DuBay v King: Deposition of James Stenstrum, January 06, 2018



There's depositions and then there's depositions! The DuBay v King case is far more interesting for what has been said during the depositions than anything else. The last deposition I posted, that of Stephen King, was a delight for all who read it, albeit long - but I can't help with that. These are what they are, and they take as long as people want to keep talking. The deposition of Jim Warren was one that people seemed to miss, but, take it from me, it's well worth a read. And now we have James Stenstrum.

One thing that people have noted is that, at times, Benjamin DuBay seems a bit out of his element. That's perfectly understandable really, taking a deposition is a long, arduous and tiresome process, and the fact that Ben DuBay is acting for himself, makes it even harder. That he can keep on top of most things said is a miracle in itself, and, win or lose, he will come out of this a far better educated man than he walked in.

Knowledge is power Ben! I salute you!

Until the next deposition, sit back, put the kettle on and read as James Stenstrum slowly pulls people apart. You can almost see the sarcasm dropping off the page as Stenstrum pours acid onto some of his replies. It's brutal in parts, but, that's what can happen during these things.

For those wanting to know, Vincent Cox is acting on behalf of the defendant, Stephen King, and Ben DuBay is acting on behalf of himself.

More to come.


EXAMINATION BY MR. COX: You're here today in connection with a lawsuit filed by Benjamin Dubay against my clients. For how long have you known Benjamin Dubay?
A: Ben contacted me I think a couple, three years after Bill Dubay died and he wanted some help on some Bill Dubay stories. He really didn't know what to do with them and he just wanted some advice and so he emailed me. I think it was around 2014, something like that. I'm not sure.
Q: So the -- let's -- let's go back to your education and what was your formal education?
A: High school. 
Q: And when did you graduate from high school?             
A: 1968.               
Q: And what did you do after high school?           
A: No, I did not actually -- I'm sorry, I did not actually graduate. I went all the way through, but I was short a couple of credits and did not graduate. Oddly enough, it was art and writing, the only things I've ever made money on.
Q: And so at that point, what did you do next when you left high school?
A: Oh, just -- there was working at Porky's Drive In, working at a fireplace equipment shop. I got into the National Guard in 1969 and put in basic training and such there. Really not terribly anything interesting. I sold my first story to Warren in September 1971 and then I was just a freelance writer for them for about ten years.
Q: Were you ever on salary at Warren?
A: For a very brief time in 1981 for about a month when I was made editor briefly.
Q: And what was the -- were you -- when were you in the National Guard, were you on active duty?
A: Only for those four months that's considered active duty. The rest of the time is stateside. I spent most of my time in Minnesota.
Q: And what were your National Guard duties?
Were they full time when were you --
A: No, no.
Q: -- when you were stateside?
A: The National Guard is something that you go to two weeks a year, go to summer camp and then you have a weekend of meetings every month. But other than that it's really just sort of a reserve force and you play soldier for six years and it was that or Vietnam, I chose that.
Q: Okay. And so now what kind of jobs did you have while you were in the National Guard unrelated to Warren or writing?
A: Only one. Clerk typist.
Q: And so other than your National Guard work, beginning in 1971 you became a professional writer and artist?
A: Yes.
Q: And have you been a professional writer and artist continuously since that time?
A· Yes.
Q: Have you had any other jobs since that time, other than writer and artist?
A: When I got discouraged with Warren, I worked at a can factory for about a week and then I quit that and I realized working for Warren wasn't so bad after all.
Q: And about what year was that?
A: 1974.
Q: And so for -- did you work for Warren from about 1971 to --
A: 1981.
Q: 1981?
A: Yes.
Q: And did that end at the time that Warren went into bankruptcy?
A: No, that ended before that. That ended -- well, due to the Harlan Ellison situation.
Q: Okay. I'll come back to that just to -- Now, after you left Warren, what was your next employment in terms of writing or the industry?
A: Hanna-Barbera. I worked as a design artist.
Q: And for what years did you work for Hanna-Barbera?
A: It's -- it's a little strange because Hanna-Barbera was bought by Turner which was bought by Warner Bros. and so I just sort of moved from then to then. I worked for -- oh, the entire stretch was probably from '71 to 2000 and then I moved over to SD Entertainment, which is also an animation outfit, and then I moved to Warner Bros. again, and then I moved to Universal where I am now. Universal animation is on the Dreamworks lot. Universal Animation bought Dreamworks Animation and so they are all one big company now.
Q: All right. I think you might have misspoken in your last answer.
A: I'm sorry.
Q: When you said that it was -- your work at Hanna-Barbera started in 1971.
A: I'm sorry, '81. I did misspeak.
Q: Okay. So what was the nature of your work at SD Entertainment starting in 2000?
A: Design artist.
Q: And what was it that you designed?
A: Various television shows that -- I would do designs for My Little Pony, Care Bears, whatever shows came through there. Angelina, the ballerina. A number of -- a number of things. I was there for about three, four years.
Q: Was SD Entertainment in the business of producing animated entertainment for children?
A: Yes.
Q: All right. Then at some point thereafter you left for Warner Bros. again.
What year was that?
A: Probably around -- let's see, probably 2010.
Q: And what projects did you work on at Warner Bros.?
A At Warner Bros. it was Scooby movies. It was Scooby made-for-video movies.
Q: That's Scooby-Doo?
A: Scooby-Doo, yes.
Q: And when did you transition to Universal Animation from Warner Bros.?
A: I moved over to Universal in the middle of 2016.
Q: And what kind of work are you doing now at Universal?
A: I'm a design artist on Curious George.
Q: Is that a --
A: That is a --
Q: -- theatrical?
A: No, that is a television series for Hulu.
Q: Has that gone into distribution yet or --
 A No, that won't go into distribution until 2020.
Q: I see. I see. So it's a work in progress?
A: Yes.
Q: And one thing that I didn't get from you was the projects that you worked on at Hanna-Barbera?
A: Oh, Hanna-Barbera, boy, everything under the sun. You name it: Scooby-Doo, Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Pac-Man, The Little Rascals. Oh, my God, I can't even keep track. You could check my entire list on IMDb.
Q: Okay. And over the years one thing I've noticed in your IMDb profile, that was a little unusual, is that you had a significant exposure to both writing and art?
A: Yes.
Q: Has that -- has that always been true about your career?
A: Pretty much, yes.
Q: And is that – is that customary or is that a little unusual?
A: Unusual.
Q: And --
A: Most -- most people can't do both. I'm one of the lucky few.
Q: And so when you started work at -- when you sold your first work to Warren --
A Uh-huh.
Q: -- did you sell them a pros work, a text work or did you sell them the artwork?
A: It was a -- it was a finished script. A finished comic book script and that's where everything is broken down by panels and dialogue.
Q: And did you do the -- did you submit to them the artwork for that finished script or was it just words?
A Not for that -- well, actually I had. I had done some artwork which that was rejected, but it was kind of a complicated process because originally I -- this was in 1971. I had hoped to be a writer -- I'm sorry, an artist over at -- at Warren Publishing and I had -- I had sent them some drawing samples that were not very good, but I thought they were pretty good at the time.
