General Discussion

2007 Comic Book Challenge
Platinum Dan at 11:49AM, May 1, 2007
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Hey, folks. Some of you may remember last year's Comic Book Challenge that Platinum Studios put on shortly before we got involved with Drunk Duck. Or you may recgonize its winner, Hero by Night which is currently one of the most read strips here on Drunk Duck. Well, the Challenge is back and accepting submissions for the month of May! Check out http://www.comicbookchallenge.com for all the official rules and details. Thanks, all. (If you have any questions, you could always drop DJ a pq on here and ask him about the whole experience. He's a pretty open guy. Or you could also talke to I Love Dirt, the creator of the comic “Bird and Worm” who was also an entrant last year.)

skoolmunkee edit: fixin yer link :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
Roguehill at 12:27PM, May 1, 2007
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This section of the official rules is of interest:

"Please note that the Creative Materials Agreements require that you transfer all rights in the Creative Materials to Sponsor. However, the Creative Materials Agreements will only be legally binding if you are selected as the Grand Prize Winner. If you are not selected as the Grand Prize Winner, then the Creative Materials Agreements will be void and will be destroyed, and you will retain all rights that you may have to the Creative Materials."

I take this to mean that the characters and concept of the winning entrant become property of Platinum Studios.

GHOST ZERO
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:09PM
ccs1989 at 2:53PM, May 1, 2007
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Seems like it. But currently there are very few companies (Image and Icon and Dark Horse are the only ones that allow full creator control) that offer full creator control. However if I were submitting stuff to Platinum I'd choose to pitch a limited series with characters that I wouldn't want to use in the future past the current series.

However I'm guessing that clause is in there in order to allow Platinum to make a movie or TV show out of your comic if it's popular enough. Plantinum Studios DOES make movies, you know.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
skoolmunkee at 3:14PM, May 1, 2007
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Haha, this is so tempting. I have a fun comic idea and scripts all lined up and waiting. But I'm so lazy about drawing I know I'd never be able to follow through with it. :[ The first page is sketched and has been in a holding pattern for approximately 3 months now.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
Eviltwinpixie at 8:34PM, May 1, 2007
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Good luck to everyone who enters! I was planning on entering this year, but upon thinking about it I don't think Grog is well-drawn enough or really what they're looking for.
I do, though, think DD as a whole has a great chance of producing another winner, and I'd be super-excited to see that happen. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:24PM
marine at 10:03PM, May 1, 2007
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I'll enter with something so epic, it will be legendary. Even inkmonkey will like it.

Another funny bit I found:

This concept MUST NOT have previously appeared in print. If your idea has previously appeared in print form, you will be immediately disqualified.

They can't have it, because its already copyrighted. LOL@legality


Question: what if I submitted a work in its entirety, with over a thousand pages describing events such as back story, character bios, sketches, finished pencils, inks, and/or lettered/colored pages?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
Aeon at 9:30AM, May 2, 2007
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MAN. Now, more than ever, I wish I could draw. I need some collaborators, stat.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:46AM
Platinum Dan at 9:46AM, May 2, 2007
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If you guys need collaborators, check sites like www.deviantart.com or any of the other online artist communities out there. You can usually find some good artists as eager as anyone else to break into the business.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
Platinum Dan at 9:52AM, May 2, 2007
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And, Marine, if you have that much material, so much the better. It'll help A LOT in the long run, believe me. Unfortunately, you'll have to pick only one to submit to the contest.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
marine at 10:06AM, May 2, 2007
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Platinum Dan
If you guys need collaborators, check sites like www.deviantart.com or any of the other online artist communities out there. You can usually find some good artists as eager as anyone else to break into the business.

And share the credit?! Never!

Platinum Dan
And, Marine, if you have that much material, so much the better. It'll help A LOT in the long run, believe me. Unfortunately, you'll have to pick only one to submit to the contest.

I've a big imagination. My web comic penis is just a combination of all the worst characters from other projects I tried to develop. KC green still can't catch up to the amount of web comics I produced from 2001-2003.

Another question, is there anyway I can retain ownership of my IP if you choose to publish it?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
Hijuda at 2:25PM, May 2, 2007
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Blarg. I have a neat idea (at least I think so) for a comic, but I wanted to wait until I became a better artist, and/or had more time to work on it. Well, this is going to be around next year, so I think I might wait until then.
It's a comic!

