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Incurring the Wrath of the Chief

Wow, kids, I'm mad! In sort an amused way, but still mad! Check out this article at Punk Planet in which Anne Elizabeth Moore speculates that SLG's deal with Disney could lead to Disney exerting control over our comics. I wrote a letter to the editor of Punk Planet, and I'm making it an open letter because I want to be on the record as coming out against this kind of nonsense.

I didn't include this in the letter, but the part about Dan being capitalistic? Well, NO FUCKING KIDDING. When it comes right down to it, Dan wanting the company to make money means wanting to be able to continue paying his employees and keep his company running so we can publish work that we believe in. It's nice to believe that art is all that matters--I would love that--but it's not. As Virginia Woolf wrote, works of imagination like art and fiction are not webs "spun in mid–air by incorporeal creatures, but are the work of suffering human beings, and are attached to grossly material things, like health and money and the houses we live in."

We're not goddamned robber barons. We're just a few people trying make a living. Would I love to be fabulously wealthy? HELL YES. I would be a responsible fabulously wealthy person, but still, HELL YES. But let me tell you, none of us are going to be anything near fabulously wealthy anytime soon. Most people in comics are making a financial sacrifice because we care about the medium, so FUCK all that bullshit anti-capitalist posing.


And now the letter.

Dear Punk Planet Editor:

I really have to comment on Anne Elizabeth Moore's article speculating about SLG Publishing's licensing deal with Disney. In a word, it is what most speculation is: Bullshit. (And I'm glad I'm writing to Punk Planet, so I can say it like it is.) When Dan Vado said that Disney will not have any control over the non-Disney comics that we publish, he meant exactly that. The "For now" that she prefaces his comment with is misleading and insulting. Except for the four licensed titles, SLG comics are creator-owned, and it is impossible for Disney to do anything to or with them without the creators' permission. And I'd like to see anyone try to claim that Jhonen Vasquez would allow Johnny the Homicidal Maniac to be turned into a musical. The idea is laughable.

I thank Ms. Moore for her consistent interest in our comics, but I cannot let her write ridiculous, alarmist articles about SLG without commenting. I would very much like for her to post a retraction.

Thank you,

Jennifer de Guzman
SLG Publishing


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 30th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC)

There is far too much of this kind of thing happening. Journalists have a responsibility to their readers, not to suck them in with bent-truths and misleading statements, but with honesty and fact. It is unfortunate that far too many readers don't read what they do with a critical mind. They figure that since it's in writing, it must be true. They naturally assume that whoever is doing the typing has also done their research... and little phrases like "for now" can easily turn one's positive opinion about SLG into a negative, faith-lacking opinion.

I hope they post a retraction... and I hope SLG will do whatever you can do see that people like Anne Elizabeth Moore are stopped in their tracks.

Good luck.
Mar. 30th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
It is a sad state of afairs when people constantly confuse trying to not go bankrupt with selling out.

Mar. 30th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
Just keep publishing great comics that people believe in and I'll keep buying them. SLG is a company right beside Oni Press that is the heart of true comic storytelling. Everybody who works for SLG deserves a raise.
Mar. 30th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
and I was looking forward to johnny the musical ;p

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - earthdotprime - Mar. 31st, 2006 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sagcat - Mar. 31st, 2006 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jdeguzman - Mar. 31st, 2006 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 31st, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
something like a year ago, I suggested in this space that getting into bed with an evil corporation like Disney might be a bad idea for an "indie" comic publisher, and you gave me a similar shellacking.

Me thinks you protest too much. Nothing pisses off the alt-kids like telling people you saw them at the Mall.
Mar. 31st, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
Your "logic" defies my understanding.
(no subject) - sagcat - Mar. 31st, 2006 02:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sushimon - Mar. 31st, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sagcat - Mar. 31st, 2006 02:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jdeguzman - Mar. 31st, 2006 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jdeguzman - Mar. 31st, 2006 03:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sagcat - Mar. 31st, 2006 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 31st, 2006 04:28 am (UTC)
I guess my alarmist flags never got raised over the Disney thing because SLG is and will always be the indie comic publisher to me. It's not like the shock I got finding out AOL-Time-Warner had it's hands on DC. I guess I just said, "HEY WE GET GARGOYLES COMICS NOW."

In the manner that PP managed to insinuate that you are now all corporate, capitalist slobs, I highly suggest that you tell PP to stop selling their magazine for the five bucks they sell it now and hand it out for free. Because making money off stuff is bad, right?

Yeah. Whatever. SLG remains steadfastly amazing in my heart and one day I hope to submit my work to it so I might be a part of that amazingness.
Mar. 31st, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the vote of confidence!