And ultimately, Archie Goodwin was the editor at the time and he sent it back to me with some very nice notes and he said he liked the artwork, but he said that the story didn't make any sense, though, and he was right. He said these monitors appear in the jungle for no reason at all and he was right.
But being a cocksure kid, I went ahead and a few months later I rewrote that script and just sent the script in without the artwork. And there was another editor at that time, John Cochran, and he actually bought it and it's still not a very good story, but he did buy it.
Q: What was the title of that work?
A: It was called "Forgive Us Our Debts."
Q: And if you could just briefly summarize what it was about?
A: It's a revenge story of a man who was cheated out of a cocaine -- no, a heroine deal. The plane crashed in the jungle and he goes out after the fellow that ripped him off and -- and then there's monsters in it.
It's not a good story.
Q: All right. Over the years how many freelance scripts did you sell to Warren Publishing?
A: Oh, over the years 60, 70 sounds about right.
Q: And did there come a time when you met an individual at Warren by the name of William Dubay?
A: Oh, yes.
Q: When -- when was that?
A I had been selling stories freelance to Warren for like a couple of years, not too many. Three, four, something like that. And then John Cochran, the editor who originally took me on, he had moved on and Bill Dubay took over both the editing chores and the art directing chores from Billy Graham and John Cochran. And I had sent Bill a script called "Everybody and His Sister," and I didn't hear from Bill for a long time and I sent him a bunch of stamps and I said, "If you don't want the story, please send it back." Anyway, he sent back a very nice letter, but he says that, "This story is crap and I can't use it," but -- and so I thought that was pretty much the end of things over at Warren. This was in '72 and but...
Q: And you were still living in Minnesota at the time?
A: Yes. And the only reason that I continued to do anything for Warren at all is later on he had sent out a Xerox copy to a number -- apparently, he had a lot of freelance writers working for him and he wanted to sort of winnow down the number of guys that he had working for him and so he had kind of, I guess, as sort of a test, he had sent out this Xerox -- it was a cover -- it was a painting by -- about this -- this pilot who was old, he was decayed and he was -- he was a mess and everybody was supposed to create a story based on this cover.
And so at first I wasn't going to bother and then I thought, oh, what the hell? And I already had an idea for a story that I was thinking of using anyway and so I -- I knocked out a synopsis for – it was called "An Angel Shy of Hell," and that was the story that I wrote.
And to tell you the truth, it really didn't have that much to do with the cover. I knew that everybody would use that cover imagine for the shocking finale and I wanted to get it out of the way right away and I governed that image on the first page. And then I went on to do the story I really wanted to tell, which was about a mercenary in post-apocalyptic Kansas. Anyway, Dubay loved it and he thought that was great.
It was right about this time -- this was about the middle of July 1973. I had made up my mind to come out to New York and I had artist samples and I was going to check out DC and Marvel, which were really just about the only comic companies going at that time.
And I wanted to be a comic book artist and -- but I also knew that a fellow Minnesotan, Tony Tolan, who had been hired as Dubay's assistant had quit and I thought, oh, maybe there's an opening over there and I can -- at least I have a couple of sales over at Warren, I have sort of an in there so I'll try it over there.
And anyway, I met Dubay and there was -- there was one story that he really liked that I had done called "The Third Night of Morning," and he went on and on about that one, he liked that quite a bit. And he was very kind and he hired me as an assistant editor over there and I stayed there for a few months until -- oh, until I was fired.
Q: So you were actually -- this modifies some of your earlier testimony. You became an assistant editor on salary for Warren?
A You are right, I'm sorry. Yes, I was for a brief time for a few months an assistant. I was on salary at that time, you are right.
Q: And was that in about 1974?
A That was from July 1973 and I think Dubay canned me at -- right at the end of 1973.
Q: And why were you, as you say, canned?
A Well, it was very embarrassing and it's still a sore point with me today. Dubay had accused me of stealing his wallet. Dubay had a habit of leaving his wallet all over the place. He often put it into his desk drawer. I've seen him leave it at restaurants and -- anyway, he was absolutely certain that I had stolen his wallet and I couldn't believe it. My jaw dropped down to the floor. I could -- I was absolutely gobsmacked and I couldn't believe it then and he fired me. I was so shocked I couldn't even say anything. I said, "Listen, that's not something I do."
And a couple of days later he came back and apologized. I don't know if he ever believed that I did it or not, but there was also -- at that time there was a woman in the front office who was stealing money from -- fans and readers of Warren Publishing would buy things through -- in the back there there was a catalog of things that he sold: Posters, toys, back issues of magazines and things like that. And back then it wasn't unusual, since it was just a couple of dollars or something like that, for people to put money into -- into the envelope and then they would send them the magazine or whatever the order.
Well, this woman who was -- it was her job to open up mail and, you know, take the orders and hand that off to the guys in the back – apparently was stealing. And the way they caught her was they sent her some money themselves. They mailed something to themselves and they caught her and fired her.
I have no idea if she had anything to do with it, if it was the help or Bill just lost his damn wallet. I don't know. He did apologize a couple days later and say, "Why didn't you punch me in the face," and believe me I really wanted to, but I did not.
Q: So --
A: And then he let me continue to work after that, although he had already hired a new assistant. I believe that was Jeff Rovin after me.
And so there was no job waiting for me. He quickly replaced me and I was back to just doing freelance. And then -- I don't know. The whole thing just kind of was a mess. It just left a sour taste in my mouth.
I moved back to Minneapolis in a couple of months and said I'm going to get a regular job like everybody else. I went to that can factory that I was telling you about, I worked a week and I said, "Bill, can we do some more stories?"
Q: So then did you move back to New York right away?
A: No, no, no, no, I did not. I worked from Minneapolis.
Q: For what years did you live in Minneapolis while -- while freelancing for Warren?
A: It might be easier to put it the other way around. It's -- I worked mostly from Minneapolis, but there was a period of -- from July 1973 to February of 1974 I was in New York. From July 1976 to January of 1977 I was working with Bill Dubay and Budd Lewis in Ridgefield, Connecticut and we'd go back and forth to New York from there.
And lastly was, I think -- it was a very short time -- June 1981 to like early August 1981. Every -- every -- the rest of the time I was in Minneapolis.
Q: When you were doing your work for 1984 Magazine, where were you living?
A: In Minneapolis.
Q: And for the record 1984 Magazine was a magazine that began to publish in what year?
A: 1978.
Q: And for how many years did it publish?
A: I -- I'm not sure how long it went. I don't know if it went all the way to -- to the bankruptcy. I think it probably wound up about 1982. I'm not at all certain.
Q: All right.
A: Ben could probably tell you that.
Q: Yeah. In any event 1984 Magazine was not a magazine that was ever published in the year 1984?
A No, never made it.
Q: Yeah.
A: Never made it.
Q: And on your work for Warren what percentage of your work was writing and what percentage of your work was art?
A: Almost entirely writing. I had done a few pieces of artwork, but the art part of it I – it didn't interest me. I really didn't like drawing my own stuff. It bored me.
Q: All right.
