The Education of D.J. Coffman
A week ror so ago, Platinum Studio’s #1 supporter, DJ Coffman announced he was suspending his HERO BY NIGHT comic because of non-payment issues. He remained optimistic, however, that he and Platinum Studios could negotiate a reversion of rights. Today, his education continues when Platinum COO Brian Altounian tells him that because of his whistleblowing, those rights are no longer on the table. Coffman is baffled:
Like I said, they have every right to not deal with me now. But I question if that is the right thing for them to do, ethically at this point? If ethics are out the window in this conversation, then fine, so be it. I think the win-win would have been for them to allow me to continue producing it on my own, toss me that bone. The company wouldn’t be taking a loss on it anymore and content that they still could have represented would have been being made with no new costs coming out of research and development. Even if you were completely pissed off at me and hated my guts for telling the truth, this would have been the smart business decision. I know they have similar deals with other creators (Rob Liefeld, I think) , so this clearly feels to me, in my own opinion as just a slap on the wrist to keep me quiet. Wow, that worked out swimmingly, didn’t it.
Now, there are some of you out there who are laughing your asses off right now. But Platinum Studios is reaping as they sowed — when DJ was a forthright plain speaker about how great they were it was all hunky dory — now that the shoe has dropped, he’s not so great?
I guess to the people at Platinum Studios, I’d say it’s not too late to do the right thing here. I know they won’t be happy about me writing this, and probably leaves an unpleasant taste in their mouth, but to them, I say, for all the times you praised me or my work ethic, and told me that you wished all creators worked like me, for all the times I went to bat for the company or people there, for all the times you needed something tomorrow and we had it to you today– make this situation right somehow. Because, at least to me, it feels pretty wrong right now.
I’m the same straight shooter that they hired in 2006, and praised for it. I’m afraid they can’t have it both ways.
BONUS: Al Nickerson has more:
Sadly, my worst fears about Platinum have come true. The publisher is taking advantage (IMHO) of a fellow comic book creator by not abiding by it’s (as far as I can tell) contractual obligations. If you say you’re going to pay someone for their work, then pay them.
What’s a comic book creator to do? A publisher owes you money. Money that could have gone to paying your mortgage and other bills. Money that could help feed your wife and children. If a publisher isn’t paying you for your labor, if they threaten to hold control of your creation(s), then I say hire the best lawyer you can and make sure that this type of thing doesn’t happen again.
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