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The Irony, It Is Delicious

On the one hand, nobody should be on Disney’s side of the screwing people out of their contractually-agreed royalties issue, not even Disney. So it was good to see a press release of another company getting on board with the efforts of the #DisneyMustPay task force.

On the other hand, it was BOOM!, and the hypocrisy is thick enough to cut with a knife. It’s been at least five years since BOOM! has been, rightly, called out for their shit rates; in fact, here’s three pieces from the first half of 2016, when it was a new and big topic in comic circles, and has since just kind of faded into the background radiation of the industry. Not just shit rates, but pervasive late payments, and legal hardball:

The other recurring conversation regarded the generally crappy terms offered by BOOM! Studios, with more than one creator (none of whom wished to be named) mentioning attempts to get moral rights waived, to allow unlimited editing of art or text without approval or consultation with the original creator, and unconscionable grabs for media rights in exchange for the the simple act of printing.

[This quote references a footnote in the original, which reads: As in, You’re coming to us with a complete story and in exchange for a crappy page rate we get all the movie/TV rights to it, for free, forever. BOOM!, you do not pay enough by at least a two orders of magnitude to make that sort of deal even vaguely fair. If you include secondhand reports, it gets even worse.] [boldface originally italic]

Again, nobody willing to go on the record, but I spoke to creators with lawyers who were tied up for literally years to get rights back from BOOM! that were never agreed upon in the first place. Every creator I spoke to that summer and since has been unanimous: BOOM! has terrific editors; very nearly all of them¹ say that BOOM! also has horrific business practices.

There’s also nothing on BOOM!’s own website, just a brief quote in somebody else’s press release. Oh, and speaking of press releases, here’s one from the end of April, which I believe is BOOM! first got mentioned in conjunction with Disney and royalties:

Fox had licensed the comics rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dark Horse. After Disney purchased Fox, they withdrew those rights from Dark Horse and granted them to Boom! Comics. When one Buffy author contacted Boom! about missing royalties, they were told that “royalties don’t transfer.”

Disney is one of the owners of Boom! Comics.

The royalties don’t tranfer answer from BOOM! doesn’t really square with yesterday’s announcement that BOOM! wasn’t told by Disney who was supposed to get royalties. I’m reading it as BOOM! getting caught and four weeks later has decided that damage control is warranted; then again, they just might be confused by the idea of royalties, since so much of what they publish is work-for-hire that doesn’t have royalties attached.

But let’s acknowledge that BOOM! are apparently moving in the general direction of doing the right thing. Here’s hoping that getting dragged again — this time by a big enough group and not by individual creators without legal recourse — will be what finally prompts BOOM! to look at their own habits with regard to paying creators.

Spam of the day:

Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to worry about blood sugar spikes and finger pricks? Well, just add this to your morning coffee. It’s that simple!

Uh-huh. Even if I were a raging diabetic (and thus in need of new blood sugar control methods) and also Rich Stevens (and thus 27% coffee by mass), I wouldn’t believe this bullshit. Fuck off, then fuck off some more.

¹ Those without complaint could be considered bigger names and were also uniformly the only creators I spoke to who didn’t report getting paid late. One was actually kind of offended by my question, noting they weren’t going to piss on [BOOM!]. One may reasonably wonder if there is a sales threshold, beyond which BOOM! is more scrupulous about contracted payment terms.

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