MR. COX: You have given -- we have had them marked as Exhibit Nos. A through Z and I am going to -- now that they've been marked, I'm going to have them photocopied at a short break, and the witness has brought some documents with him and just so we can distinguish from your exhibits and the witness' exhibits, I'd like to have them marked as Exhibit Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and I'm going to -- I'm going to email them to you at a short break so you can see them, Ben. So would you mark them as Exhibit Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
And then exhibit -- pardon me. The exhibit, that I'm going to mark as number four, was also brought by the witness and is too large to photocopy and email. It's the book "Rip Hunter... Time Master," the Showcase Presents edition and it's Volume One, compilation copyright 2012 DC Comics.
Exhibit No. 2 is a packet of documents produced by the witness, the front page of which is a Gene Autry poster.
Exhibit No. 3 is a packet of documents, the front page of which is a mock-up of an Eerie cover.
And Exhibit No. 4 is the title page, copyright page and table of contents pages of a work entitled "Showcase Presents, Rip Hunter," dot, dot, dot, "Time Master," which is copyright 2012 and the original copyright of the underlying works is listed as 1961, 1962, 1963, DC Comics.
Now, Mr. Stenstrum, we're here today relating -- in a lawsuit that relates to a work entitled "The Rook."
When did you first hear of a work entitled "The Rook"?
A I was in Minneapolis doing freelance stories for Warren and it was early '76, maybe March or something like that.
Q: And who did you hear about "The Rook" from?
A: From Bill Dubay.
Q: And what did he tell you?
A: He was on the phone and he said – he called me and he said, "Listen, we have Budd Lewis here and we're putting together The Cartoon Factory in" -- I don't know if they had it set up yet but -- and he said he was -- he and Budd were working with Jim Warren and this toy guy -- and I guess that's Peretz? I don't know. I always heard him referred to as "The Toy Guy."
And he said -- this toy guy came to Jim Warren and he said, "Listen, you are doing it all backwards. You have a comic book and then you come out with merchandise" or something like that. And I think what his idea was was to do it simultaneously or even somehow put out toys and such ahead of the comic book and that -- somehow that would help the sales on the books and one would help the other, the cross-pollination.
And Jim Warren, he was thrilled about it. It sounded like it was a very -- it's going to be very profitable with toys and posters and maybe a movie -- didn't know. And so he said, "Why don't you come to join us out in Connecticut and have a look and see what we're doing?" And he says, "We have something together called 'The Rook'."
And it was an idea of Budd Lewis' that had nothing, as far as I know, to do with cowboys or time travel or anything. And I -- I don't know what it was about. Maybe a superhero. Maybe a detective. I don't know.
Budd Lewis had shown me a little photograph that he had of himself in Shreveport where he came from and it was the castle with a rook bird superimposed on it and -- but beyond that I don't think anybody had any clear ideas.
What was going on with the meetings with Bill and Jim Warren and The Toy Guy was The Toy Guy was absolutely certain that Westerns were going to come back -- make a big comeback. He was a big Western fan apparently and he was positive that Westerns were going to make a comeback, so the one thing he insisted on was that whatever character we produced it be a cowboy.
Well, Bill and Budd and I, we didn't want to do a cowboy. It sounded just boring as all get out. And we determined between the three of us to have a science fiction element to it and that – I guess the idea was to put him in a cowboy outfit but to make the stories a little more interesting than just being stuck in 1880s Dodge City or something.
And so, yeah, that's --
Q: And was this in one conversation or a series of conversations, just so we have sort of a record here?
A Oh, probably only a couple of conversations. I mean, we might have been talking about stories at the time. He might be saying where's -- more than anything he would call me and ask me, "Where's that damn story?" And that was essentially how our conversations went. And I had -- I think I had told him, "Listen, I'm planning on moving out to California," and I wanted to maybe get some storyboard work or something like that. I was just sick to death of Minnesota winters and he said, "Well, why don't you come on out to see what we're doing over at The Cartoon Factory?"
The Cartoon Factory was the thing that I was interested in because it sounded like it would be like an interesting studio and it was an idea for the three of us to get work.
The only problem was it was based in Ridgefield, Connecticut, it was way away from New York and it wasn't easy to pick up work. And we only had one phone so it became -- it was a studio. Who gets to answer the phone? Who gets the jobs?
And it was never a very clear business plan and it kind of dissolved within a couple, three months after I arrived there.
There was no business plan at all.
Q: All right. Well, you said a -- you said a number of things. Let me go back to the first conversation where Bill Dubay raised this issue of "The Rook" with you.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: Did he indicate to you what role you would play with respect to "The Rook"?
A: No, not at that time.
Q: And did you have any interesting as to what role you were going to play?
A: No. Again, "The Rook" was a minor part of it. I was more interested and he was more interested in getting me to be a partner in The Cartoon Factory.
 Q: And when did you became -- did you ever become a partner in The Cartoon Factory?
A Yes, it was -- again, briefly, there were no papers or anything like that, but it was agreed that it was a three-way split.
Q: And it was a three-way split among William Dubay, Budd Lewis and you?
A· That's correct.
Q· And did you move from Minneapolis?
A· I did.
Q· When was that?
A In like mid-July 1976.
Q· And what was the status of "The Rook" at the time that you made this move east from Minneapolis?
A It was very amorphous. There was no -- they hadn't put it together yet. When I got to Ridgefield and we started talking about "The Rook" and he started -- when I say he, I mean Bill Dubay.
He said -- essentially says, we got this toy guy and he explained the whole thing about wanting to turn it into -- but the toy guys had apparently done some sketches of what kind of a character they wanted and they were horrible. They were really horrible.
I remember one sketch that was kind of a part cowboy with a mesh shirt, you know, that muscle guys would wear. It was bizarre. And the drawings were obviously drawn by somebody who had no idea. It was toy guys. Toy guys have a whole different sense and everything they do is to create toys.
And so I'm sure I was not privy to any of the meetings between Bill Dubay and Jim Warren and The Toy Guy, so everything I know about it was through Bill Dubay.
Q: All right. And so what was the develop -- and did you move to Ridgefield, Connecticut?
A: I did.
Q: And were you living at Bill Dubay's house?
A: I was living in his guesthouse. He lived in Danbury, Connecticut. He had a lovely home up on a hill there and he let me stay in his guesthouse.
Q: And where was Budd Lewis?
A Budd Lewis was in Ridgefield. He and his wife were in an apartment complex and his wife was the manager of those buildings so they managed to stay there rent free.
Q: And at the time that you moved out to Connecticut in July of 1976 was Bill Dubay freelance at that time or was he --
A I think he must have been because Louise Jones was the editor at that time, so I believe he was working out of his home and out of his studio and -- yeah, I believe he was strictly freelance during that time.
Q: And was Budd Lewis freelance at that time?
A: Yes. Yeah. Budd was always freelance. I don't believe he ever had a regular position over at Warren.
Q: And what was the compensation arrangement as between Warren and Lewis and Dubay with respect to "The Rook" as of July 1976?
A: That I cannot tell you. I was not privy to any of those meetings.
Q: And can you give me an overview of the development process on "The Rook" from the time you moved out to Connecticut in July of 1976 up until the time that you first put pen to paper to create something?
