November 14, 2013


7:08 am in comics,community,internet,reviews,Uncategorized Ulises Farinas

You ever have a time as a kid, where you and a bunch of friends, are messing around and joking a whole lot, and there’s a teacher or a parent there, and everyone’s having a good time? And then one of the dudes gets out of hand, and says something that’s just so messed, like “HAHA YEAH, THATS WHY THE HOLOCAUST IS FUNNY!” and everyone stops, looks, and the teacher is like “Ok, thats enough guys. Get back to work.”

That’s how i feel about JL8.

I’m not against fan art, and the first reaction people will have to me hating on this, will be “BUT DIDN’T YOU DRAW A BATMAN COMIC TOO?!” Yes, yes i did, and you know about me mostly because I DID fan art. I still DO fan art. Because our industry is so broken, that regardless of how good an artist you are, if you don’t get down on your knees and worship at the altar of geek consumerism, you can’t get noticed.

Every. single. blog. Spends way more time covering established properties than any creator owned works, and that’s not really an issue to me. That’s business. People get hits on shit thats familiar. So even though I had drawn over a hundred pages of creator owned comics, it was only until I did some lego superhero stuff that anyone looked my way. Comics like the Oatmeal, they know all about making easily digestible, shareable content, regardless of whether it’s good or bad or drawn well. But at least it’s original.

There’s a mutual understanding between major publishers and the creators and the fan base, that you’re gonna make a little side money for yourself, maybe make a bit of a name too, but somehow we all understand, that we are only borrowing what’s not ours, and if they took them back, we can’t whine and complain, we graciously give them back and go on with our lives. Many fans ultimately become the creators, and so fan culture is a major part of comics culture. But what happens when a dude like Rob Granito comes around, takes some drawing you did of some character, and redraws it and sells it like its his? We hate him. How dare he! But a dude like Yale Stewart, nobody says a thing.

There’s a line, and he crossed it. People have told me, that the story is good. What if, for instance, tomorrow, I thought “I could do Cold Heat better than Santoro, I’m gonna start writing my own Cold Heat comics.” At conventions, my whole table was “COLD HEAT – A ULISES FARINAS fan COMIC” and everyone told Santoro “But it’s a good story” One page, one time, fan art of the work, would be flattering, basing your entire career on someone else’s work, is theft.

We can not be advocates of copyright reform, of creator rights, of better standards in our comics, if we can’t agree what is a fair use of taking existing works and remixing them in our culture, and what is just deceiving the consumer into directing money into your pocket that should go to the original owners. If his storytelling is so good, his art is obviously drawn well, then he should have the balls to let them stand on their own. It’s not just a crutch, the dude has amputated his own legs and replaced them with stolen parts.

I find it disgusting to see an artist who’s got no spine, basically draw DC Precious Moments as his entire career. I would love if DC could somehow purchase it, but it’d basically justify any person who bootlegs their properties. Just do it long enough and successful enough, and you can steal your way into their good graces.

So many times, you’ll hear comics conversations about how Stan Lee stole from Jack Kirby, how this artist is being screwed over by this publisher. And I myself, I steal comics and movies from multi-billion dollar companies. Sometimes you’re Jean Val Jean and you just stole a loaf of bread, other times you’re an asshole. Its partly the fault of DC, for not recognizing that a product like this they should already be making. But at the end of the day, here goes a talented artist, who may also be a talented writer, who isn’t a david to a goliath, he’s the lice in both their hair.

It makes things weird for us, who are at cons doing this legally grey artwork to survive, and it’s weird for companies like DC, who if they go after him will have another PR nightmare just cause a dude didn’t know when to stop. I draw a lot less fan art as i used to, mostly cause it served its purpose, and now I try my damndest to sell my original ideas to publishers.

JL8 makes it seem like it might just be more worthwhile, to be a parasite than a scavenger.

As an afterthought, a counterpoint, an artist who does lots of fan art, but I respect, would be Corey Lewis. That’s how you do fan art:

1 Comment »

  1. You do know that’s a free webcomic, right? Yale has creator owned work, and does sell that.

    Comment by Rin — November 14, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

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