Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation, Part VI

Here it is, in the flesh, so to speak, the Avengers #1 splash pictured at the recent San Diego Comic Book Convention (which the other Daniel Best was present at, but not me). I was pointed towards this image the following comments that accompany it via the John Byrne forum. The comments, in part, read, "For those wondering, yes, the Avengers page looks incredibly clean in person (possibly professionally cleaned, but I did not bother to ask as I'd never be buying something like that) and it does have the Marvel copyright stamp on the back of it. I think more of this truly historic, vintage artwork is going to keep coming on the market as more and more of it gets traded openly, rather than private deals between collectors who don't want anyone to know what they have. At least we get to see more artwork that way." Interesting.

The more I think and look at this auction the more I wonder about it. The page appears to be the real deal, enough collectors and experts have put forth an opinion about it, but it is curious that the bidding reached US$49,999.99 and the auction was then ended with the reserve not being met. I'll leave it to others to venture forth a reason why, but I have my suspicions (and yes, I have been trying to speak to the seller, despite him asking me to call he's not answered his phone).

We visited Melbourne on the weekend to do our usual buying trip at Camberwell only to walk away somewhat sad. Several people both congratulated me on my Masterworks posts and commented how amazed and disappointed they were at the attacks that I've been subjected to from the Masterworks forums. It reached a zenith when a close pal of mine told me how he had read enough abuse of me on the forum and decided to post a message defending me. He was soundly abused as well. I couldn't apologise enough over that. It seems that some people who post on that forum have taken a great delight in attacking me, personally, to the point of inviting people to commit damage to my own sites in the form of flooding them with the hopes of crashing them, or simply hacking them. What stuns me the most isn't the sheer volume, the magnitude or the savageness of the attacks, it's that some of the attacks are coming from people who, gasp shock and horror, actually work at Marvel. Nice to promote the company name guys. I now ask people not to post there defending me, it's a waste of time regardless as there's no known way of having any form of reasoned debate about the recreated artwork. They have a view, they have no desire to give me any real space to put forward my own views, so I say this, just leave it. If my posts have gotten people talking, and they have - Michael Kellehar's art rep has decided to post an FAQ regarding the reconstructed art, and there's a long discourse about the practice on the Masterworks forums both here and here (be warned, it's fairly one-sided, as you'd expect) but the last, and I feel best, word has to go to Harry Mendryk who wrote a great little essay as to why he's not buying Masterworks anymore. Go and read all of it and then make up your mind (and try not to chuckle too much when you read the parts where two people, with over 11,000 messages on the one forum between them, attack me as an attention seeker with a mere 31 posts). I only hope that no-one approached Daniel Best at the San Diego convention and threatened him with physical violence.

I'm sorry if anyone at Marvel is upset that I've opened a can of worms for them. Perhaps they might want to be more transparent with what they do, in the form of reprints. Hopefully from now on they will be. As for the Marvel employees who have been lambasting me over on the forums, well I hope they're not representative of your company, because if they are, then it's a very odd company that you've got going, not to mention a very angry one. And my offer still stands, if anyone wants to prepare a sensible essay for debate here then I'll post it. Try to limit it to logic and decent words though, and let's not get too personal.

4 comments:

Brian Pearce said...

Daniel, I don't know where you got the idea that anyone on the Masterworks forum has been "inviting people to commit damage to my own sites in the form of flooding them with the hopes of crashing them, or simply hacking them," but I've been a participant in the threads you were reading, and I've seen no evidence of that.

I had suggested that anyone who disagreed with what you wrote post a comment to your blog, rather than attacking (and even insulting) someone who wasn't present to respond. (I don't know if anyone ever did.)

I agree, the discourse degenerated into acrimony fairly quickly, which was disappointing to me as someone who participates in that community -- but I think both sides share some responsibility for that. And these assertions you're making that members of that community are now somehow out to get you, aside from being exaggerated, aren't going to help matters much.

