Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Traci Adell, the WWF, Fatale on TV, and the Web of the Snyder – Part 1

First This

It occurs to me, duh, that I have not yet wished everyone a Happy New Year. Sorry. So, without further ado, 
Happy New Year!

The last year has been a tough one for most people I know. Many are unemployed, almost everyone has struggled and only a very few have done well. Here’s hoping that 2012 will be better. And that planet Nibiru doesn’t crash into us on December 21st.

Thoughts for the New Year:

Nike, Inc. “Just do it.”

Jimmy V:  “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Winston Churchill:  “Carry on, and dread nought.”

My Grandma Elsie quoting a mummers play:  “Take a drink from my bottle, let it run down thy throttle; rise up and strive again.”

B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown:  “Keep your sunny side up….”

John F. Kennedy:  “All of this will not be finished…even perhaps in our lifetime on the planet. But let us begin.”

Me, at DEFIANT:  “Just don’t quit.”

I hope your holidays were groovy. Press on regardless.


What Broadway Video Entertainment Couldn’t Do

Much of anything useful.

Back in late 1994, I needed a gig. Eric Ellenbogen, President of Broadway Video Entertainment offered me one—partnering with BVE to start a comic book company, Broadway Comics.

One inducement Eric offered was that parent company Broadway Video had clout in the film and television arenas. With their muscle behind us, surely our comics properties would be on the big or little screens in no time.

So, how’d that work out?

Not well.

As it turned out, Eric Ellenbogen and BVE didn’t seem to have much more clout than I do. I’m sure Broadway Video boss, Saturday Night Live co-creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels does, but we didn’t get a lot of his time or attention. 

And, what does clout get you anyway? Meetings. Meetings don’t get shows produced.

The following things get shows produced:
  • Exposure—if vast numbers of people know your property, that’s equity you can trade upon. Lots of people knew of The Chronicles of Narnia novel series, which made it easier to get the The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and subsequent films made.   
  • Heat—if your property is the all the rage with a bullet, that’s a sexy selling point. Heat, or the trumped-up illusion of heat, drives deals. Twilight was hot, so The Twilight Saga films got made. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had limited success in a smallish market, but licensing agent Mark Freedman hyperbolized its mild warmth into a “grassroots comics phenomenon” and sold Playmates on licensing the property for toys and producing five animated half-hours. TMNT took off from there. (I know a good bit about that situation and I’ll tell the tale one day.) Not all properties that have exposure are hot—Narnia wasn’t—and not all properties that have heat (or the illusion of same) have tremendous exposure—TMNT sure didn’t.
  • An A-list talent attached to a property—if Travolta just happens to love your property and is committed to your potential project, it gets done. Which explains Battlefield Earth. A-list stars are considered “bankable,” meaning that with their involvement, studio financing is virtually a lock. Some director/producers are A-list, too. Anything Spielberg wants to do gets done. Same with Lucas, Cameron and a few others.
  • Money—if you invest a substantial sum of your own, sometimes, rarely, it will help get a show produced. I’m not talking about development money. Investing development money is pretty standard. I’m talking about committing dollars to production.
Of the four factors listed above, money is the weakest. Unless we’re talking Bill Gates money. People assume that your money is dumb money. If you have to put your own money in that means that you can’t raise any, and that means that the smart money is steering clear. Major red flag. Look up Warriors of Virtue, entirely funded by the Law brothers, four cardiologists from Colorado, to the tune of $55 million.

Yikes.

NOTE THAT THERE IS NO MENTION IN THE LIST ABOVE ABOUT WHETHER THE PROPERTY IS ANY GOOD OR NOT.

Honestly, sincerely, THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

If a property has exposure, heat or an A-list, bankable talent attached, “good” is irrelevant. The screenplay will be re-written anyway. Q-score, heat and especially bankable stars count. Pretty much nothing else matters.

People with the power to cause movies and TV shows to be made are deluged with potential projects. Who cares if yours is “good?” One of the next ten in the pile is probably just as good. Ten in the next 100, 100 in the next 1,000 are probably just as good. Who needs yours?

The fact that most of the production financing decision makers—network and studio execs—do not have a clue about what is good or not so good. Nor do they care. “Good” is obviated by the first three criteria in the what-gets-shows-produced list. It just doesn’t matter.

Exposure? Groovy. Heat? Cool. And no one gets fired for green lighting a Travolta picture.

Anyway….