A: Okay. All right. So Bill Dubay picked me up at the airport. We went directly to The Cartoon Factory in Ridgefield and there I met Budd and it was a basement of -- I don't know -- a little strip mall or something like that. It was just a little, three-room thing.
And we were all talking about the various projects that we were planning on doing. I had a couple of things myself and would either present to Warren or other places.
"The Rook," though, was the thing that seemed to be catching fire with the talks with Jim Warren and The Toy Guy and they really wanted to move forward on this so -- they told me that it was just a mess. When I say, "they," Bill mostly but Budd as well.
They would -- they said it was a mess and that they really didn't know what they wanted to do and they had -- they were absolutely stubborn about this cowboy concept.
And so the three of us over the next, maybe week or two, we just sat down together, the three of us in The Cartoon Factory and we just banged out some ideas. We all knew that it would -- we didn't want to do a Western and the only thing we could think of was to do it in, again, a science fiction sort of a venue which would at least -- and with "The Time Machine," we would at least be able to get to different eras and to be able to tell more interesting stories than horse thieves in Dodge City.
Q: Now, as part of those discussions were there -- were there any -- incidentally, had you ever done any time travel studies before?
A I don't think so.
Q: Were you familiar with other time travel stories as of that time?
A: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
Q: Can you give me some examples of some of the time travel stories that were sort of --
A: Are you talking --
Q: -- as of 1976?
A: Okay. Are you talking about Warren specifically or are you talking about just the media.
Q: No, the ones that -- the ones that you were aware of --
A: Okay.
Q: -- and that were sort of front of mind as you were working on this?
A: The three of us: Bill Dubay and Budd and I, we all loved the George Powell 1960 film "The Time Machine." We -- all of us, we absolutely adored that film.
But time machine stories were very common throughout literature, particularly in comics and pulps and movies. Comic books had been doing time travel stories probably since their inception since the forties. And some of the examples I brought you "The Flash" going back and forth, he would often visit the past or the future.
Superman was always cracking the time barrier. Some of my favorite stories were on "The Twilight Zone." Several issues -- I counted 19 different time travel stories. And "The Outer Limits," there were some famous time travel stories.
There are a couple by Harlan Ellison "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand."
Regular science fiction "The End of Eternity," "Westworld," there was no shortage of time travel or interdimensional stories as well. They were all over the place.
Q: All right. Well, now you brought with you today a packet of documents that we've marked as Exhibit No. 1. I'm handing you Exhibit No. 1. Would you identify each of the pages on Exhibit No. 1.
A: All right.
Q: And give me some idea about its --
A: Okay.
Q: -- relationship to "The Rook," if you could?
A: "The Time Machine" is the page one here. It's the poster from "The Time Machine." Again, it's a film that the three of us adored. And I believe Bill used Morlocks and H.G. Wells in Rook stories.
And, let's see, the second page is "The Time Tunnel." "The Time Tunnel" was a series, I think, around 1966 and every week the these two guys, that you see on the cover jumping on the Nazis, they would go into this time tunnel and they would -- well, actually no. They went in once and there was a glitch with the machine and it would keep sending them to this place and that place and oddly enough it was always key times in history. It wasn't -- it wasn't like 1908. It was when the -- the Titanic went down and the next page you'll see is they actually went and found themselves in "The Alamo" and they save a girl there.
And then the next page is numerous science -- cheap -- cheapy time movies would come out. "The Time Travelers" actually wasn't bad.
"Beyond the Time Barrier" was bad. And "Planet of the Apes," of course I think that came out in '68 and that was revealed at the end that they had actually gone through time to earth's future.
And of course "Doctor Who." He was --
Q: That's the next page. It's "Doctor Who"?
A: Yes.
Q: Okay.
A: Where it says, "Tom Baker" on it and he -- that was started as a BBC series, although it was syndicated here in 1963 and every week he would travel to some new spot in his TARDIS.
Q: Which was his time machine?
A: That's the time machine, the police box back there. So every week he would go either to the distant past or to the far, far future, but he would also travel through space as well as time.
And the next one, of course, is the famous Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," where Kirk and McCoy -- I'm sorry, Kirk -- McCoy. I'm getting mixed up here.
McCoy is -- is -- he's under a drug. He's gone out of his mind and he jumps into this time machine and the -- Spock and Kirk have to follow him and they all wind up in early 20s. I believe it was 20s -- no, it was around the depression.
Q: Bootleggers?
A: So early --
Q: Was that the bootlegger episode?
A: No, no, no, that was yet another one.
Q: Okay.
A: And to try to save McCoy. Anyway, it's a classic episode written by Harlan Ellison. The next one is "Weird Science Fantasy." There were a lot of time -- as I said, a lot of time stories -- time travel stories. This particular one is based on a famous Ray Bradbury story called -- oh, shoot -- "A Sound of Thunder" and is about an outfit that would -- for money they would send you back into time and you could hunt dinosaurs.
Q: The next page is "The Flash"?
A: The next page is "The Flash" as you can see on the cover they go both -- back into the distant past and to the future.
The next one is one of several cases in which Superman goes through time. Many, many, many stories.
The next one, of course, is "Rip Hunter...Time Master" and the same thing. They get into their time machine, a time sphere it's called, and they were around for a few years before their comic canceled.
And, of course, the next one is the fabulous Mr. Peabody and Sherman and they would go through the WABAC machine every -- every week on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" and -- trying to fix a time.
The next one is just pages of a list of "The Twilight Zone" episodes. There are -- a fellow was able to find 19 of them that had to do with time travel, but there were actually more that had to do with interdimensional travel.
I can think of "Little Girl Lost" that -- excuse me. She -- one morning the parents wake up and find their daughter missing, but they can – they can hear her and they look under the bed and she's nowhere to be found and they realize that she has slipped into a different dimension.
Q: Is that the Richard Matheson story that was the basis for the film "Poltergeist"?
A: Oh, I don't know if that was necessarily the basis of it, but I believe it was a Matheson story. You know, I never thought of that. It is possible that they used some of that. Well, it makes sense, yeah. Yeah.
Q: Okay. Now, of these works that are referenced here in Exhibit No. 1, which ones were you aware of as of the time were you having conversations with Budd Lewis and Bill Dubay in 1976?
A: All of them.
Q: And now, again, looking at page one of Exhibit No. 1, there is an indication that the protagonist is fighting the monsters, the Morlocks.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: Was it unusual to have a protagonist time traveler who would fight monsters when he would go back or forward in time?
A Oh, in those early cheapy time travel movies -- this was not a cheapy -- but the other two: "The Time Travelers" and "Beyond the Time Barrier," they always had some hideous mutant that they would be fighting, otherwise it wouldn't be much of a story.
Q: Would you characterize that as a cliche of time travel stories --
A: Sure, absolutely.
Q: -- as of that time?
A: Absolutely.
Q: And you noticed that the hero is brave in the first page of Exhibit No. 1. He's bravely confronting the monsters. Was it a cliche that the hero would be brave?
A I believe in most fiction --
MR. DUBAY: Objection; leading the witness. He can't make a speculation that he seemed brave. I completely disagree with that analysis. I strike -- I move to strike for leading the witness.
