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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

Current TOT >> TOT Archives | About Tony | Books by Tony | Message Board

TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Monday, April 13, 2009

It's not often I entrust the lead of TOT to another writer, but I'm happy to make an exception for Mike W. Barr, who is a good friend and one of my favorite writers. So, without further introduction, here's what Mike has to say.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine

To the Comics Industry:

IDW has announced, as part of its involvement with the Star Trek franchise, the publication of Star Trek Archives, Volume 4: Deep Space Nine, which collects the Deep Space Nine stories originally published by Malibu, written by me and drawn by a number of artists. My name, along with the names of the artists, is being used to promote the volume.

However, IDW has refused to pay a reprint fee to any of the creators whose stories are being reprinted in this volume. Such conduct is a thirty-year step backward for the business, flies in the face of what has become accepted industry practice, and is a slap in the face to the entire creative community. DC and Marvel have paid reprint fees to the creative teams of reprinted stories for decades. If IDW wishes, on its tenth anniversary, to be regarded as a major publisher, it should follow the example of the industry's two leaders and treat fairly those who make its success possible.

Readers who have been entertained by the work of these creators and believe in fair treatment should buy none of these volumes. Retailers who have profited from the work of these creators and agree with this goal should not carry them. Until IDW agrees to pay a reasonable reprint rate, I have demanded IDW cease using my name in the promotion and sales of this volume. If the collection is presented to me, I regret that I cannot sign it.

Should there be any doubt in your mind as to which side of this issue to come down on, ask yourself this:

How can it be thought fair for everyone involved with IDW's collections editors, staffers, distributors, retailers to profit from them, except the individuals without whom the actual stories would not exist?

Sincerely,

Mike W. Barr

******

TONY'S COMMENTS

Licensed properties are a tricky road to hoe for freelancers and publishers alike. The rights to previous Star Trek comic books move from publisher to publisher along with the rights to publish new Trek comics. Malibu, never the most trustworthy of publishers to begin with, is no longer in business.

That said, while IDW may be under no legal obligation to pay reprint money to the creators of those comics, I believe that they should heed both the industry standard and the moral imperative to do so. It's a shame that, six decades after Martin Goodman screwed Joe Simon and Jack Kirby over Captain America, and DC screwed Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster over Superman, that publishers still treat creators and freelancers unfairly.

DC used to pay a straight reprint fee to creators and pay them additional royalties based on sales of their reprinted work, but I honestly don't know if they still pay that straight fee. I believe Marvel pays royalties based on sales. At the very least, IDW should pay the original creators of these stories a percentage of what it makes from the repackaging of their work. That is not only fair, it's good business. It's often the add-ons - respect and royalties - that determine where creators take their projects or from whom they accept work-for-hire assignments.

Even if the royalty payments are small, IDW should pay them, and, as a matter of common courtesy, they should send contributor's copies to all whose work they reprint.

It's my hope that IDW will, indeed, do the right thing.

******

TONY POLLS

The Tony Polls are back. While I didn't get as large a response as I hoped, there were enough voters to convince me to run with this feature a while longer. Here are the results:

Would you like to see the Tony Polls return?

Yes.....95.05%
No.....4.95%

How often would you like to see new questions?

Weekly.....44.21%
Every Other Week.....44.21%
Monthly.....11.58%

Since "weekly" and "every other week" tied, I plan to mix this up for now. The current poll questions will come down sometime after midnight tonight; at that time, they'll have been active for a week. I'm not 100% certain what questions will be replacing them on the morrow. Depending on what they are, they will be active for one or two weeks.

If you haven't voted on our current questions - which concern DC's Final Crisis, Marvel's Secret Invasion, and the United States military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy - you can do so by going here:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 04/10/2009 | 04/13/2009 | 04/14/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board.
Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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Recent Columns:
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COLUMNS >> Tony's Online Tips | Law is a Ass | Comics 101 | Baker's Dozen | Cover Stories | After the Golden Age | Philodoxer | CyberDen




THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



Please send material you would like me to review to:

Tony's Online Tips
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256


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