Broadway Video Entertainment got us some meetings. None I couldn’t have gotten on my own, on the strength of my own credentials. Except one, maybe, with top cheeses at Paramount. Bigger clout than I have got us that meeting. The meeting got us nothing. They weren’t the least bit interested in our Broadway Comics properties. Our properties were not yet well-known, not yet hot and Travolta wasn’t attached to any of them. And, no way was BVE investing production dollars.

At one point during the meeting Eric Ellenbogen said to the Paramount execs, “You think we’re just Jews with phones!” The point he was driving at was that they were ignoring the fact that we actually had some really good properties to offer. But, as stated above, that doesn’t count for anything. That’s exactly what we were, Jews and a few gentiles with phones. Nobody cared about the quality of the work.

It’s not as if super-smart, UCLA and Harvard-educated, Hollywood-savvy Eric didn’t know that. He was pushing the envelope of the clout-thing, squeezing all he could out of the UCLA and Harvard connection he had with the Paramount execs. They had similar backgrounds, and yes, there’s an alma mater-loyalty, cosa nostra-like thing that goes on in Hollywood enclaves. But, no luck for us.

We ended up talking about licensing their properties, like Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy and Aeon Flux.

That never happened. Good.

So, what else did BVE’s clout get me?

A meeting with Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa. Thanks, but no thanks.

And a meeting with the World Wrestling Federation.

Not them again…!

I adamantly resisted any suggestion of doing licensed WWF comics. Been there, done that. Bad, bad, bad….

VALIANT, as you may know, was forced into a license to do WWF comics by my corrupt partner Steve Massarsky, who represented both Leisure Concepts International (the WWF’s licensing agency) and VALIANT. Can you say “conflict of interest?” Massarsky made a ton of money personally by making a deal with himself with utter disregard for what made sense for VALIANT, and I was stuck with actually producing WWF comics.

Working with the WWF at VALIANT had been a nightmare. They’d been uncooperative on every front. They honored none of their promises about helping us market our books. They were insane with regard to approvals.

No drawing we made of their wrestlers was ever adequate. The absolute worst incident involved a cover featuring the Ultimate Warrior that they rejected. I went to their offices in Stamford, Connecticut to argue. Their approval nitwits said his nose was too big. The Ultimate Warrior’s face, however, had been TRACED FROM A PHOTO. I, myself, had traced it. I showed them the photo. I showed them the tracing. I had a light box with me and proved that the tracing was exact.

No good. They insisted that the drawing was wrong, his nose was too big and the cover had to be redone.

Nitwits. 

I went back to our office and said, “Print it.”

The WWF approval nitwits later thanked me for making correx that weren’t made.
Anyway…back to Broadway Comics. Somehow or other, by dint of boundless enthusiasm and relentless persistence, we got Vince McMahon and his wife/partner Linda McMahon interested in the idea of using a live-action Fatale in their wrestling scenarios. 

Well, all righty then…!


NEXT:  Traci Adell

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jim, with all your "carry on" quotes - I could not help but think of the one from Al Swearengen: "The world ends when your dead. Until then, you've got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man - and give some back"

Jerry Bonner said...

Good, quality stuff here, Jim. I'm a big fan of cutting through the BS and telling it like it is (especially when it comes to the entertainment industry) and you've been consistently doing that on this blog. I've been in similar pitch meetings and I know how frustrating/demoralizing they can be. My favorite douchebag move was having a meeting scheduled with one person who passes you off to one of their underlings with no explanation whatsoever. I walked out of one "meeting" with a 22-year-old bippy "assistant" who clearly had no idea what I was talking about and had better things to do. Such fun...

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Hollywood, the land of the endless refusals...

Steven R. Stahl said...

Sorry to point this out, but Adelle is an incorrect spelling of the Playmate's surname. The correct spelling, Adell, was used in the previous entry.

SRS

Diacanu said...

And Eon flux is spelled Aeon Flux. ;)

jimshooter said...

Dear Steven,

You are correct, sir. My brain defaulted to Jack Abel's wife's spelling of "Adelle."

JayJayJackson said...

I should have caught those typos. I mostly do. Mostly. I did yesterday. But I've been working with almost no sleep for 3 days straight and my brain is gone gooey.

uncannyderek.com said...

Jim,

Recently Tom Brevoort posted this letter Vince Colletta wrote to the higher ups at Marvel after your departure.

http://themarvelageofcomics.tumblr.com/post/15228808133/the-famous-letter-that-inker-vince-colletta-sent

I would love to hear what you think on this issue, as well as Vince and any other stories revolving the letter. It seemed pretty intense.