MR. COX: Well, let me -- let me rephrase the question.
BY MR. COX: Would you characterize it as unusual or would you say that it was a cliche to -- that a hero in a time travel story would be brave?
A: I'm -- I'm -- I'm a little befuddled by the question because the protagonist is almost always a hero in any fiction and -- and a hero is, therefore, brave.
Q: You'll notice from the poster here, that's Exhibit No. 1, that the hero seems to have some sort of relationship to a beautiful young woman.
How common was that in the context of time travel stories as of 1976?
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike. You are leading the witness. How do you know that they had a relationship?
MR. COX: Okay. You've made your record -- you've made your objection.
Go ahead and answer, please.
THE WITNESS: I'm sorry, I don't know what the question is anymore.
MR. COX: Okay.
BY MR. COX: To what degree was it common that the hero in a time travel story would have a romantic relationship with the woman?
A: Put it this way: In science fiction movies it was -- it was, I would say, like 99 percent of all science fiction stories, movies at that time, forbidden planet and things like that. They always had a gorgeous gal in there.
Q: And --
A: However, in the case of "The Time Machine" that -- that woman, Yvette Mimieux, that's part of the original story, the original H.G. Wells' story that we know was the character in the original book.
Q: Yeah. And to just make it clear, in the H.G. Wells novel, Weena was one of the people who were called Eloi, E-l-o-i; correct?
A: Eloi, yes.
Q: And there is an emotional relationship that's formed between the time traveler in the
H.G. Wells' story --
A: Yes.
Q: -- and Weena?
A Yes.
Q: And did the works that were -- that are referred to by Exhibit No. 1, were they the subject of any conversations between you and Budd Lewis and Bill Dubay during that creative process of several months in connection with "The Rook"?
A: We did not specifically mention any. We did not talk about H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." We did not talk about any movies – anything specific.
When we said -- when somebody brought up "The Time Machine" we knew what that was. We didn't have to say, oh, you mean like that thing that he traveled in, the time machine. No. It was a very common storytelling device and we all knew what it was.
Q: And in terms of the shape --
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike the last statement. I'm not sure how Mr. Stenstrum would know what everybody else knew because of what he knows, not what everybody else knows.
MR. COX: I understand that. Did you ever have conversations with Bill Dubay in which you talked about the -- his knowledge
 A: Not at the time we were creating "The Rook."
Q: Was there any -- was there any time where you had such conversations?
A Of course during -- when we were -- I was the editor of the -- assistant editor in '73. I remember that he was trying to help an artist, Reed Crandall, to make some money. The poor guy was really a mess. He was an alcoholic. He was a mess.
And so Bill kindly gave him some work and the thing that he gave him to do was an adaptation of "The Time Machine" and Reed Crandall had drawn several pages, but it was -- it was very hard for Jim to do it and eventually I don't think the story was ever published and it was -- it was pretty bad stuff, but it was really more of the kindness of Bill's heart that he was helping Reed Crandall.
Q: Well, looking at the first page of Exhibit No. 1 again, did any part of the images from the time of the -- "The Time Machine" motion picture from George Powell that was released in 1960 enter into your creative process with respect to "The Rook"?
A: Yes, at -- yes, I -- when we -- they were having a lot of trouble designing the costume and there was nothing that -- that was presented by The Toy Guy. I don't know who else was involved, but nothing was working.
And I was with Bill and I was dropping off a story at the -- at Warren to Louise Jones and Bill went in to talk to Jim Warren. I don't know if The Toy Guy was there.
And then he came back and he said, "I need you to do a costume for 'The Rook'. I need you to -- Warren wants to see what 'The Rook' looks like." And I had no -- no clue what to do. I knew it was a Western so I just in a matter literally of a few minutes I drew -- I just grabbed things that I remembered from the past.
There was the vest and the shirt from Rod Taylor and it was -- the hat I had remembered from a TV show. I'm not sure if it's the proper one, but it had a very interesting look. It was a -- it had these kind of disks that were put together to form kind of a band and it was --
Q: Is that called a Concho band? Just in case you -- have ever heard of that?
A: I have no idea what it's called.
Q: Okay.
A Anyway, I had taken that and I threw that
Q· And who designed the manors?
A I guess I did. That together and -- and the black I took from -- I always like Paladin from -- the big old hat from "Have Gun - Will Travel. So I made him pretty much all black except for the white shirt and I don't have that drawing anymore. I have no idea where it is.
Q· And did you base that on anything?
A· I did.
Q: Well, showing you Exhibit No. 3.
A: Uh-huh.
MR. COX: Do you have that, Ben? That's
Q: Looking at the first page of Exhibit No. 3, can you indicate whether any part of the first page reflects work done by you?
A It was all done by me, with the possible exception of Eerie, I believe it may have been colored by Bill as well, but I had done the drawing underneath and these were just characters that were based on discussions between Bill and Budd and I and they wanted to know what Rook castle would look like, what the manors would look like, what the time capsule would look like. And that's supposed to be Gat Hawkins up there. I never cared for him. They went a completely different way. I think they kept the mustache, but that's about it. And I know I did this, but I don't think I colored it and I may not have put the Eerie up there. I don't recall.
Q: But the -- the time machine, is that the time machine in the lower right-hand corner of the image?
A: Yes.
Q: And --
A: And that would be -- that would be my version of -- oh, what was his great, great, great, great grandfather? I forget.
It looks nothing like how we ended up but that was supposed to be his great, great grandfather, the one that he saved from The Alamo.
Q: And how did you come up with the design elements of the time machine that you have there in the lower right-hand corner?
A: It's pretty simple. It's -- everything we had was based on Rook either as a chess piece or a bird and, you know, it seemed pretty simple but that would be the way to go with that.
Q: And how did -- who came up with the idea that the time machine would be about eight feet tall?
 A: No, it's complete fake. Just out of my head.
Q: And in the background to the upper-left, what -- what is that?
A: That's supposed to be the Rook's equivalent of a Batcave. That's his -- his headquarters.
Q: So long as we have Exhibit No. 3 in front of us, would you describe the other pages in Exhibit No. 3? The second page appears to be a picture of Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux, I believe?
A: That's correct.
Q: What is that from?
A That is from "The Time Machine" and I --I -- this specifically shows the -- the vest and shirt that influenced me in the designing of "The Rook" costume.
Q: And what is the next page?
A: The next page was to -- if you guys hadn't heard of Paladin from "Have Gun -- Will Travel." He was a cool cowboy that always dressed in black and that was essentially why Rook I made all black except for the white shirt.
Q: And what is the next page of the exhibit?
A The next page is from a TV series called "Hotel de Paree," and I seem to remember -- I'm not one hundred percent certain about this, but I seem to remember that this is where I got the idea from the -- for the disk band -- contraband.
Q” Is it actually called contraband?
Q: Concho, C-o-n --
A Concho band okay. Contraband seemed odd. And I always loved that and that's, again, why I -- I threw that together on the -- on "The Rook."
Q: And then what is the next page?