I believe, as I said on the Masterworks board, that we all share a common appreciation for those works, and want to see the creators of those works treated fairly and equitably. Wouldn't it be best to just leave it at that?

As to the people who "actually work at Marvel," I think you're referring to people who have worked for the company on a freelance basis --I don't recall seeing any comments posted from people who regularly post that we know to be staff members.

Danny said...

Brian - whenh it comes to the Masterworks forums you are a voice of reason, and from what I've seen, you're in the minority. I was told about the comment regarding the flooding of my site by a friend who was attacked on the forum for defending me. As I've stated I've not been back to see the comments left there about me since my last comment was made - if you're saying that no such comment was made in public then I'll believe you. Having said that I have no desire to be engaged in a slanging match with people who clearly have not only their own agenda but also control the agendas that are posted there and seem unable to take on board any alternate point of view, nor do I have any desire in reading the vicious, and malicious comments left about me by the vocal majority, or those who purport to be the vocal majority. Each time someone has left a comment here it has been posted. The basic truth is very few people have left comments. I approached Chris Fama and posted my short interview with him - that was largely ignored, as were my follow-up comments insisting that people not email Kelleher and attack him, that he wasn't responsible for the Avengers #1 splash, along with my posting of the thread links by the site's moderator. I have posted alternate views here, and will continue to do so, and I have posted comments of reconciliation here, and will continue to do so, shame that the owner of that forum can't do the same. I believe that once the owner and the majority of a forum begin to launch personal attacks on a person then it is clear that they are 'out to get' that person. There's no need for it, nor does it add anything to a discussion aside from a general pettiness. What doesn't help are those initial attacks, and let's be frank here, once the personal stuff began I bailed. I did not personally attack anyone on that forum, nor did I do so here. I'm not a fan of the recreation work being uncredited in the books. The editors can do what they want, just be honest and totally transparent with it - and that doesn't mean a half-buried credit in the book somewhere. Be up-front and tell people what pages were drawn by whom.

As for the Marvel employees, even if they do freelance work then they're still employees and represent the company. If the company is happy for their employees, contractors or freelancers to represent them in such a way then there's something radically wrong there that needs to be addressed. I know that if I carried on in such a way and tried to pass it off as 'defending' my companies honour then I'd fully expect to be sanctioned or even sacked. It's poor form and certainly not the behaviour of professional adults.

I totally agree with your comments about creators being treated fairly and equitably. That's been my goal all along and I've not been shy about it. However some can't see it that way and believe that my pointing out the recreations are an attack on the artists themselves. They're not. Clearly not everyone at the Masterworks forum shares the same live and let live attitude you do. Once I saw the first post that personally attacked me being supported by the forum's owner, well I knew where the discussion, such as it would be, was going to go, hence I left. I find it reprehensible that people can be attacked for attempting to defend me. That forum isn't a nice place to be, despite you wanting it to be otherwise, which is why I've asked people not to post there defending me or my work - even though several have emailed me, or approached me physically and insisted that they would do just that. I have no desire to see a major flame war start, so those who obviously hate me with a passion (without knowing me) and insist on getting very personal (and very wrong with it to boot) can do so with their own incorrect point of view going unchallenged. Perhaps one day they'll wake up and realise how foolish they appear to others, but somehow I doubt it. And yep, if they want to post a comment here, or even send down an article I'll run it, as long as it's not a personal attack. But I'll say this, no more links to the Masterworks forum.

Brian Pearce said...

"As for the Marvel employees, even if they do freelance work then they're still employees and represent the company."

I couldn't disagree more strongly! I would never assume that someone who has a freelance business relationship is speaking as a representative of that company in any capacity, or that such comments are condoned (or under the company's control in any way).

Danny said...

Let me put it this way Brian - if I were running a company and saw freelancers that I have hired previously acting in such a manner, all the time under the guise of 'defending the company' I'd not be giving them anymore work. The actions and words were juvinile at best. It's a very fine line.

Having said that I don't believe that those people's views represent those of Marvel as a company, and that is the saving grace.