Adventures in Freelancing


One of the odd things that occasionally happens when you’re freelancing.
That, above, is a picture of Liana, the former Green Lantern of the planet M’Elu. She starred in my first professional comics script sale, where she was drawn by my friend and occasional collaborator, Richard Howell, in what was his first professional comics sale as well.
A while back, I got asked for some input on a project DC was doing . One of the ideas I occasionally bugged Bob Wayne about DC collecting as a TPB was being done—a collection of the very enjoyable Mike Barr/Len Wein/Joe Staton Tales of the Green Lantern Corps mini-series from 1981, backed up with enough stories culled from the subsequent “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” backup series that ran in Green Lantern. The collections editor wanted to know if I had any thoughts on which GLC backups to use?
Well, sure. I put together a list of possible stories—and since this is me we’re talking about, I gave him a list long enough to fill three TPBs, but hey, it woulda been good stuff—and among the stories I suggested, I included “The Price You Pay,” Liana’s, Richard’s and my debut. I think it’s a pretty good story, and I’ve got legitimate sentimental reasons for including it, I’d say.
So I was gratified when the book was solicited, and Richard and I were on the contributors’ list. Great! Our debut story would be coming back into print!
Then the book came out, and I heard from some readers that the story wasn’t in there. There had been two backup stories in the issue that story had appeared in, and it was the other one they’d collected, even though it had recently been reprinted in another Green Lantern collection.
I was curious as to why the story didn’t make it—was the other one picked by mistake? [It was the one in the back of the book, so if someone simply grabbed the last story from that issue, they’d have gotten that other one.] Was there a problem? I wasn’t upset, just curious. I was told that there was a problem with the film, one that wasn’t going to be fixable by their deadline, so they went with the other one. No problem, so it goes.
A week later, though, I got a comp copy of the book, and so did Richard.
That was nice, but since we weren’t in it, I contacted DC again to let them know that we weren’t actually in the book, and maybe they should correct their records. But in the meantime, thanks for the book, I’m glad to have it. No problem, I heard back, they’d fix it.
Today, I got a royalty check. So did Richard. Not a bad check, either—it’s less than I was paid for writing the story in the first place, but not by all that much. It’d cover a very nice dinner and a night out at the movies for the whole family.
I’ve let DC know about it, and I’m sure they’ll fix it. But in the meantime, thanks, Liana—it takes some kind of ingenious hero to deliver free books and money without even appearing!
[And sorry, Todd Klein and Dave Gibbons—I’m sure your proper royalties will be on the way to you soon!]

Balloon Tales: Lettering Roundtable

A discussion on Comic Lettering with Lee Nordling, Al Davison, Richard Starkings, Todd Klein, Kurt Busiek, Marv Wolfman, Michael T. Gilbert, Batton Lash, Bob Ingersoll, Bill Knapp, Malcolm Bourne, Steve Leialoha, Leonard Kirk, Howard Cruse, Steven Grant & Bryan Talbot.

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