A: The next page is a fantastic hero who was very popular during the '40s and then he was brought back in the '60s with a paperback series called "Doc Savage." And these covers, these gorgeous, gorgeous covers were all done by James Bama and he had kind of completely changed Doc Savage. Doc Savage originally looked more like Clark Gable. And what he did is he paid more attention to the original books, the original description of Doc Savage.
And you'll see here in -- in virtually every book and there was like over a hundred of them, Doc Savage's shirt is always torn. Every single one. It was a trademark virtually of Doc Savage and everybody loved it and -- but I -- I noticed that on the next page that Bill loved it also and he -- virtually every Rook cover his shirt is also torn.
Never his pants. Never missing a boot. Never a hole in his hat. It's always the shirt.
Q: And what is the next page of the exhibit?
A: That is "The Rook" covers that I just explained --
Q: And --
A: -- in which every -- you'll see on every page, every cover there -- there are more – his shirt is torn Doc Savage style. My point being that Bill was influenced by a number of other sources.
Q: And I'd like to mark as Exhibit No. 5, a still from the film "The Time Machine”. This is the still in which Rod Taylor is seated and you see in the left foreground two wine glasses.
Do you recognize Exhibit No. 5 as a still from "The Time Machine"?
A: Yes.
Q: And now I notice in your -- your drawing, that's the first page of Exhibit No. 3, that there is no torn shirt.
Did you later do drawings of "The Rook" that did have a torn shirt?
A: No, I never drew "The Rook" in a torn shift. That was Bill Dubay. He did that with the first cover of the Rook's appearance in Eerie. He did that himself.
Q: All right. Now, you also brought with you a packet of documents relating to certain other works.
But before I get there you made a distinction earlier in your comment about "Little Girl Lost" about there being a difference between time travel stories and parallel universe stories.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: Can you -- can you explain what that difference is?
A Well, time travel stories are basically linear. They -- the past that we know of on the planet earth that is time travel, going to another point in our own history, in human history. However, you can time travel -- if you were on a different world, you can time travel to --
MR. DUBAY: Objection.
THE WITNESS: -- to whatever that world looked like. So time travel is -- has to do with our universe and our set of laws and that specifically.
When you get into interdimensional travel, then you are dealing in other universes. You are traveling from our universe to some other complete universe. Sometimes similar. There are many theories about being the -- you know, multi universes were there are similar -- there's earths that are very similar in other dimensions and so on like that.
Or they could completely have -- more likely a completely different set of laws.
"Doctor Who," for instance, would travel through time but he would also travel through dimension.
BY MR. COX: Q: So some --
MR. DUBAY: Excuse me, for a moment if you don't mind, Vince.
MR. COX: Sure, please.
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike that entire answer. He's not qualified. There's no foundation. He's not an expert. He has not testified that he is an expert, he has not testified that he is a physicist nor did you ask him if he is those two things.
If you would like to qualify him and then reask the questions, I'm fine with that.
BY MR. COX: Now, when you were describing the difference between time travel stories and interdimensional stories, were you describing something that's a standard definition or were you just giving your own understanding of what the difference is?
A I can only say that all the science fiction comics and movies and so on like that I think is a pretty standard definition.
Q: All right. And looking now at Exhibit No. 2, would you -- I'll hand it to you here.
A: Okay.
Q: Would you describe the first page of Exhibit No. 2?
A Okay. This is -- my entire point of this group of documents is that science fiction and Westerns were -- the match-ups were not uncommon. This -- "The Phantom Empire" there were cowboys and then down below his ranch, I believe, there was science fiction, a whole other world down there and it was -- it was the first example that I'm aware of of a science fiction and Western crossover, but I understand there are earlier ones. I don't know what they are. And the next page is "Valley of Gwangi" all three of those pictures. And that takes place in the old west and they are fighting dinosaurs. There's a whole kingdom of dinosaurs and small horses and you can see that they are fighting dinosaurs there. The next page is merely an example of comics. "Rawhide Kid," to try to get any sort of ratings, would always -- not always but would often use science fiction elements -- in this case a totem pole -- monsters and things like that. I don't believe ever like spaceships or anything like that.
But I believe Rawhide Kid and Two-Gun Kid – in comics -- and don't often but you would find western characters on occasion fighting monsters and things that are supernatural.
And the next page is "Westworld," which of course is the famous Michael Crichton novel and that is the whole Western town that people go to. In this instance it's like Disneyland, but it's made up of like the Old West and you can go there and shoot robots if that is what you want to do. You get to pretend to be in the Old West.
Q: All right. Now, you brought with you a book that is too voluminous to attach as an exhibit. We've made the cover, the title and copyright page and the table of contents as Exhibit No. 4. And then would you explain what that book is?
A: "Rip Hunter...Time Master" was a terrific series that DC had published. It started, I think, around 1959 as a tryout in a comic book called "Showcase" and it was about -- Rip Hunter was this scientist and his team -- I don't remember if it was -- if he was related to -- I think that was probably his girlfriend here that you see on the cover. I don't remember who the boy is. It's been years since I've read this.
But they have developed a time sphere and they have adventures through time. And the series was around for 30-ish years or something like that. And then he's been brought back in various forms since then. I think he's in the CW version of the Arrowverse where they have all the DC heros. I think he's kind of the leader the band there.
Anyway, it was a great series and I have no doubt that Bill Dubay was aware of that because he was a comic book expert. He knew more about comics than I did and he would often tell me about artists and things like that.
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike.
MR. COX: Please go on, Ben. I couldn't hear you.
MR. DUBAY: I move to strike, Mr. Stenstrum, unless --
MR. COX: Okay. Well, why don't you let him finish the answer --
MR. DUBAY: Okay.
MR. COX: -- and then move to strike.
MR. DUBAY: Great.
MR. COX: Please -- please continue.
THE WITNESS: No, I --
MR. COX: Let me -- let me stop you there.
THE WITNESS: Sure.
BY MR. COX: Did Bill Dubay ever talk to you about his knowledge of science fiction?
A Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean "1984" was a science fiction magazine and we had discussions – in fact, early on when we were putting together "1984," he had wanted to enlist some high profile authors to do stories or at least use adaptations of their works. Kurt Vonnegut, Harlan Ellison, John Varley and a number of other names were -- but he quickly realized that it was going to be too expensive to even adapt these stories and he determined – Bill determined at that time that he would just use his regular guys.
BY MR. COX: And did Bill Dubay talk to you about other time travel works that he was familiar with?
A: Not particularly, no.
Q: Now, looking at Rip Hunter you'll see he's got a time sphere. How was Rip Hunter's time sphere different from the time travel machine used by "The Rook"?
A: I cannot truthfully answer that because it's been so long since I read Rip Hunter. I cannot tell you.
I presume it was a regular time machine. Just lots of controls and things like that inside. And I don't think a great deal of effort was put into either determining what was the inside of Rook's device or Rip Hunter's device.
Q: Well, looking at the outside --
A: Uh-huh.
Q: -- what was the difference between the outside of Rip Hunter's time sphere and the outside of the Rook's time travel device?
A: Well, the -- there was a stark difference. I mean, it is a sphere here on Rip Hunter and it's called a time sphere and the Rook used something that looked very much like a rook chess piece. A large, oversized chess piece.
