my work all the time. Sometimes I write them saying what I just said and they're usually glad to have even heard back from me. If it's too much I have nothing against them, but need to say something so I won't get stepped on by others. The intent of posting other peoples’ work, whether me or anyone else is along the lines of “look at this”.

I don't do this with everything because it's usually one of these reasons in most cases:

a)The owner of the copyright no longer exists. If a company's defunct, it's difficult to sort out who the holder really is.

b)They wouldn't care enough.

c)If it's creator-owned, it's acknowledged in the strip itself.

d)It's public domain.

e)If it's excerpts, there's nothing they can do.

I should say, however, the panel above is from Big Apple Comics and ©The Wallace Wood Estate. Wally Wood was outspoken in favor of creators' rights early on, so indirectly he helped make it possible for me to realize I own the copyright on the work I do for others, which is more than you ever did for me.

I should also note for the past two weeks I’ve been in The New York Observer’s comics section along with John Kerschbaum. Currently they’re printing cartoons I’ve already posted here, but the end of this month one of my twice-weekly panels will be there first. The new editor, Ken Kurson, has been a friend for a long time and one of my biggest patrons. When he first got the job, I jokingly said to him “This means you’ll have a comics section, right?” not thinking he actually would, and here it is.

 photo 3-10-2_zps3ad45da4.jpg After next month, the other one will first be in the comics section of Thing X, edited by Michael Kupperman. Thing X is a web page from ex-Onion editors.

 photo 3-10-3_zps7651a154.jpg While I have everyone’s e-ear, in case you hadn’t heard yet, Kim Thompson, co-founder and publisher of Fantagraphics, may be retiring from comics due to lung cancer. His company was one of the first distributors of Magic Whistle and helped people be aware of my work through the anthology he edited, Zero Zero. More importantly, though, anyone who's done non-franchise comics since the late seventies was able to do so credibly because of Fantagraphics. He has worked with practically everyone in comics, including the Estate of Wallace Wood and John Kerschbaum. Let’s wish him a quick recovery.  photo 3-10-4_zps54a476ed.gif Here's a drawing I did for long-time friend and current publisher Marc Arsenault about twenty or so years ago. Drawings I did in peoples' sketchbooks or doodles I've left at their houses have a habit of showing up out of the blue years later. Looking at it, I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing that it looks like it could have been drawn any time since then.  photo 3-10-5_zps4b0689de.jpg Going full circle, the kid with the wagon is something I got from Wood.

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