As usual, thank you for these stories.

Jerry Bonner said...

Wow, that letter is something. Vince had some balls.

"...you repayed (sic) him by attacking him like a pack of yellow, prickless faggots."

That's a line written by a man who just doesn't give a f*ck and is pulling no punches. Guess he didn't get much Marvel work after that made the rounds...

Diacanu said...

Jerry Bonner-

Well...it was the late 80's, it was hip to throw "faggot", around.

It was the epithet of choice.

Little old ladies, cub scouts, everyone just loved it.
It was a more innocent time.

JayJayJackson said...

Jim discusses some things about Vinnie Colletta in the comments of this blog post if you'd like to scan through them:

Stan Meets a Mobster and Other Tales to Astonish

Emilio Torres said...

Thank you for all those great quotes Jim. The part about what things make a show/movie get done was very informative, thanks again.

Defiant1 said...

I had come to the same conclusion about Hollywood that your experience showed you first hand. The guy who published my poorly drawn comic in the late 90's gave up publishing his free monthly magazine to pursue a career as a screenwriter. He'd shopped his script around to some Hollywood actors and gotten a movie star to align himself with his script. The problem was that his actor wasn't a Travolta caliber star. I think his script needed a little more heat or money supporting it.

I've also seen the pattern of directors and creative types putting teasers into the press to generate heat. It seems the goal is to see which teasers grow legs and have enough strength to stand on their own. I thought VEI had a very flawed approach in promoting a potential Harbinger movie (although the MTV articles were a nice touch). The Harbinger TPB cover gave no insight into what Harbinger was about. The cover honestly looked like it might be a story about a pedophile and his victim.

I think that if the buzz gets big enough and if the media stays interested enough to keep asking about a project, it can generate the heat needed to attract the money.

Even when I was supposed to meet a Hollywood producer about my comic strip, I felt as though his success in Hollywood must have been stagnating and he needed something with a catch to boost his career. I've always felt my cartoon was bankable and I think I created a notable buzz from essentially nothing. It was getting local people's attention, namely at colleges in the area. The magazine as a whole was getting attention. My friend who wrote a rant column received a phone call from someone high up at Turner Broadcasting. He was complimented and a slight correction to something he said was noted.

You can't knock Beavis and Butthead even if it's not something you'd want to license. I suspect you might not even appreciate his vein of humor. Mike Judge is a creative genius in my opinion. Granted he does take a few brilliant jokes and beat them to death. Perhaps because I grew up in the same generation as him, I relate greatly to the cynicism and sarcasm he brings to his projects. Normally, I'm indifferent about meeting celebrities. I went out of my way to attend an animation show he hosted in Atlanta in 2007 and had the honor of meeting him. I just wish I'd had an opportunity to ask him more questions. I'm one of the few people who can say they saw Idiocracy in the theater.

It seems that in Hollywood, you are only remembered by your last big hit. If time elapses, you'd better be willing to fight for your place in the spotlight again. Remember Chris Carter's success with X-Files? His career seemed to tank after the lawsuit by James Hudnall. Chris Carter was contracted to bring his own projects to Fox I believe. He tried to pass off James Hudnall's Harsh Realm project as his own and I never saw him do anything else after that. There may be a story I don't know about, but it seems that even having a big name isn't good enough if your project has more risks than opportunities. You have to convince the guys with money that you WILL make them a substantial profit.

Hollywood also appears to be very cheap. TV stars in popular TV dramas always seem to get movie offers when their TV show is on top and they already have steady work. Many leave their top rated TV shows to start a movie career and their career tanks. The TV show's popularity is free advertising if Hollywood takes that actor's face and ties it to a movie. George Clooney and John Travolta are among those who didn't need a TV show's exposure. They were able to attract an audience on their own.

I found out recently that a girl I worked with and went to high school with produced Collateral along with Michael Mann. I think Michael Mann's name on the project probably gave it clout it needed to get made. I'm sure it's not an easy task attracting Tom Cruise to a project either. Either way, I'm proud of her accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Further to the subject of licensing and comics, would you be able to recount at some point how licensing of toy, apparel and other products worked at DC and Marvel? What was the relationship between the comic production department and the licensing office? Did it often mean your hands were tied? Is it true that DC were a lot fussier about who they gave franchises to than Marvel were?

-Brett Ballard

marco said...

