The group was formed in early January of this year in response to the publisher's unethical business practices. After one writer's story was brought to light by an online journalist covering the comics business, several other creators came forward with shockingly similar stories of uncompensated work and threats of both physical violence and legal prosecution. UNSCREWED! grew out of a desire to assist the injured parties and to hold the publisher accountable.
While UNSCREWED! was forming, comics writer Mark Waid stepped forward to personally finance legal action against the publisher. Tom Stillwell, writer-publisher of Spinner Rack Comics' HONOR BRIGADE and comics fan Matt "Doc" Martin provided research and supporting evidence, with the result that two court judgments have recently been awarded to artists who filed suit.
With legal redress firmly underway, UNSCREWED! has turned its attention to the first of their relief efforts, the UNSCREWED! Auctions, with a starting line-up of 17 items available via eBay, including one-of-a-kind and rare items from the top names in comics. The first wave of auction items can be seen at http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZzapow21
UNSCREWED! media representative Danny Donovan had this to say about the auctions taking place: "It is just amazing to see our community standing strong in the face of something like this. For the longest time we've been thought of as a closed off, insular industry, but with UNSCREWED! we're proving that we're a community. When one person is wronged by the actions of an unscrupulous individual and [that individual] is left unchecked, they are able to do it again to someone else. By taking a stand we place the power back into the hands of those who create."
The first series of UNSCREWED! Auctions includes original art by acclaimed cartoonist Scott Shaw! of his characters from Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew; individual headshots of Captain Carrot, Fastback, Little Cheese, Pig Iron, Rubber Duck, Yankee Poodle, American Eagle, and Alley-Kat-Abra. At the New York Comic-Con last weekend, DC Comics announced a new three-issue miniseries, CAPTAIN CARROT: THE FINAL ARC, to be drawn by Shaw! from a script by Bongo Comics' Bill Morrison. Donovan explains, "before DC releases their brand new epic mini series, you can own a piece of history, drawn and signed by the artist, Scott Shaw! And if that’s not enough you can also own a piece of PRE-history," referring to a headshot of beloved animated icon Fred Flintstone, a character that has been a major part of Shaw's career over the last three decades. Starting bids for each portrait are set at $25.
Famed writer Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans; Crisis of the Infinite Earths; creator of Blade) has contributed autographed full comic scripts from his current series, NIGHTWING, issues #125-127, along with the published corresponding issues (with art by Dan Jurgens) also signed by Wolfman. Bidding on this one of a kind piece of comic book memorabilia begins at $20.
A page of original art from Tom Bedland’s popular and critically acclaimed, award winning comic, “TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD” has been donated by the author. This piece is from the original self published version of the currently being published by IMAGE COMICS. Complete with autograph by prolific artist/writer Tom Beland, the bidding on this stunning piece of art begins at $200.
Kurt Busiek has donated an extremely rare deluxe hardcover edition of his award-winning series MARVELS, which launched artist Alex Ross to super-stardom. It is an artist’s proof and not available anywhere else but UNSCREWED! Signed by both Busiek and Ross, the book features a second autograph by Busiek with a special message for UNSCREWED! Bidding starts at $80.
Busiek has also donated what Donovan describes as "a must have for any fan of super-heroes," a very rare boxed two-volume hardcover edition of the JLA/AVENGERS crossover. Volume One contains the complete mini-series with introductions by Stan Lee and the late Julie Schwartz, along with character and creator biographies, while Volume Two is a compendium featuring George Pérez's 21 pages pf pencils from the aborted 1983 crossover; the initial plot for the current mini-series and every character, place, and incident used in the mini-series carefully annotated by Pérez and Busiek. As with the MARVELS auction, this item comes signed by writer Kurt Busiek along with a very special message to the supporters of UNSCREWED! Bidding begins at $85.
Artist Jamal Igle, of FIRESTORM and NEW WARRIORS fame, has donated a signed piece of original art from MARVEL ADVENTURES: SPIDER-MAN #14. Fully penciled and inked, Bidding starts at: $50. "This piece is a must have for webheads, and a great way to kick off the countdown to Spider-man 3!" remarks Donovan.
As new items are added to the auction list, notices will be sent to the media and posted on the UNSCREWED! website.
In addition to the auctions, UNSCREWED! has begun a second relief effort, the Unscrewed! Anthology, with stories and art from some of the best and brightest artists and writers in the field. Legendary X-MEN artist PAUL SMITH contributes a special two page story which joins a host of stories collected in one volume, with proceeds going to help creators in need.
For the full story and mission statement of UNSCREWED! please visit their website at http://www.unscrewedcomic.com. The website will be bringing webcomics online in the coming weeks. Parties interested in contributing work to the site please visit the UNSCREWED! website for submission guidelines.
Donovan closes out with these remarks: "As always I want to thank our gracious contributors and supporters in this important movement. The outpouring of submissions, one-of-a-kind items, and overall support is very much appreciated. Fan, Creator, Retailer alike, we thank you for that."