Tue

04

Jun

2013

Surprise! Controversy!

Comics can be a funny business. 

 

Creators — and I'm as guilty of this as anyone — can be a contentious lot. There's a lot of ourselves on the page, whether you're a writer, an artist, a letterer, an inker, a colorist, an editor, a publisher.

 

So, we are an unruly bunch if something happens that we don't like. 

 

As a result, when there's some kind of comics-related "controversy," I tend to ignore it. Most of the time, it is little more than empty noise. 

 

For the first time, I find myself directly involved with one, and I don't like it. 

 

When Dynamite Entertainment offered me the opportunity to pitch a Lady Rawhide story, I was pleased to do so. I enjoyed the Topps Comics title, and have long admired Don McGregor's work; Mr. McGregor, to be clear, is the co-creator of Lady Rawhide alongside artist Mike Mayhew. 

 

In the press release announcing the title, there wasn't a mention of Mr. McGregor (or Mike Mayhew). It was an error, an accidental omission. Certainly Dynamite was aware of their role, because in our conversations about the project, Nick and I mentioned the source material and its creators several times.  Weeks before this all blew up, I wrote the first line of the script: "Lady Rawhide created by Don McGregor and Mike Mayhew."

 

That's right, internet. Human beings are occasionally in error. 

 

Mr. McGregor was understandably upset when he didn't see attribution in the press release, and it is my understanding that Nick and Mr. McGregor have reached an agreeable outcome, which pleases me greatly.  

 

For my part, Mr. McGregor's body of work has been a companion on this ride. I've made sure from the outset that my approach to the character would be as faithful as I could muster. No costume changes, no origin retcons. My goal has been to put the toys back in the box in the exact condition I found them. 

 

I will also note that Nick caught some heavy flak for a brief, thumbed-onto-cell-phone-whilst-in-transit response to the initial outcry. I will concede that it came across as brusque, but I submit that, when one is erroneously and publicly being called a thief, brusque is an understandable tone to adopt. 

 

Omitting mention of the creators was a mistake, one that Nick and Dynamite have apologized for and rectified, because Nick is an honorable man, in my direct experience. He has always treated me with honesty and candor, and has never acted like I'm just the hired help (which, really, I am), but rather as a partner and collaborator in our shared creative endeavors. 

 

On several occasions, I know that Dynamite has generated projects specifically to help a freelancer who has fallen on hard times. While we occasionally disagree on matters of aesthetics or business strategy, he is, in point of fact, a good man. 

 

I'm not a "company" guy. I don't work for Dynamite, except as a contractor. I'm not on the payroll, and I have not been asked to write this. But I feel it's important to make sure that, somewhere amidst the clamor of people baying for Nick's blood, someone points out that the guy who is actually writing the work in question wants nothing more than to honor what came before, and has been encouraged to do precisely that by Nick Barucci and Dynamite. 

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