Dear Jim

Been hotly anticipating the WWF post. Great stuff, as always, but not much grist to the mill for the wrestling fan. Can you name names? Did you have any dealings with the top WWF brass? The McMahons, Patterson, Brisco, Ross, Laurinaitis, Dillon, Cornette, Russo etc. I can imagine some of Vince's boys being particularly difficult to deal with.

Vince McMahon is someone in whom you might find, albeit reluctantly, a kindred spirit. A colossal figure, in more ways than one, in his field. The most powerful and influential man in his industry. Bearing, like Atlas, the full weight of a corporation and many livelihoods on his shoulders. Equally loved and loathed, much maligned and lied about, almost impossible to tell fact from fiction when you read about him.

Ah, the loneliness of command. "No beach to walk on," as Captain Kirk once said.

The difference is that his crimes are real, egregious and legion, while yours seem to be trumped-up lies concocted by disgruntled ex-employees. No stranger to the deposition box, he only stayed out of jail by wearing a comedy neck brace in court to win jury sympathy. Just like a wrestling angle, genius!


The Ultimate Warrior (or simply 'Warrior,' as he is now known, having legally changed his name from Jim Hellwig) is now a professional artist, and a really good one. He could probably do you a better cover than your worthy effort on the lightbox.

Would you please tell your Blog Elf to get a good night's rest, and not breathe in too many ink fumes?!

JayJayJackson said...

I've had 3 hours of sleep this afternoon and I've got one more long night of painting before tomorrow's deadline. I'll just read Jim's Thoughts for the New Year one more time and go for it. NoDoz is my friend.

Hunter said...

It would be possible to make some great comics out of Aeon Flux, but I doubt its particular brand of surrealism would be viable in the Direct Market...

Anonymous said...

JayJay,

5 Hour Energy drinks help me in a pinch.

marco said...

JayJay

Jim's inspirational quotations notwithstanding, bugger the deadline and get some rest.

Failing that, make sure you drink plenty of water, sustain yourself with all your favourite music, and know that your friends on the Shooter blog are rooting for you. And easy on those caffeine pills!

Some more inspirational quotations...

Mark E. Smith: "I drank a jar of coffee; Then I took some of these; And now I'm totally wired."

The Creation:
"Tried cartoons and comic books;
Dirty postcards, Woman's Looks;
Here was where the money lay;
Classic art has had its day.
Painter man, painter man
Who would be a painter man?"

Morrissey: "Just do your best and don't worry."

JayJayJackson said...

I appreciate the inspirational quotes! Especially "Just do your best and don't worry." THAT I need to hear. I'm at this horrible stage of almost every job I do where I'm close to finished and I hate everything I've done. A couple of days of perspective would probably help, but I don't have that. I just "know" the client will hate it and I'm just making myself crazy in addition to the deadline pressure.

Why did I become an artist? Because I love it so... lol.

First strong cup of tea and a box of Crackheads down so far! Only 11 hours to go!

Defiant1 said...

JayJay,

I got a whopping 3 hours of interrupted sleep last night. Woke up at 5AM. Drank a 12oz.sugar free red bull, took a Taurine supplement and drank a double espresso all before 7 AM. I'm wide awake 15 hours later and wondering if I'll really fall asleep if I lay down or stare at the ceiling. If I hadn't taken the Taurine supplement, I'd have crashed about 5 hours ago. Thankfully it's not like caffeine and if I go to sleep I will sleep very good.

Steven R. Stahl said...

NoDoz is my friend.

I don't know where you buy your NoDoz tablets, but you might be paying more for them than JetAlert tabs would cost. I take two 200 mg caffeine tabs every night at work and take anywhere from two to five tabs during an exercise bike session, depending on how many hours I'm on the bike. Taking the tabs boosts my RPM rate tremendously. A bottle of 90 JetAlert tabs costs only $3.99 at Kmart.

SRS

Anonymous said...

Primatene Mist would also get your heart rate up, but it has now been banned since it was cheap, the prescription inhalers cost about 10x more. Lance Armstrong can recommend performance enhancers.

Diacanu said...

Um, Primatene was banned cuz some model killed herself with the stuff.

ja said...

Well, she shouldn't have eaten that cracker when she took the Primatene, yes?

jimshooter said...

Dear uncannyderek,

I have a copy of the letter. He gave it to me after the letter had been delivered. I had no prior knowledge of it. I don't condone Vince's ways of going about things or saying things, but he was angered by what went down and expressed it, his way. I think it absolutely confounded him that I never flew into a rage or tried to strike back at the perps and their accomplices. His way wasn't and isn't my way. I'll talk more about Vince at some point. He was a unique and amazing man.

