General Discussion

2007 Comic Book Challenge
carrollhach at 3:21PM, May 3, 2007
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I agree with all of that, and I'm sure that Platinum is a fine company. Drunk Duck is great and their support is really crucial. And of course they will look for talent in their available resources as well. My point has nothing to do with this… I am merely pointing out that relinquishing creative control and rights is neither necessary to create a good strip nor very smart on the part of the artists. These guys have dealt fairly with DJ and elevated him to the pros. He also hasn't had any trouble with them, nor does he expect to.

But if, god forbid, he did, he would be holding no cards (at least none that aren't specified ion his contract). That's all there is to it. Those were, and are, the terms.

Many will go for it and probably everything will be fine. Comics publishers aren't evil, nor are they ruthless. Many aren't even profitable. That's not at all what I'm saying… I'm saying that creative control should remain with the creator. Not all the money (nor even most of it) but control over the characters, the story and so on. Editing is fine… even necessary. The publisher always retains editorial rights in every case. That's different than creative control.
Josh Carrollhach
For profile inormation, other comics and general blog stuff, please check out
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The Clench and Cheese Blog
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
djcoffman at 5:21PM, May 3, 2007
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I think that's fine if you're just self publishing. But for a big company to spend or invest lots of money in promoting your work and the brand they should own the property in most cases. Look at Marvel and DC. It's just smart business for publishers to own the IP, but reward creators with good page rates and percentages.

I don't know exactly how it works, but I imagine this… you're a media company, you get a call from a big movie studio and they want PROJECT X as a movie or animation deal, they want to deal NOW. Some deals are made in 90 second phone conversations (so I've heard) – but the publisher has to stop and say… “Oh well, we'll have to clear this with the creator because we don't own the rights to…” – ERRRRNT! The deal is over before it began.

Saying it's “not smart on the part of the artists” is just your opinion. I think it's one of the best deals I've made so far in my career, and I was hardly young and desperate. This was definitly a big hand up to a new playing field though. If you actually want to do this as a career or envision yourself making a living doing this when you're 80 (like i do) then this sort of contest is a great opportunity in your career. That's all I'll say about it.

I read on your blog about Calvin and Hobbes. You mention it was succesful because Bill Watterson worked hard, etc. This is PARTIALLY true… he would have been nobody if he hadn't signed a deal with the syndicate first. Hard to believe, huh? It's the hard truth. Had he tried to self publish his strip and self syndicate, he would have failed miserably. His contract is no better, because he still to this day does not OWN C and H exclusively, his syndicate still holds many rights. If he wanted to make a Calvin and Hobbes movie he couldn't do that all on his own either, he'd have to work with the syndicate that brought his feature to the masses and made it popular.

There are several cartoonists out here on the web who are just as talented as a young Bill Watterson, but hidden away in obscurity.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
carrollhach at 6:09PM, May 3, 2007
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Well, DJ, you certainly are the most qualified person to make a recommendation. As you point out, it is only my opinion, and my experiences have been mostly with ad agencies, corporate monoliths and newspaper syndicates. (As far as Watterson goes, I think he's in a class by himself. I feel the same about Brad Bird, IMHO. Self syndication, once rare, is now more the norm. For Better or For Worse was a pioneer in self-syndication, and is currently one of the more popular strips in newspapers. Whether ol' Bill W. had it in him to do that himself is pretty doubtful, as he openly admits to not being a very good businessman!)

And you're right, it is a tremendous leg up. Personally, I am wary of media corporations and their decision-making apparatus because, in my experience, they usually go for the money instead of the quality. Not always true, but often. Decisions made in the boardroom are where movies like Catwoman come from, and the reason why Warners never promoted The Iron Giant.

The media frontier is changing really quickly, so fast that the powers that be are sweating bullets. As creators, we are at a disadvantage until we've established a track record. Any help up is indeed a favor, and quality is often the result. Independent creators in every medium are responsible for most of the major innovations in whatever genre (music, animation, comics, art, etc) because they are free from corporate restrictions. In the early 90's I tried for three years to get a strip syndicated, and when I was finally offered a contract, I backed away because I didn't like the odds. That's why I'm barely getting by with my art, having yet to hit it big. This said, though, I've put years of work and lord knows how many hours of thought into my characters. I've grown attached to 'em and want to retain control.