LOLOL LAMFAO
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Platinum Dan at 4:39PM, May 2, 2007
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Marine,
If you win the contest, we do purchase the IP from you, but we'll be looking at a lot of the other entries and offering them deals, too, at which point there is a lot of negotiations that can happen and a variety of different ways. But, in regards to the grand prize contract, I'm gonna quote DJ Coffman, last year's winner, here:

“Actually the contract I won is really great, while I can’t go into specific details contractually– even though Platinum Studios own the intellectual rights and have final say over a final product, anything they ever do in any medium I get a nice piece of as well as creator credit and my name attached. Beyond that they pay you to produce the work, which is very nice. They really feel like a partner of sorts, and bend over backward to make sure my vision of how I want things done is accomplished, even times when I don’t ask for it!

Ideas are a dime a dozen. I don’t suggest selling away your “baby”, but if you’re looking for a career in comics, this could REALLY kickstart things for you in a big way. I have no plans on working for anyone else since Platinum has been so great to work with, but I know there are other places interested in me writing for them now because of the great exposure Hero By Night has gotten. I wouldt have been able to get it out there like Platinum has done and I feel it’s in great hands.”

DJ posted this on another forum we're both members of and I thought it might answer some of your questions.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
ozoneocean at 5:38PM, May 2, 2007
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Even though Marine won't have a serious entry for the challenge he's still asking some very useful questions! B)
Great answers Platinum Dan. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
marine at 6:05PM, May 2, 2007
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Here is yet another question… I'm so full of them lately ain't I?

Who owns platinum studios? I noticed Top Cow stuff posted on DD awhile ago, and I can't figure out who owns Platinum. I couldn't really tell from your site who pulls the strings.

The reason I ask is that I was working on a deal last year with a comics company (I won't mention their name) but they had all sorts of strange “notes” for things to change. I really wanted to take their deal, but they wanted to change everything. They said I couldn't even use the word “abortion”, wanted me to take out almost all of the many poop jokes, and the main character was also to be “worked on by someone from our staff” to misquote them. After thinking it over, I decided against it. It was a pretty decent offer, but I'd rather publish my work somewhere where it wouldn't be changed. I figured I would have to change SOME things, since it is pretty far out stuff, but it was to the point of being absurd what they wanted to change.

That brings me to another point, could my comic be as excessive as my webcomic going into the realm far far beyond NC-17 or X ratings? My webcomic is rather vulgar some days and other days as tame as a kitten, but generally its comedic in nature. I can't really argue with the executives to change stuff that involves abortions, molestation, murder, poop, rape, and the vagueness of the actual work itself. I try to not explain stuff and leave my readers to fill in gaps in their heads, but in a book with poop eating and alien rapists, I guess they didn't think I was being as artistic as I was. I've always tried to make “filth” into an art form. But I've got some more “pg” work that would probably be more suited to this, I've been told is told my ‘clean’ stuff isn't as good as my ‘dirty’ stuff. I'm considering submitting my script for the work they rejected, despite the taboo subject matter only one profanity (shit) is said by a police officer in very small print. I'd very much love to see that work in print, as it would sell at least two thousand copies of each issue, also a trade could be put together containing some (but certainly not all) of my explanations for things in it. The company told me they would keep in touch since they really liked the book, but I've not spoken to anyone from there in over a year and a half.

While I'm here, thought of another question: is this for an ongoing or mini series?

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
ccs1989 at 6:54PM, May 2, 2007
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I don't think Platinum Studios is owned by anyone except Platinum Studios, but the guy who formed Plat also helped form Image I think, and Image and Top Cow are both interconnected, so I think Platinum is publishing along with them. They're at least listed all as being under Image in some way.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
marine at 7:54PM, May 2, 2007
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ccs1989
I don't think Platinum Studios is owned by anyone except Platinum Studios, but the guy who formed Plat also helped form Image I think, and Image and Top Cow are both interconnected, so I think Platinum is publishing along with them. They're at least listed all as being under Image in some way.

