Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Because I'm Not Batman

Somehow, we have managed to make it to week ten of 2010, though it feels like just yesterday I was eating a Christmas ham. The last two months have been a blur, and as I'm sure many of you have noticed, it's taken a bit of a toll on the blog. Sure, we still post (like clockwork!) seven days a week, but our posts have become noticeably shorter in length and lighter on content lately.

Between my new, weird hours and time spent in traffic, and Nathaniel's 100 other things that he does during the week, getting to the blog is a nice escape for us. But, by the time we physically get a moment to sit down and go to the blog, well. I can only speak for myself, but I know I'm pretty tapped when it comes time to post again.

I'm being honest when I say that, recently, I sit down at 8:00 the night before a post of mine is scheduled and I just start typing. Typically, I have no real feel for where the thing is going--which I'm sure doesn't surprise any of you.

And aside from the weekly Waiting for Wednesday column, I don't really have a plan for what I want to talk about during a given week. Now, I'm not saying that, once I start typing, I don't give each post my very best. Because I do. But I think my hours and the fact that I don't get much sleep are starting to become clear in my posts here.

And, while I'm on the subject of apologizing, I guess I'll also apologize for my previous (and angry) post from late last week, about my "situation." While I still can't get into the whole thing, I will tell you all that it is one of those cases of "creator rights" that you always here about online from writers and artists who have been treated unfairly by the companies they work for.

In my case, I am yet to find someone who doesn't agree, 100%, with my side of the issue that I'm embroiled in, save for the person against whom I have been struggling.

And I really am sorry that I posted about the issue again last week (and, obviously, here today), especially because I've written about the situation in the past and I had previously promised to go into details. I think it's something I will someday do.

I know it's something that I want to do now, because I feel like my story might be able to help out quite a few newbie creators who are just trying to find something that clicks with someone. So, yeah. Sorry about that, folks, but I was pretty ticked off.

I still am, too. Ticked off, that is.

The project I've alluded to is one that I spent many hours on--and I'm talking nights and weekends and, once, in a hotel room in Georgia with half a tuxedo on as I got ready for a close friend's wedding.

As you can tell, this is something that likely will never really get out of my system, and I plan on fighting and fighting and fighting--no matter how miserable it makes me. I'm not a confrontational person by nature, so the thought of really going toe-to-toe with someone isn't my cup of tea.

What can I say? I'm not Batman.

But the thing is, I am an incredibly competitive person. That's the old athlete in me, I guess. And when I was that person, I was very much a confrontational person. On the field, it was different.

Now, please don't get me wrong here. I have had many occasions in my life where I've needed to stand up for myself, and I did so. Never back down, and all that. But I don't go looking for fights, and honestly, if you do something that hurts me, I won't say much about it.

I'll just never speak to you again.

I've got no time for people who do me wrong. And, boy, can I carry a grudge. But this situation is different, because as hard as I try to end it, it seems to always creep back up. It's been a life lesson--one that's cost me money, time, heartache, and, as it's becoming apparent now, jobs in my field.

I wish it would go away, and I wish I didn't feel the need to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and complain to all of you. But I appreciate the fact that you all visit this blog and read what we write. So I feel like you deserve an explanation, and an apology. But I also want you to know where I'm coming from, and how deeply this is all affecting me, personally.

And I think it would be a waste of this domain if I didn't talk about the crappy stuff along with the good stuff. (Like Blackest Night! I finally got all caught up on my books, and I'll be posting about that this week.)

And I know there are some of you who wish I would just shut up already and get to the comics right this minute, and to anyone who feels that way, I want to promise that I will get back to comics. I have a long post ready for tomorrow's Waiting for planned out and (hopefully) written by the time you read this.

But please just bear with me for the moment.

Having something you created--something you pulled from the ether and made real--is a cool experience. Having that something stolen from you is pretty much the opposite of that experience. Money and profits are nice things on the surface, but ownership is what really matters.

My fight is about ownership, and the recognition of creation. It's the oldest battle in comics--older than even Superman versus Lex Luthor. And I mean that literally.

Go ask the relatives of Superman's creators. Or Jack Kirby's family. Or, for that matter, Bob Kane's kin, who have made out on the character because Kane himself was smart enough to worry about such things as copyrights and ownership way back in the 1930s.

There's a long history of villains in the comic book industry. I think it's safe to say that there are still villains out there, but when you get involved with a big comics company, you know exactly what to expect. But when you do things on a small scale, with people you once trusted...well.

If nothing else comes of this mess, at least I learned to always expect the worst from people. Because that way they can't disappoint you in the end. And, if they turn out to do right by you, it's a nice little bonus. A tough, cynical lesson.

But, I think, a valuable one.

On that note, I'd like to end with the following.

Every convention I attend, I make a point of it to seek out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and to donate some money to their cause. Because they stand up, not only for creators' first amendment rights, but also for the rights of those who sell and distribute comics and related genre fiction. There's also The Hero Initiative, which strives to collect funds for ailing creators.

Both of these organizations do great work, and I support their causes as often as I can. The reason I'm mentioning this now is because, since it's tax time and refunds are on many people's minds, everyone's always looking for a worthwhile charity to donate to. Either of these organizations would appreciate the help.

Check out their Web sites, and if they strike the right chord with you and you're in a position to give a little, give what you can. And look for their booths at the next con you attend--they sell some amazing merchandise, and all their profits go towards their cause.

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I'll be back tomorrow with a very fanboy-ish Waiting for!

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