Kid said...

That's one post I'll be looking forward to, Jim. Any chance you could move it up the list? In recent years there have been a few attempts by other artists to re-ink some of Jack Kirby's Thor pages. Interesting as they are, I prefer Vince's original versions.

Jeff Clem said...

Defiant1 said:
"The Harbinger TPB cover gave no insight into what Harbinger was about. The cover honestly looked like it might be a story about a pedophile and his victim."


What Harbinger tpb cover are you referring to? The only tpb-version cover I ever saw was the same as the cover to the first issue.
Also, I appreciate the points you make - I don't always agree, but I see reasoning, intelligence and maturity behind them. However, you throw the words "genius" and "brilliant" around rather liberally; listen, I like Mike Judge's stuff too, but I save "genius" and "brilliant" for real geniuses.

JayJayJackson said...

I don't have much of an opinion one way of the other about Beavis and Butthead, but Idiocracy, directed and written by Mike Judge, was genius. It affected me profoundly. That was the scariest horror movie I've ever seen and it stuck in my head like trauma.

And I'm pretty sure Defiant1 means the new Harbinger book:
http://wiki.valiantentertainment.com/index.php/Image:Harbinger.jpg
Not a great cover.

Jeff Clem said...

Wow, that cover of the hard-bound sure fits what Defiant1 was talking about - now I see what he means!
And,
I saw "Idiocracy" as well and I really liked it...quite a lot....but "genius"? C'mon JayJay - you too? :)

Edward said...

Wow, after reading Vince's letter, gosh, I feel the outrage like I was there as well.

Jim - I know there have been many times in my life that I've failed to show the level of class and integrity that you showed in the wake of your departure from Marvel. I completely respect you for that and can only hope to emulate it somewhat.

I can't help but think that your day will come . . .

Anonymous said...

JayJay - Mike Judge also did the movie Office Space - an absolute classic. Just about every scene in the entire movie is quotable

JayJayJackson said...

I'm not saying he cured cancer, but Mike Judge has come up with some damn fine entertainment. And I know first hand that's hard to do.

bmcmolo said...

Idiocracy is absolute genius. And prophetic. Hell, prophecy nothing; it's already come true, in many ways.

"Georgia's IN Florida, dumb-ass..."

bmcmolo said...

I wish Extract had been a bit better. The bar was set pretty high with Idiocracy and Office Space. A good, quiet little movie, but not of the same impact.

Anonymous said...

Agree about Extract. It was just OK. The only thing I remember from it that was really funny was the wife putting on the sweat pants thing

Jeff Clem said...

Yes, that Mike Judge sure did come up with some damn fine entertainment. And I also know, first hand, that is hard to do.

Defiant1 said...

This was where I met Mike Judge. He did a question and answers session after the show and then signed autographs afterwards as people approached.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTqElk6TpgY

The ticket stub:
http://bit.ly/AfRkH5

His autograph:
http://bit.ly/AzxDyV

I believe his dad was a college professor in Anthropology. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. The notorious "TPS" report referenced in "Office Space" was an actual report used by software engineers. He was an engineer prior to becoming a success in animation. I think he said he worked for Boeing, but I might be remembering the wrong company name. It was a high tech company either way.

"Office Space" is a snapshot of everything employees hate in their job. I think it was genius to have the hypnotist die after hypnotizing the main character into not caring about his job. I've been at jobs where I didn't care anymore and I found the reaction of people around him almost plausible. The power games people play in a corporate environment require that the employee care and be intimidated by threats or harassment. Once you throw that fear out the window and only talk common sense, people are profoundly affected by your attitude.

Idiocracy is happening around us. The sarcasm is priceless. "Welcome to Costco, I love You" being said had me laughing in pain. Upon mentioning Starbucks with enthusiasm, the character says "Yeah, like we have time for a hand job." All I could think about was Kieron Dwyer being sued by Starbucks in 2000. He lost based on dissolution of Trademark due to this image.
http://bit.ly/zAKedk
Starbucks is a company which I feel is litigious (as is U-Haul... but that's a whole different story). Seeing the movie Idiocracy portray Starbucks that way made me smile immensely. No gripes with their product. Just their actions.

Defiant1 said...