Thats what I was thinking, but I'm not sure. Comic book guys names never stay with me unless they're insane, like McFarlene or Liefield. Three million dollers for a baseball, thats insane. And if you've not seen Liefield's captain america… its also in the realm of batshit crazy.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
carrollhach at 11:07PM, May 2, 2007
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These things are very bad deals for the creators. Think very, very hard before you agree to anything of the kind. Read this before you decide to enter any contest where, if you win, you lose your creation. Publishers push creative talent around because they can, especially if you're new.
Josh Carrollhach
For profile inormation, other comics and general blog stuff, please check out
http://www.drunkduck.com/Clench_and_Cheese/
The Clench and Cheese Blog
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
marine at 11:39PM, May 2, 2007
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carrollhach
These things are very bad deals for the creators. Think very, very hard before you agree to anything of the kind. Read this before you decide to enter any contest where, if you win, you lose your creation. Publishers push creative talent around because they can, especially if you're new.

Thats one reason why I'm reluctant to enter. As stupid as an idea as “Abortion Man” he's my character, and I'm very proud of him. To lose control of him would be like watching a piece of yourself die. Especially if the character went off into tangents that had nothing to do with what I had envisioned for him.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
skoolmunkee at 1:46AM, May 3, 2007
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carrollhach
These things are very bad deals for the creators. Think very, very hard before you agree to anything of the kind. Read this before you decide to enter any contest where, if you win, you lose your creation. Publishers push creative talent around because they can, especially if you're new.

I think this is true to an extent, but on the other hand, the companies that let creators retain control of the comics have said that it's much harder for them to make money. (Slave Labor's owner even said that if he had to do it again, he wouldn't have let creators retain control for that reason - a totally valid comment that made him some enemies.) Dark Horse, Vertigo, etc are all subsidiaries of larger companies which rake all their money in from owned properties, so they can fairly well afford to have a group of independent creators.

Creators always want to retain rights and control over what they do, but in some respects it's unrealistic to expect that if you don't even have any experience publishing. If you want to land a big publishing deal you've either got to be really awesome (so that people are competing with each other for your work), or give up a bit of control. If a person is totally adamant about control, they're going to have to do things the longer and harder way.

That's exactly why DJ said ‘don’t use an idea that's your baby.' Use one that you like and you think could go somewhere, but that you don't mind someone else taking away from you later. You get paid to work on it for as long as you do, you get experience in the publishing biz, and if it's successful, you've made a bit of a name for yourself and paved the way for other projects closer to your heart. And if it kills you to see someone else making all the money from the only good comic idea you've ever had… that's kind of a different problem. :)
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
ozoneocean at 4:13AM, May 3, 2007
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carrollhach
These things are very bad deals for the creators. Think very, very hard before you agree to anything of the kind.
Be fair man. It'd not be a good idea to sell one of your favourite characters this way, but why should you?

Skool says it well.
This deal is about allowing people to get in on the comic making industry at a professional level, so if that's what a creator wants and thinks they're ready for they should tailor a project especially for it: then if you sell the rights away it doesn't matter, you can only benefit from the deal. :)

Keep your magnum opus in reserve! A deal like this can still help it in the long run because it'd give you experience, possible contacts and a bit of a foot in the door. Just keep your best ideas to yourself ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
marine at 4:27AM, May 3, 2007
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What if some other asshole is ready to give up his ideas, and Platinum Studios dumbly thinks its better than my non-magnum opus work?

My problem is that I treat everything like it was a magnum opus, every instance of every thing has to be perfect. I'm thinking of picking something out of the drawer that'd make a perfect comic and is highly marketable as an intellectual property. I would like points on merchandising though, cuz what I'm thinking of submitting could be epic.

I'm just wondering how lol worthy some of the crappier submissions will be. I bet you get loads of MS paint and sprite comics. Or the double death, sprite comics MADE in paint.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
Black_Kitty at 4:54AM, May 3, 2007
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I think this is a case where you can't have your cake and eat it too.

If you treat everything like it's your best work, then you'll have to make a decision. If you don't want to enter because you can't stand the idea of giving up control, then someone else will win. You cannot win a contest that you do not enter. :P
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
carrollhach at 8:13AM, May 3, 2007
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It's good that there's a debate in all this. Further thoughts:

I remember well the bitter battles that Bill Watterson fought to retain licensing rights for Calvin & Hobbes. He was in court with the syndicate for almost five years before he finally won. He had to hold the strip hostage to do it, too. He got away with this because the strip was extremely popular… and only he could write and draw it.