As far as creating a project specifically for this contest, who knows. As a dad I am fluent in three hundred dialects of hypocrisy!


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 6:25PM, May 3, 2007
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Yeah, I feel the same way about my Yirmumah project. Some projects are more personal, and well, frankly, they're just not marketable to the masses. But I think every creator can come up with multiple ideas. It doesnt' make sense to guard them all so tightly if you're looking for a career in comics. You kind of have to go for it at some point or another.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
carrollhach at 6:27PM, May 3, 2007
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Agreed. Everybody has to have a job, and as artists we are all working toward that big carrot; getting paid well for our unadulterated ideas!

I would love to see your Yirmumah project sometime, too!
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
MrGranger at 8:03PM, May 5, 2007
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After a year of talking to DJ, some of the Platinum, and rethinking the whole deal I've come around. And since this year it's only NEW ideas, it's not like you're going to lose something that you've invested tons of money building up. Platinum will build it WITH you. Considering the deals in Hollywood, the competition's deal is pretty good.

Still…I don't mind people not entering since it's less competition for me.
;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:08PM
ccs1989 at 12:16PM, May 6, 2007
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This got featured in a little blurb in the NY Times (I think that's what it was) today. So you guys might be meeting a lot more competition than just a couple people from DD. Also qualifications are stricter this year.
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
Zenstrive at 2:20PM, May 6, 2007
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*sob* San Diego is so far away *sob*

*sob* it's so faaaaar awwaaaaaay *sob*

*sob* i don't have that kind of money *sob*

*sob* *sob* *sob* *sob* visa and all *sob* *sob* *sob* *sob*
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:55PM
skoolmunkee at 2:56PM, May 6, 2007
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So, if yours is one of the chosen ideas, do you HAVE to come to san diego to pitch the idea? I suppose that would rule a lot of people out.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
djcoffman at 7:28PM, May 6, 2007
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Yeah, you have to go out if you're in the top 50. They're giving a lot more time to plan this year though, and pitching in a little bit for the travel which should help a lot of people out. It should at least cover the airfair, maybe get with other contestants and shack up in hotels together?

Last year when I was picked, I had 7 days notice! And it was like, come hell or high water I was getting out there! I'm glad I did!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
Zac at 7:42PM, May 6, 2007
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Can you send a representative? Like a sibling or partner or something? I know I'd like to enter, but won't be able to make it to SDCC because of work.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:53PM
Phantom Penguin at 7:50PM, May 6, 2007
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No point of me to enter. I wont be able to fly out to the panel.
I had some ideas to..
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
sandy at 8:16PM, May 6, 2007
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This sounds like an awesome endeavor but I have a publisher who's going to print Cuatro and the Zylonian Knights and I'm under oath of contract, so I'm afraid I must decline on this glorious competition. I wouldn't want to go against my contract.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:22PM
marine at 10:14PM, May 6, 2007
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Well I'm submitting stuff regardless. I've already wrote an outline for a story and dome up some sketches for pages.

Does DJ get any kind of points for his creation? I'm sure when (of if) the next hero by night writer/artist comes in, does DJ get the “created by” credit and so much of a percentage?

And in some aspects of it, shouldn't we be thankful that the original creators of certain beloved properties LOST control? Look at Wolverine for example. Originally he was meant to be a mutant Wolverine. Spider-man's not wildly different from where he was in the 60s, but he is married, has had some memorable villians Stan Lee never would've thought of. As an asshole, I think it'd be great to see my creation be as hated for being popular as Family Guy. Even if I got less than a ten dollars for it, I'd still be proud of myself, and as an asshole, I'd charge people a fortune to sign their crap or just to meet me. I'd just be psyched to see my crap be popular enough to be hated. If that even makes sense.

