Never sign a Work For Hire contract with Platinum Studios!
Submitted by strangq on June 18, 2007 - 16:43
Stay away from Platinum Studios and any Work for Hire contracts if you feel attached to your creations. I feel as though I signed my soul over in a deal with the devil.
My name is Mike Strang and I wrote a comic book for them a horror spoof entitled WEIRD ADVENTURES IN UNEMPLOYMENT...
I signed a work for hire contract being naÃ¯ve and took the little money they gave me up front to write four issues because I was happy to achieve my dream that I was going to be published into a real comic book I can put in my long box next to my beloved Batman collection. That and I would get royalties on the back end when it hit the shelves. To do so I signed the rights to my character Wrigley Barnes trusting them because of the editor in chief there at the time was Lee Nordling, a stand up guy
I worked well and got through what was asked ahead of schedule. After artists mysteriously came and went on the project it was over two years before the thing was actually getting drawn and had a projected solicitation. The first issue was nearly complete and then Lee left the company and the project was shelved.
I heard later after many months from an insider that under new management they were kicking me off my comic and going in another direction and that I was being replaced by another writer. I thought that was shady not telling me anything when I regularly emailed about updating me on news about the project and replacing me on MY CREATION.
After a few strongly worded emails they told me that theyâ€™d at least release my version of the first issue, the only one that was already drawn on Drunkduck, something I have little interest in, no offense to other web comics, my dream had a long box in it. Iâ€™ll also see no money on it. No loss for them, and it was the VERY LEAST they could do for me.
When I wasnâ€™t getting updates on even that, I contacted the artist in fears of more monkey business and they told me I was fired for insubordination. Funny, I thought I already was canned, but Dan Forcey VP of Development used that as an excuse to finally separate me from my creation along with saying I was responsible for rewrites that I was never made aware were requested or even given an opportunity to correct.
I signed my characters over to them trusting the line they were selling about respecting creators. Scott Rosenberg himself the Chairman of Platinum Studios helped build Image Comics which is based on creator rights. HE responded to one of those strongly worded emails and told me that they would only replace me if I could sleep on it. But apparently either he was lying or Dan Forcey doesnâ€™t care because I said I couldnâ€˜t sleep on that because artistically how could I be satisfied with a creator credit on someone elseâ€™s work but plans are still going forward without me.
If they didnâ€™t like my scripts fine, I can deal with it. Dump it, I wonâ€˜t do anything with them anyway. Iâ€™d even give them back the $1000 you paid me for the rights and writing the scripts. Donâ€™t take the property I created and put my heart into and tell me Iâ€™ll no longer be needed on itâ€˜s future plans. I donâ€™t get the satisfaction of my own comic and the money Iâ€™d get would divide my small share into an even smaller nothing.
Call it â€œbusiness, not personalâ€ as Dan Forcey told me. I call it morally wrong and STEALING. Any man on the street outside of the industry would too.
When your business is based on using other peopleâ€™s dreams for your own financial gain, you may not realize it but that is personal. I was perfect prey, inexperienced and naÃ¯ve who didnâ€˜t understand the full ramifications of what he actually signed.
Out of the millions of properties out there hopefully nothing may ever come of Weird Adventures in Unemployment. In theory Platinum Studios could make zillions off it though and I get peanuts for it, all because I wanted a comic of my own published.
The lead character was based on me and even looked like me so I LITERALLY signed my soul away! Iâ€™m totally beating myself up over this and give up on comics as just another victim of the dark side of the entertainment industry.
My dream is dead.