So how did C&H get to be so popular? He worked his butt off. He was a student of comic strips, read extensively, worked tirelessly to improve and ruthlessly edited himself. Did C & H start off as his best work? Was it his baby? Nope… the characters started off as sidekicks (the original strip, his baby, was about a spaceman with a German accent… Spaceman Spiff was a later incarnation of this). The editors helped him develop and prune his idea until it was good enough to sell. Watterson submitted consistently for almost five years before this happened (and then was advised to not quit his day job). The standard agreement with the big syndicates was (and largely is) that the syndicate retains the ownership of the strip and all its characters and the artist receives compensation to the tune of 50% of profits. Watterson was dead set against toys, stickers, shirts and anything else that took the strip out of context. He fought bitterly to keep it from happening and it so sucked the joy out of his work that he quit, taking with him (what I think was) the best comic strip in the past fifty years.

Comics publishers are always looking for the next Love & Rockets or Dan Clowes or Chris Ware. This idea that you send them something that you only sort of like and give them creative control because they are doing you the favor of giving you exposure seems to me to be naive. You must be working at a professional level if you expect to get paid, period. Your best work needs to be even better. Look at the past winners if you doubt this.

Print comics (like newspapers, CD stores and animation festivals) are getting hit hard by the web. Strips like Achewood and Penny Arcade are rewriting how comics are perceived and what they can accomplish (much as Crumb, Shelton, Spain and those folks did in the 60's). Sure, most web comics suck. The artists aren't pros. Many can't write coherent narrative, can't draw, aren't funny and don't have any stories to tell. Those folks won't be professionals and don't expect to be. Drawing comics is fun, and we regularly visit our favorites and rate them 5 because we like ‘em (even if some folks think they suck).

But what of new pros like DJ who can write, draw, do dialog, spin plots and keep cranking out quality day in and day out? What if Hero By Night gets made into an action film starring Jake Gyllenhaal? What if professional screenwriters are brought in, change everything and the movie is a huge hit? Or worse, what if it totally sucks (like Catwoman)? Where is DJ then? You see where I’m going with this.

This may seem cynical, but I think that comics publishers (and animation producers) take advantage of the young creatives' inexperience. No other medium asks that you turn over complete rights and control in exchange for distribution. It's usually a compromise, but in the end the artist can walk if they don't like the terms. With this deal, if you walk you leave your rights (and your strip) with the publisher. How's that?

Neil Simon (to his chagrin) sold the TV rights to The Odd Couple. Even though it was called “Neil Simon's Odd Couple” and he got a creative credit, he didn't receive a dime for the series. He's not getting a dime for the DVD release. We're talking millions of dollars going to somebody else for characters he created. His characters! Did he write more? Sure. Did he do well? Yes he did. That's not the point. He turned over the rights and creative control and lost out big time.

Don't be thinking that just because you created something you'll somehow be taken care of. This contract allows Platinum to take your creation, have somebody else write and draw it …and give you specific compensation regardless of what happens to it.

I'm sorry, but that is a crappy deal. It doesn't cost them anything to leave you the rights. If you're good, you're good. If it sells, it sells. Retaining rights keeps the marketing people out of decisions about the strip. Retaining rights insures that you will be fairly compensated.

Who among us thinks we'll ever make money on this stuff anyway?
Josh Carrollhach
For profile inormation, other comics and general blog stuff, please check out
http://www.drunkduck.com/Clench_and_Cheese/
The Clench and Cheese Blog
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
subcultured at 8:22AM, May 3, 2007
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A creative person doesn't have just one great idea, if you get exposure from this and your other ideas are good then you can get better deals somewhere else.

take frank miller. there's already 2 hit movies from his ideas and people give him respect for his other ideas. He's gonna be directing Will Eisner's “the spirit”

Just look it as a stepping stone. more than likely you're not getting paid to make webcomic. If you get picked up by platinum, you'll be getting paid for a hobby.

But not everyone likes to make thier hobby into jobs, so don't enter.
It's not like anyone is forcing you to sell your idea.



If you think you have the money to create a marketing campaign (in thousands and millions) to support your book, then all the power to you. I learned about Dj's comic by ads that is around the web and plug ins from platinum.
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:02PM
carrollhach at 8:51AM, May 3, 2007
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A creative person doesn't have just one great idea, if you get exposure from this and your other ideas are good then you can get better deals somewhere else.


I agree. But full creative control? Full rights surrender?

take frank miller. there's already 2 hit movies from his ideas and people give him respect for his other ideas. He's gonna be directing Will Eisner's “the spirit”


Or take Alan Moore, who fought tooth and nail without success to keep his work off the screen. (Brad Bird tried for years to get The Spirit made, too, and everyone passed on it)

It's not like anyone is forcing you to sell your idea.