Jim/JayJay

I'd love to know which wrestling magazine features a Fatale comic strip. I had retailer Doug Sulipa look through his inventory and he never found it for me. I'd love to hear more about the Broadway Launch Party (Lorne Michaels) and more about the Broadway Video Special Collectors Edition #1 since I've seen less than a dozen ever turn up for sale. Did people throw them away? Were their kids coloring in them? Any recollection about it would be nice to hear.

Anonymous said...

[MikeAnon:] Jim, couple of questions:

1) How could Broadway Comics not get exposure when Broadway Video Entertainment has a direct connection with Saturday Night Live? Was Broadway powerless to do even a 5-second plug for the comics either on SNL or during the commercials?

2) Here's the HARBINGER continuity gaffe that drives me nuts: In HARBINGER #2, drawn by David Lapham (right?), Toyo Harada *introduces himself* to Sting and crew. Yet in HARBINGER #0, written and drawn by David Lapham, Sting meets Toyo Harada before the events of HARBINGER #2. I'm thinking this is obviously a gaffe on Mr. Lapham's part, but here's my real question: What was the story you intended for HARBINGER #0 (assuming you had one in mind)? Was it anything like what Mr. Lapham came up with? [--MikeAnon]

Defiant1 said...

Jeff Clem,

Take a look at this picture:
http://bit.ly/yaH6Xo

I've never had confirmation as to whether this is a real undoctored photo, but the thought that someone may have actually paid for an ad like this in Times Square horrifies me. I assume that it's Times Square. I've never been North of Harrisburg Pennsylvania and that was in 1976.

It tells me that Brett Ratner made X-Men 3. I liked it, but wasn't it criticized as the worst of the three movies up until that point? He's going to bring some other comic called Harbinger to the big screen. Hmm! Whats that? Oh, there is an image that must show me what Harbinger is about. An angry looking man standing over a younger man who has a look of regret on his face. What did they do? What happened? Why do I want to see a movie about a young man that regrets something? Is it his dad? Surely not, they appear to be of different nationalities. Hmm! Whatever!

That supposed "Ad" lacks in many ways. It's like they wanted to pee on their money before they flushed it down the toilet.

Defiant1 said...

Harbinger #2 starts off with the kids in a hospital in Decatur Ga. My mom worked at the only hospital in Decatur Ga. I know exactly where that story takes place. I was injected with radioactive technetium there and DIDN'T turn into a superhero. The nurses knew how excited I was going to be... sigh!

marco said...

Dear JayJay

Can you tell us if your painting was finished and delivered on time and if it was well received? Can you give us a sneaky peak at the canvas? Were you content with the result and did you manage to catch up on some sleep? I'm about a hundred times more engrossed in your quotidian little story than I ever was when Chris Claremont went out into space with mighty galactic superbeings that smashed planets and said, "Hear me X-Men!"

Totally love Mike Judge, much prefer King of the Hill to The Simpsons. I would go ahead and say that Office Space is kind of genius, I go ahead and love that film. Maybe as a Texas gal you could go ahead and render some Boomhauer translations for us.

JayJayJackson said...

Hi Marco,

I did get done! whew! I even got a few hours sleep. Here are the two digital paintings I did. I'm waiting to hear if the client likes them.

Sad Puppy
Sad Kitty

Jeff Clem said...

Oh hell, I'll quit being such a fuddy-duddy...dammit, if it gives us pleasure, then whoever is responsible is a genius!

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for "Thoughts for the New Year" which should be my thoughts for every year. In return, I offer this quotation by Dean Wesley Smith from an article I read a couple of weeks ago (emphasis mine):

Failure is very much an option in publishing in all levels. However, quitting is not. You quit, you are done.

[W]hen I talk about an objective in the future that is out of your control, I will call it a “dream.”

An objective in the future that is totally in your control I will call a “goal.”


Success is a dream. But good work is a goal. We are in control of our creations. Let's do them well, even if we can't control how others react to them.

Steve Ditko just won't quit. He's written and drawn 16 comics since 2008. I've got a lot to catch up on.

I did get all of Broadway's output years ago apart from variants, the Fatale collections, and the ever-elusive Miracle on Broadway. Broadway covers sported a large logo that even civilians could recognize ... and yet civilians never did get to see those stories onscreen.

I used to think connections were a big deal in Hollywood. (I've been driven through it, but I never worked there.) Now I know they're not enough. I enjoy trying to dissect success, so I appreciate your list of four factors.