Thats why I'm submitting certain aspects of penis to platinum studios. I'm taking some characters and storyline from the old animated ones and submitting that. They bring out a decent sum of money, they can get the a very marketable comic. I'm pretty sure it'd work just as well if the words “%##@$!” put over curse words works just as good for it. The bleeps work for south park, don't htey? This reference heavy weird crap sells pretty hard (look at family guy). I've already got the readers to buy stuff too (I might even buy a ton of my stuff myself). Is there anyway to just submit my work and not have to be involved in a contest and have to fly to San Diego? The voting for the last ten seems rather pointless too, since the internet is easily swayed. I really could (and would) sell my soul over the phone and be done with it for incredibly cheap. With me, you'd get your work well ahead of time and it'd be of a good enough quality that you wouldn't have to do much for it to sell. It is what it is. Its funny dick and fart jokes with original characters, with enough heavy handed after school special in it to get away with the dirtier aspects of the comics.

I'm serious though, I'm ready to sell.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
djcoffman at 5:33AM, May 7, 2007
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Yeah in my contract there's a line about creation credit. I didn't even ask for that, but you see that they've been putting “DJ Coffman's” Above many of the logos. I'm pretty positive they'll keep me involved with Hero By Night as long as I want to be.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
djcoffman at 12:09PM, May 7, 2007
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I can understand concern here and discussing it, and me giving answers and telling about my deal and experience with with winning, but I really don't understand why it was necessary for Josh to blow the drama horns and e-mail a site like Fleen over this matter? Anyway, I responded there…

http://www.fleen.com/archives/2007/05/07/good-days-and-bad/

If anyone ever has any questions, comments, fears or concerns over dealing with Platinum, feel free to ask me instead of randomly speculating or worrying or scaring hopefuls away.

Good luck everyone!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
carrollhach at 12:24PM, May 7, 2007
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I wasn't really trying to blow the drama horns on this… there had been some discussion of this very topic on Keith Lango's blog and on cartoonbrew.com regarding an animation contest held earlier this year by Cuppa Coffee Studios. I emailed Gary at Fleen because I thought he'd be interested. A lot of young artists don't really think heavily enough about this, and I wanted to bring it to attention of the comics community outside of Drunk Duck. It also may help show new artists who don't know about DD the community here.
But, I did send him the email before DJ had a chance to respond, so it's one sided. Also, the cuppa coffee contest was about finished projects, not just story ideas. I feel very strongly about rights management, but I absolutely concede DJ points in this particular case. And so does Fleen.

Sorry if I ruffled any feathers.
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
MrGranger at 12:30PM, May 7, 2007
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djcoffman
Yeah, you have to go out if you're in the top 50.

But only the entry right? Since I'm heading my team not everyone in the team has to come out…right? That would be difficult since I work with a lot of guys in Spain.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:08PM
djcoffman at 12:35PM, May 7, 2007
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Your quote there just bugged me:

Someone
“The “sign your rights away in the guise of a contest” continues, this time in webcomics. Platinum Studios, though Drunk Duck, is holding a comic contest where the winner signs away everything.”

That bothered me because that's not what Comic Book Challenge is at all. It's speculative junk like that that DOES create unnecessary drama. It's sort of like creating a debate over stuff that's not a reality. By the way, I just want to firmly clarify, I didn't “sign away” anything. I SOLD it. And I'm happy that 100% of forever I'm attached to it by name and royalties, etc. Something that cannot be said for many creators working today and yesterday in comics.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
djcoffman at 12:36PM, May 7, 2007
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MrGranger
But only the entry right? Since I'm heading my team not everyone in the team has to come out…right? That would be difficult since I work with a lot of guys in Spain.

Yeah, your whole team doesn't have to be there, just so you have the creative team lined up and represented in your pitch art. I mean, I assume this, I'm sure Platinum Dan would let you know if I were wrong.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
carrollhach at 12:49PM, May 7, 2007
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Yeah, that was an overblown (dare I say “cartoonish?” ) way of expressing that. Also, the Cuppa Coffee contest kept your submission regardless of whether they used it or not. That's a big difference.