Well, yes, if you enter and win, that's exactly what's happening.

If you think you have the money to create a marketing campaign (in thousands and millions) to support your book, then all the power to you. I learned about Dj's comic by ads that is around the web and plug ins from platinum.

It's not that… it's the right to have control over work that you create. I'm not saying that Platinum shouldn't get money. I'm saying that it's foolish to turn over full creative control… control that you will never get back… in exchange for distribution and promotion. There's no reason for it.
Josh Carrollhach
For profile inormation, other comics and general blog stuff, please check out
http://www.drunkduck.com/Clench_and_Cheese/
The Clench and Cheese Blog
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
ozoneocean at 9:18AM, May 3, 2007
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Fair enough CH, but the deal in this competition is pretty straight forward, there's nothing nasty or underhand about it:
Create an idea that you can sell to Platinum.

That's basically it. Don't give away your favourite stuff, just create an idea that's good enough to win the competition.
It's nothing like Calvin and Hobbes, that creation evolved, he didn't walk into a straight forward deal like this. Ah, in jobs you work (creative ones especially) the standard deal is that whatever you create as part of that job is owned by your employer, and that's reflected in copyright law as well. The competition deal isn't one of being able to negotiate the commercial exploitation of your masterpiece, rather it's about getting some work out there and working as a jobbing comic creator.

At least that's the way I see it :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:26PM
carrollhach at 9:31AM, May 3, 2007
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Fair enough CH, but the deal in this competition is pretty straight forward, there's nothing nasty or underhand about it:
Create an idea that you can sell to Platinum.


I totally agree. I'm not saying they're lyin' sacks o' shite (as Clench would say). rather, I'm advising some serious caution on the part of young enthusiasts. Think about it first. If it still sounds good, then by all means go for it.


I use far, far too many curse words and drug references in just about anything I do for consideration by anybody anyway! :cry2:
Josh Carrollhach
For profile inormation, other comics and general blog stuff, please check out
http://www.drunkduck.com/Clench_and_Cheese/
The Clench and Cheese Blog
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
djcoffman at 1:00PM, May 3, 2007
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carrollhach
But what of new pros like DJ who can write, draw, do dialog, spin plots and keep cranking out quality day in and day out? What if Hero By Night gets made into an action film starring Jake Gyllenhaal? What if professional screenwriters are brought in, change everything and the movie is a huge hit? Or worse, what if it totally sucks (like Catwoman)? Where is DJ then? You see where I'm going with this.

Where am I then? I'd probably be off counting my lucky stars and some money!

Seriously, I'd still be drawing comics though, that's where I'd be. I'll gladly leave all the Hollywood stuff to the pros. What would I have to complain about? I'd make money all along the way without lifting a finger further– but that's not my style.

Most of what you've said about fears of licensing or losing creative control is a valid fear for a lot of creators, but it's not reality. As someone who's been working with Platinum closely, I gotta tell you I feel like if there was something I'd be totally unhappy with them doing with HBN, they probably wouldn't do it. But I think it's more of a trust issue. I trust that whatever moves they make behind closed doors that I don't know about, they've made informed decisions and they want the best for my project and vision, because it serves everyone involved as a whole.

I don't believe a creative person only has one idea. So use some of your ideas to have fun and make some money or kickstart a career at this if you can and that's what you want to do. One of the biggest mistakes of many creators I know who haven't accomplished much or they gave up… they weren't willing to take any chances at all.

Anyway, I'm more than happy right now. I suggest everyone of course, read the contracts when/if it comes to that time for you. There's no harm in being cautious, but there's no reason to be alarmist either. It's a solid deal, and they're good people to work with.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
ccs1989 at 1:44PM, May 3, 2007
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Personally I don't see Platinum Studios as being like a credit card company. If you talk to them I think you probably negotiate something or other that's mutually beneficial to both parties. I doubt they see comic creators as patsys.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
subcultured at 2:15PM, May 3, 2007
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you gotta remember, they foot the bill to keep DD running, without them DD would have crashed a long time ago with server issues and dylan wouldn't have the money to buy new servers since he was keeping DD afloat with his own cash.

They look out for keeping comics alive, even in the net. Once in a while they mine webcomickers through DD to become pros with contests like these, i don't see any harm with that.

J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:02PM

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