Perceived heat trumping limited exposure in the case of TMNT. makes me imagine the Hollywood version of rock/paper/scissors: Exposure/Heat/A-List. A study of the methods of agents like Mark Freedman might be fascinating. Conversely, a study of self-funded movies gone wrong might be sadly entertaining.

I had totally forgotten about Warriors of Virtue until you mentioned it. That TMNT wannabe came a decade too late. I'm surprised the Law Brothers managed to make a second Warriors movie after that debacle. How did four doctors manage to fund two expensive movies and buy The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts? Their collective bio on this site doesn't address that question. The answer may be more entertaining than the movies themselves.

I think "good" may be relevant to success, but you're talking about whether something is produced here. The first hurdle. Whether the public welcomes a production out of the gate is another matter. And so is why the public welcomes something. Quality may or may not be the reason.

Beavis and Butthead, Ren and Stimpy and Aeon Flux were all hot in 1993 but had cooled off by 1995. Glad you didn't license them and were able to focus on your own work.

Have you heard of Sliwa's own comic? I recall an ad for a Guardian Angels comic with him on the cover during the black-and-white boom when seemingly anything made it to print. But I don't know if it was actually published.

You told Joe Petrilak that

The WWF promised us we'd have distribution in their venues (which never happened, of course)

Where were the WWF comics distributed? Comics stores? Newsstands? I never knew they even existed until I read that interview over a decade ago.

Did you draw the Ultimate Warrior on the Battlemania cover? The text overlaps his hair and is hard to read.

Traci Adell looks like Fatale!

Marc Miyake said...

Dear JayJay,

Glad you finished and got some sleep!

The eyes of the paintings contrast with the rest. Was that the client's request?

My two favorite English-language movies might be Idiocracy followed by Office Space. And I used to watch a lot of Beavis and King of the Hill. So I think highly of Mike Judge. He's observant. He sees where we're going -- straight down! -- and doesn't hesitant to point at that pathetic arrow. I've called Idiocracy a documentary -- the most realistic movie ever made. Unfortunately, he seems to have lost his game lately. Still haven't seen Extract and can't even remember what it's about. Goode Family seemed way too obvious to interest me.

I have the original Harbinger TPB so I never took a good look at the cover of the new release. Thanks for the link to the latter. It's ... busy. The iconic original cover is poorly remade at the upper right, and the Mustang is distorted: e.g., the windshield is so tiny! Where is the VALIANT realism?

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Defiant1,

Thanks for mentioning James Hudnall. That Harsh Realm affair was doubly ugly. James and the artist, Andrew Paquette, not only didn't get credit but had their concept mutilated beyond recognition. Fortunately the true creators won and Carter hasn't done much since X-Files ended. He made an X-Files movie four years ago and has a non-XF movie in post-production now.

Is Broadway Video Special Collectors Edition #1 distinct from Miracle on Broadway?

The Times Square Harbinger "ad" is terrible for the reasons you mentioned and more. The top screen looks like a screenshot from WordPad. The "ad" looks like something cobbled in a couple of minutes. No effort and no thought leads to no reaction from the public. How many people walked past that "ad" and thought, "Wow, I want to see that"?

JayJayJackson said...

Thanks Marc! On this job I didn't really have much of a brief. Just to come up with something for kids 3-10 that was unisex. I'm not the obvious choice for doing children's stuff since I'm not around children much, but I know I liked those "big, sad eyes" paintings back in the sixties by Keane and Gig, so I thought I'd do my take on that type of thing. I figured even if the client doesn't like it, I can always use the art for something of my own. And it's a good chance to work on my digital painting skills.

jimshooter said...

Dear Mike,

RE: "1) How could Broadway Comics not get exposure when Broadway Video Entertainment has a direct connection with Saturday Night Live? Was Broadway powerless to do even a 5-second plug for the comics either on SNL or during the commercials?"

Lorne Michaels/SNL would no sooner run a plug for Broadway Comics or trump up some way to do a mention of us than they would do the same for one of their kids' lemonade stands. Plugs and such mentions are usually considered tacky and unprofessional at best. Plugging or publicizing a struggling little start up that Lorne owned a piece of would have been seen as outrageous and amateursville. It's the same as any other media deal. If we had already succeeded and had characters that were well-known, if we had significant heat, and were rising like a rocket (especially among the hip, in-the-know people), or if for some wacky reason, an A-list star had come across Star Seed, loved it and wanted to play Cor in a movie, then maybe. Otherwise, forget it.