I probably could benefit from a bit of reflection before firing off emails I can't get back, eh ;)
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 1:04PM, May 7, 2007
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carrollhach
Yeah, that was an overblown (dare I say “cartoonish?” ) way of expressing that. Also, the Cuppa Coffee contest kept your submission regardless of whether they used it or not. That's a big difference.

I probably could benefit from a bit of reflection before firing off emails I can't get back, eh ;)

Don't worry, I've totally done that in the past bro!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
MrGranger at 3:01PM, May 7, 2007
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djcoffman
MrGranger
But only the entry right? Since I'm heading my team not everyone in the team has to come out…right? That would be difficult since I work with a lot of guys in Spain.

Yeah, your whole team doesn't have to be there, just so you have the creative team lined up and represented in your pitch art. I mean, I assume this, I'm sure Platinum Dan would let you know if I were wrong.



Dan? I know I'm not the ONLY person with this question.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:08PM
Black_Kitty at 3:35PM, May 7, 2007
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He's the person that started this thread. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
carrollhach at 7:25PM, May 7, 2007
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Platinum Dan, Platinum Dan
He's a platinum man
He's got platinum hands
The man with the plan is a platinum man
and his name? His name is
PLATT-I-NNUMMMM DA-A-ANNNNNN!!!!


(second verse, same as the first!)
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 5:53AM, May 8, 2007
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And like clockwork, the Comics Journal picked up your link from Fleen because anytime they get a chance to bad mouth Platinum they jump on it. It's sad that it's based on a quote by someone who had no real knowledge of the actual contest. God forbid an actual news source or something that calls itself “journalism” would actually ask if the winner if it's a “raw deal”, but instead they'll link to speculation and BS, probably aiding in scaring off a few creators who this could have been beneficial too.

This is the only thing I dislike about the internet.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
carrollhach at 7:43AM, May 8, 2007
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Dang, man! I emailed a retraction, too. Well, maybe furor will get more attention directed at the contest, eh? I mean, NYT did a story on it last week. My apologies for stirring up a maelstrom.
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 7:48AM, May 8, 2007
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Well, it's just certain circles online that like to run with a juicy drama story. It's easier to just link to things or use blurbs like that, and you have some people waiting in the wings to trash a good thing, so that irritates me.

Fleen is awesome though.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
carrollhach at 7:55AM, May 8, 2007
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They're paraphrasing with something like:
EVIL PLATINUM CONTEST TO RIP HEART FROM CREATOR
Are limbs and eyes to follow?

or some such. Ah well. Power of a headline, I guess. Never any shortage of folks who are trashing something. I dislike being taken out of context… it wasn't my point to disparage Platinum, but rather to encourage callow youths to read contracts. Sigh.
I published a retraction (of sorts) on my blog. D.J's comments on this matter certainly deserve to be read by TCJ folks who pop in.
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
Platinum Dan at 12:38PM, May 8, 2007
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Hey, all. Sorry I dropped off here. I actually took a few days of vacation away from computers before the craziness that is the Challenge gets into full swing.

First of all, no, the entire team does not have to be there, only the entrant. Actually, only the entrant is allowed into the room to pitch the judges. There will, however, be a lot of goodies for the entire creative team. We're working on prize packages right now for the top 50, the 10 semis, and the 3 finalists. More on that soon.

My only response to all of this “debate” that is going on is this: if you don't like the concept of selling your rights away, please don't enter and I really wish you the best of luck on your own. Honestly, I do. There are some people who have been incredibly successful doing it all on their own and it is possible. I will also, however, caution anyone choosing this path to be realistic about the amount of effort it takes in to going this way. Email Scott Kurtz or the guys at Penny Arcade and ask them how much of their day is spent on the business side of things and how much do they get to make the art. It's a lot of hard work and in the end it may not pay off. It may not pay off with Platinum behind you either. There's no guarantees in this business. It's really all about a choice in paths and making the right choice for yourself and your particular idea.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM

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