Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Preemptive Strike: BS Walks! 

Mercury is about to be featured again in a prominent Portland magazine (and you can be sure Kevin at Thought Balloons will know about it before we do, somehow) so I'd like to nip some things in the bud, as Barney Fife would say.

We've been soundly ignored on our recent plea to stop asking if you can bring your talented or directionless children by the studio. We have our own talented and directionless kids to watch after, thank you. Perhaps that was passed over with a snort of mirth because Lieber pleasantly injected some humor into the notice. It's the genteel way to say "please don't ask", and at one time, would have been enough. But now we live in a crude age where everyone feels overly entitled, thanks to Dr. Phil I assume, I don't know. Whatever reason, our society now needs ideas put to them like red shout lettering on signs at public swimming pools, or the 40 ft. wide No Returns policy on the wall at Best Buy. So I shall be very direct and humorless in the next paragraph.

DO NOT APPROACH US WITH YOUR IDEA THAT YOU WANT DRAWN FOR FREE. WE'RE CALLED "PROFESSIONALS" BECAUSE WE DON'T WORK FOR FREE. Do you ask your contractor to build on an addition to your workplace with the vague promise of "I'll cut you in if anything comes of it!"? Everyone in comics has to hear this periodically. Usually the Offender misrepresents himself, as if he already has a publishing/film/whatever deal lined up. And he's always willing to "cut you in" for an insulting percentage. I believe Mark Evanier covered this topic a while back, reminding creators that anyone suggesting you can work for free has already shown you how much value they place on your efforts. Now really, Prospective Entrepeneur Who Has Just Decided To Delve Into Comics, this isn't a chiding that applies to others but you've got something different going on. WE MEAN YOU. Oh, you've got an idea for a children's book? Well that's sweet. Ideas are a peso a dozen. It's about results. Cartoonists have plenty of ideas themselves, they don't need yours. If they're going to work on something for free, it'll be their own thing, that they own all of, not yours. Is that clear enough? And for people who are already in the comics industry who try this-- shame on you, you should know better.

Seriously. You try to talk to any of us about your Sure Thing without at least putting some money up, you're going to find a collection of Size 11's up your ass. At least the people with the kids aren't trying to take food out of our mouths. Now go buy a lottery ticket. Next: A More Pleasant Post.

--crabbed out by Parker, who's thoughts expressed may not represent the whole of Mercury Studios, but probably does.

P.s. Those essays by Mark Evanier are archived here, here, and here.

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