One of the reasons we wanted to get Fatale on the WWF shows was to build some awareness/heat/and star-status for Traci Adell's so we could get media licences and presence -- on SNL or anywhere else.

RE: "2) Here's the HARBINGER continuity gaffe that drives me nuts: In HARBINGER #2, drawn by David Lapham (right?), Toyo Harada *introduces himself* to Sting and crew. Yet in HARBINGER #0, written and drawn by David Lapham, Sting meets Toyo Harada before the events of HARBINGER #2. I'm thinking this is obviously a gaffe on Mr. Lapham's part, but here's my real question: What was the story you intended for HARBINGER #0 (assuming you had one in mind)? Was it anything like what Mr. Lapham came up with? [--MikeAnon]"

I created Harbinger in 1987. Originally, I wrote it as a movie treatment for Paramount, at their request. The treatment is available for download here. The head of production at Paramount "loved" the treatment, but asked me to rewrite it into a comedy vehicle for Eddie Murphy. I refused and withdrew the treatment.

I used concepts from the treatment for the Harbinger comic book.

David Lapham wound up drawing and writing Harbinger #0 after I had left VALIANT. He had access to a copy of the treatment, but deliberately did his own take on events therein. He screwed up with regard to the continuity, as you said.

If I had written the #0 issue, I would have based the story on the treatment to some extent -- however, the treatment was for a film, and adjustments would have had to have been made. Harada in the treatment (to whom I had given the placeholder name "Kuramoto") dies at the end. Obviously, that would have had to have changed. Kuramoto/Harada meets Pete briefly at the end. Obviously, that would have had to have changed, to accomodate continuity established in #2. I think I would have remembered that Pete and Harada's first meeting took place in issue #2, and made the adjustment. I'm pretty good at such continuity consistencies. But, who knows, I might have forgotten, as David did.

jimshooter said...

Dear Marc,

RE: "I'm surprised the Law Brothers managed to make a second Warriors movie after that debacle. How did four doctors manage to fund two expensive movies and buy The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts? Their collective bio on this site doesn't address that question. The answer may be more entertaining than the movies themselves."

The Law brothers' owned a large toy manufacturing company in China, a small American toy company, a Chrismas display novelties company and other holdings, I believe. They had/have some money.

RE: A Guardian Angels comic book. I don't know if one was ever done, but it wasn't something I thought would have much chance of success.

RE: VALIANT WWF comics: They were sold in comics shops, on the newsstand and in some mass market retail chains. They never did well.

RE: The Battlemania cover featuring Ultimate Warrior: You have a point.

RE: "Traci Adell looks like Fatale!" Bingo.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for mentioning James Hudnall. That Harsh Realm affair was doubly ugly. James and the artist, Andrew Paquette, not only didn't get credit but had their concept mutilated beyond recognition."

[MikeAnon:] To be fair, the HARSH REALM TV series was damn good. No, it wasn't Hudnall and Paquette's creation, but that didn't make it bad. On the contrary, HARSH REALM was an amazing exploration of virtual reality and existential issues, plus it also brought out a wonderful performance from Terry O'Quinn (later John Locke on LOST) as the mad general Santiago. This was a show that was good enough and deep enough to go on for years, but (1) it just didn't grab the audience share it needed and (2) THE MATRIX had come out that same year, unfairly rendering HARSH REALM into "the poor man's MATRIX." I didn't get a chance to see the series until years later on DVD, but I was so captivated by the concepts that I *grieved* with the realization that 3 DVDs was it -- there were no more episodes coming. HARSH REALM is a great viewing experience and I recommend it to anyone. [--MikeAnon]

Defiant1 said...

I brought up "Harsh Realm" because I hate fantasy, but I liked Hudnall's portrayal of fantasy as a world within virtual reality technology. I never saw the TV show, but I knew it was available on DVD and didn't match the premise in the comic. As far as the comic went, the art wasn't my favorite, but the story was so interesting that the distraction became less of an issue. It got the job done... marginally so.

Van GoghX said...

Those with Netflix can add Harsh Realm to their DVD queue if they haven't seen it. It's not available on streaming.
Worth a watch, in my opinion.

marco said...

Dear JayJay

Thanks for sharing the sad creatures, they're great, excellent work! I'm sure your clients were thrilled. The cat is just wonderful, but then I'm a sucker for cats.

Anonymous said...

Agree, HARSH REALM is an underrated show. And Terry O'Quinn is as good as always. A great actor and a wonderful human being.