Yep, it's not like Disney has its hands all over us; we get to have our hands all over Disney! Well, a little tiny bit of it, anyway.
Mar. 31st, 2006 05:04 am (UTC)
I give the letter a thumbs up.
Mar. 31st, 2006 08:03 am (UTC)
I talk too much.
I'm excited for what SLG is going to do with things like Tron and Gargoyles however I've heard from multiple people many times that Disney takes all the rights for things created under their employ so as long as the details of the deal lets you mess with their characters without them having any sort of creative control over non-disney things then I don't care. As for the whole selling out angle I don't agree. Disney isn't quite close enough to a deal with the devil but it will ensure some popular character licenses so its a sound business decision. Just make me one promise SLG, please please don't put all efforts into Disney licenses and go down the path of Dreamwave doing nothing but transformers and teenage mutant ninja turtles and spin-off comics and then going bankrupt. That would be a very horrible thing for comic fans world wide aside from the immediately affected parties.
Mar. 31st, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Re: I talk too much.
Oh, no, we're not going to become nothing but Disney-licensed comics. We might do others besides the four we have now, but we're not going to drop our creator-owned comics.
Mar. 31st, 2006 08:43 am (UTC)
someone needs a hug.
it does seem a very odd article. it amazes me how someone who claims to be a journalist can let her quite obvious beef with slg get in the way of actually reporting a story. she has a cynicism the british would be proud of :p

slg connected with disney IS unusual news to everyone who hears it, but that makes the whole deal all the more interesting, throwing the two together and seeing what comes out of it. to suggest disney now have their talons embedded in slg's chest shows a genuine lack of understanding about what's actually going on here.

i say go team slg. also, when do i get to work on the rework of Bambi? i have this scene with industrial shears and a giant walking faeces baby i'm just itching to get your green light on... :P

Mar. 31st, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Spank that ass red, baby! Spank it!!!! ;p

Mar. 31st, 2006 06:50 pm (UTC)
So I'm late to the game, as always. But WOW! Now there's someone whose fantasy world I wanna live in, where the intent of art is kept pristine from greedy capitalism! Unfortunately, that leads to the other extreme: art-by-committee. So, never mind.
Mar. 31st, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)

this is along the lines of artists being "sellouts" because they get paid for their work. apparently, we all have to work normal office jobs for income, and use our freetime to make comics on a regular basis.

don't let the idocracy explode your head. im pretty sure it's one of their ploys.
Mar. 31st, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
another view... from the inside
one final thing to consider:

As a creator, one who worked for a looooooooooooong time to "break in" to this business, over the years there have been a lot of opportunities to work at varying places, some better than others and some out of choice and others out of need. I personally, feel lucky to be a part of SLG and to have my work carried by them - not because they're an indie and that that gives me some sort of cred at APE or against the cod-piece and cape stories out there (which I suppose it does to a degree) but because I A) read SLG books myself, and havbe for years, and B) Because, SLG respects the creator and works hard to establish a workable environment for creator owned properties to be released - I have yet to see a publisher of SLG's scale do the same (with one possible exception - and no for the record it ain't Tpop to which i refer).

It's very nice to immediaitely assume the worst, it's an easy choice and it makes thinking not quite as necessary - but those assumptions are not always correct, even if they seem logical from one particular view. I'm not saying that larger coprorations are not taking over smaller businesses, that's simply the way fo the world, and I'm not saying if that's a particularly good or bad thing (my views on politics and business are not appropriate here me thinks) - but what I would like to point out is that that knee-jerk reaction to anything even remotely similar to tht outcome is understandable to a degree, but you want to bare in mind who else is involved. I have a hard time seeing any of the other creators jumping up and down to lose their hard earned creative control on the whim of Disney and what they represent.

It's not about whether or not Disney is even good or bad, simply if that situation would be one the creators would embrace or bitch about (and rightfully so). The point of fact is, that that has not happened, there are no screams of joy or agony from the creators, because we realize that with SLG our babies are not in danger of being devoured by the 6ft rat from Anaslime... until it happens just don't be too alarmed on our behalf ^__^

SLG creator, and attemptive, temporary voice of reason,
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 3rd, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
I know you just want me for all the money I have from selling out to Disney! ;)
(no subject) - jdeguzman - Apr. 3rd, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 3rd, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
"It may just be a matter of time before the rough edges of indie comics are smoothed into the clean lines and furry bodies that wave their way down Main Street USA."

I like how SLG's supposed (and slapped down) sell-out is going to destroy all of indie comics. Because once SLG publishes an "Alice in Wonderland" book, then JTHM will become the property of Disney, and then Disney will control the entire world of indie comics everywhere, right?

And I thought I was paranoid.
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