Q: Now, the -- let's mark as Exhibit No. 6, a copy of Eerie No. 82, consisting of the front cover and the inside of the front cover and then pages five through 23 -- five through 24, excuse me, and the inside back cover and the back cover.
MR. COX: So if you happen to have a full-on copy of Eerie 82, Ben, you can follow along on that. We'll have it marked as Exhibit No. 6.
Q: And I have a copy -- in case the reproduction is not good, I have a copy of Eerie 82.
I just wanted to ask you some questions about it.
On the cover of Eerie 82, are there any parts of that cover that reflect your creativity?
A: The Rook's costume, although it was drawn by a better artist than I, Manners over on the upper right. The -- I forget what the fellow's name, Bishop Dane, I think, over on the left looks nothing like what I had imagined. A much better job actually.
And so that is really the essential -- essentially it. The costume and the manners of the robot.
Q: And then in terms of the story for "The Rook" that you see at pages five to 24 of Eerie 82, did you have any kind of collaborative participation in that particular story?
A: The three of us talked about the first couple of stories and we were all sort of hashing ideas out. And I think Budd brought a lot of the -- the Western feel to it. He created the names like Gat Hawkins. I think he came up with the name Restin Dane and -- he had a better feel, coming from Louisiana, than we did for -- Gat was from, like, Gatling gun.
And Bill, I think he came up with the name Manners, I guess that's nuts and bolts there, that was probably more his doing. For myself I was trying to lead them into a more logical sort of storytelling. I found it – I found the whole series kind of absurd and it just -- I just didn't think that it was based in anything close to science and anything close to reasonable logic.
I had a lot of problems and so I did not contribute a lot to the actual story. The first one is really pretty much all Bill but a lot of Budd -- Budd Lewis influence as far as The Alamo goes. And I believe the next story is written by -- no, it's not here -- by Budd Lewis where I think the guy's name is Gat Hawkins. He says he is going to go over the wall in The Alamo.
Q: Now, on the -- on the page five of Eerie 82, you'll see in the upper left-hand corner the robot Manners along with two other robots. Do you remember their names?
A: I think they are called "Nuts" and "Bolts," but really it's been ages since I read it.
Q: Now, as of the time that this was – this was published in January of 1977?
A That sounds about right.
Q: Were there any other robots that this was based upon or influenced by so far as you know?
A: No. The Manners that I -- I just completely faked it. I just drew whatever I could remember from old movies. It's just essentially about a humanoid tin can. I had -- I don't think I had anything to do with designing Nuts and Bolts.
Again, these were drawings I knocked out, literally, in a few minutes to keep Warren happy.
Q: Okay. Were there any aspects of The Rook's character that you felt were not customary within the genre in which you were working?
A: No, he seemed like a comic book guy. A comic book hero. There was nothing special about him other than he liked to dress up as a cowboy.
MR. DUBAY: I move to strike. There's no foundation. You haven't asked the witness if he was an expert or provided any credentials of him being an expert or how does he know that there's nothing distinctive about "The Rook" or Restin Dane.
MR. COX: Thank you.
BY MR. COX: As of 1976 what was your background in science fiction?
A: My background, I was just an avid reader and an avid fan of science fiction movies and science fiction comics and so on like that. But 1976 I think I had written one science fiction story.
I had mainly been a fan of science fiction and in comics and in books and – and I think in 1973 I wrote a science fiction story for Warren and it was published called "Unprovoked Attack on a Hilton Hotel." That's essentially my experience. It's mainly as a fan, as a reader.
BY MR. COX: Well, was there -- do you have any understanding about elements of a genre that are generic and elements that are unusual? Do you have -- do you have that distinction in mind? Are you familiar with that?
A: Well, yeah, science fiction is different than regular fiction in that it has unusual -- usually science-based elements that are not used in regular fiction, such as time travel, such as space travel, such as devices that are created that are beyond our -- our science today.
Q: But now within -- were you familiar as of 1976 with the genre of time travel science fiction?
A: Of course.
Q: And were there any elements of "The Rook," other than the Western costume that you did not recognize as being generic?
A : I have to tell you that I've read very few of "The Rook" stories. I really didn't like the series and -- I read the first couple, but I had pretty much jumped ship on "The Rook" before they were even published so I cannot expertly tell you what might have -- to me at least the first couple of stories struck me as usual comic book fair.
Q: And you have Eerie 82 in front of you, so let me restrict my question to Eerie 82.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: Were there any elements of "The Rook" in Eerie 82 that -- other than the Western costume for the time travel hero that you regarded as something other than generic within the time travel genre?
And, please, take your time and go through it if you'd like to refresh your memory.
A: I'm a little vague on what your question is though, I'm sorry.
Q: I'm trying to find out what elements -- you've identified that there was one element of "The Rook" that was unusual which was a time travel hero who was dressed as a Western cowboy.
A Yeah.
Q: And I'm trying to find out if there were any other elements of "The Rook"?
A: Are you looking for things that are unique?
Q: Yes.
A: Oh.
Q: Things that are -- things that are out of the ordinary.
A: I've seen robots in any number of comic book stories. I mean, it's -- it's always a – we take a little there, we take a little there, we throw it all together. I cannot say that there's anything particularly unique about "The Rook" from other science fiction.
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike. Foundation. The witness has testified that he has not read but a few stories of "The Rook." He's also testified that he cannot remember "The Rook." He has not testified that he as an expert and he has not testified that he has read all comic books pertaining to time travel.
MR. COX: Did you ever read any of the Stephen King books entitled "The Dark Tower"?
A: Yes, I read all of them with the exception of -- I think he did something -- at the very end there is a shorter book, but I've read -- I think it's eight volumes. I don't recall. Virtually every one of them, but he added a little story at the end.
I don't recall. I haven't had a chance to read that one yet.
Q: And when was it that you read "The Dark Tower" books?
A: Excuse me, let me put this microphone on. I believe that's how it goes. I would say over the last eight years, eight to ten years, in audio version. A friend of mine had the series on audio book and he lent me the first -- I don't know -- three books and I listened to those. I listened to them at work. And the rest of the books I picked up myself. I liked the series a lot and as they came out I would buy audio versions of them.
Q: And did you recognize any similarities between "The Dark Tower" books and "The Rook"?
A: No. In all the time that I was reading these books, "The Dark Tower" books, it never even occurred to me that it had any similarity at all to "The Rook" until Ben Dubay sent me an email telling me that he was starting a lawsuit, which surprised me.
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike. I'm not sure how Mr. Stenstrum is able to compare the works when he did not read "The Rook" to begin with.
BY MR. COX: Q: Looking at Exhibit No. 8, the first page in the artwork, do you recognize any similarity between the image on the right of the individual holding a rose and the individual on the left?
A: The Rook on the left is -- it's just a head shot and so all -- the only similarities would be they are both wearing a hat, but they are different styles of hat.
Q: And is the -- is the face similar?
A: Not that I can see, no. The face on the left is thinner and more weathered and more weary looking.
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike.
 BY MR. COX: Q: Now, the -- you are going to have to speak up with your motions, Ben. I heard you say, "Move to strike." I hope the court reporter did. I just want you to be getting, you know, your objections on the record.
BY MR. COX: Q: Then on the next page, the plaintiff on the left-hand column characterizes Restin Dane as being tall.
Do you know if Restin Dane was tall or not?
A: Do I know whether he was tall? He seemed average-sized to me.
Q: Is there anything --
MR. DUBAY: Foundation.
BY MR. COX: Q: In 1976 was there anything unusual, in your experience, with having a hero who was tall with medium length and unkempt dark hair and sideburns?
A: I do not believe that that was unique to The Rook, no.
Q: Well, was it unusual?
A: There were all sorts of different types. I mean, there were bald heros. There were, you know, half cyborg, half human characters. There were a lot of variations on heros.
Q: All right. Then the next factor here is cowboy at number two.
How was it that the -- The Rook was shown to dress as a -- as a cowboy?
A: That was a requirement that was given us in the creation of The Rook from Jim Warren and the Toy Guy.
 Q: And so what clothing was needed in order to make him look like a cowboy?
A: A hat and in the case that I chose, I chose a vest, a shirt, pants, a holster with a gun.
Q: Was a holster with a gun a generic element of a cowboy as of 1976?
A: Oh, absolutely.
Q: And there's a reference here to Restin Dane being a gunslinger. Was Restin Dane a gunslinger in Eerie 82?
A: No, I think that's a misnomer. I do not believe that a gunslinger fits him because there are no -- there were no gunslingers in 1970s America. Gunslingers were in the 1800s, early 1900s.
There were gangsters. There were police. There were no gunslingers.
Q: Was the -- was Restin Dane a scientist?
A: He was a scientist who dressed up like a cowboy and that again was -- was kind of forced on us.
Q: And was he also somebody who was portrayed as wealthy?
A: I believe so, yes. He would have to be in order to -- yes, yes, I believe in the first story that there is an origin of him hiring various scientists and that to help him, but they – they never were told the exact same -- like you were building a bomb or something like a -- but he – I believe he was a -- a scientist, a very good scientist and he surrounded himself by scientists.
Q: And were there any other comic book heros in the 1970s that you were aware of who were scientists?
A: Most of them were.
Q: Were you familiar with a comic book hero named Tony Stark in the 1970s?
A: Tony Stark is Ironman.
Q: And was Tony Stark a wealthy scientist?
A: He was.
Q: Now, on the next page of Exhibit No. 8, the plaintiff states that Restin Dane possesses no superpowers but is a crack shot.
Was that an unusual feature of a science fiction hero as of 1976, having no super powers but being a crack shot?
A I can't think of -- again, I can't even determine why he would be a crack shot. He's in 1970s America. He obviously learned -- I don't know that it was ever put into an origin of why or how he became a crack shot.
Ben could probably tell you more on that. I -- I don't know.
Q: Are there -- can you think of any heros who -- in science fiction who are bad shots?
A: Bad shots?
Q: Who are not good shots. The opposite of a crack shot would be somebody who has poor marksmanship?
A: Nothing comes to mind, but it's -- it's a funny idea and I think it probably has happened, yes.
Q: But being a -- having poor marksmanship would be an unusual element of a hero; correct?
A: Absolutely.
Q: Was there any -- the next one is paragraph six in which plaintiff alleges that Restin Dane's primary weapon is a Colt .45 single-action revolver.
Looking to Eerie 82, was that true, that The Rook's primary weapon was a Colt .45?
A: I could not tell you. I -- I just threw a gun into a holster and Budd and Bill chose whatever were the weapons.
My interest flagged after they brought a Bushmaster machine gun to The Alamo.
Q: Well, that was my next question. Isn't it true that in "The Rook" that The Rook uses modern 20th century weaponry in context like the 19th century?
A: Yes. In the stories that I've read that was true, yes.
Q: And the next -- the next element, number seven states that he is -- that Restin Dane is skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
Was that something that was part of "The Rook" at the time that you were working on it?
A It's kind of an assumption for heros. You would be very hard pressed to find a comic book hero who was not good at hand-to-hand combat.
Q: And --
MR. DUBAY: Move to strike.
BY MR. COX: Q: Well, is -- can you think of any comic book heros as of the 1970s who were not skilled in hand-to-hand combat?
A Oh, sure. Sure. I mean, there were odd little characters usually, you know, minor characters that might be -- have other skills and -- or have no skills really at all, I mean. But a lot of these things would be people who are fairly ordinary.
In other words, there are comic books about everything and there are comic book heros that rely on powers and not hand to hand.
Metamorpho, for instance, he was a character that had -- he could change into any number of different elements and things like that. He never required hand-to-hand combat. He would just engulf you in swamp moss.
Q: But if you have a macho hero is he going to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat or unskilled in hand-to-hand combat?
A: In comic books, by and large, that was the case, yes, he was usually skilled in hand to hand.
Q: And the next paragraph states that, "A black bird companion fights by his side in the origin story arc," referring to Restin Dane.
Does that occur in Eerie 82?
A: Yeah, I did take the time to read – reread the first couple of stories and, yeah, there is -- well, it would be Rook because -- believe me if there was a rook cheese and a rook wine, we would be putting that in there as well.
So we -- we put a rook bird in there and I think that was largely Bill Dubay's work. I think he used -- there was a piece of this time machine that was taken by The Rook, but there was a point to it.
And so -- yeah, he was -- I don't know that he was necessarily a companion. I cannot say. I'm no expert on that.
Q: All right. But do you recall in Dark Tower that there was a hawk that was used by Roland Deschain to fight his -- his teacher, Cort?
A Well, I notice here that Ben specifically points out the magazine of "Fantasy & Science Fiction." That is not one I've -- I've read "The Gunslinger." I do not know if "The Gunslinger" was revised a great deal from the first appearance of -- I presume this is the first -- 1981. No, "Slow Mutants," I don't remember when that came in.
The only thing that I remember about a – I believe it was a raven, not a rook -- in the first Gunslinger story is a character called "Zoltan" and he -- the hero in Dark Tower, Roland, his mule dies and this raven eats the eyes of his dead mule.
And other than that I don't think there's a great deal of black bird going on in "The Dark Tower."
Q: Now, that take care of my question regarding number nine. Number ten, it states that in the parallel column plaintiff alleges that both Restin Dane and Roland Deschain are romantic.
Would you -- would you characterize Restin Dane was being romantic?
A: Again, virtually every comic book hero was to some extent or another. It was a -- it was a necessary tenet of just comic book storytelling.
Q: And would you say that Roland Deschain in "The Dark Tower" was romantic?
A Yes. Again, being a hero he would be romantic, but I believe he had a relationship with Susanna and -- but again, it's throughout fiction that's a very common tenet.
Q: And then number eleven points out that both of them at different times fight monsters.
Was that an unusual element in the 1970s for science fiction heros?
A: It was extremely common.
Q: And then number 12, it's pointed out that he was an adventurer. Was that an unusual element for science fiction heros in the 1970s?
A: Again, very common.
Q: And then number 13 says that, "His adventures through time, other worlds and alternate realities span American history and fantasy lore."
Was that a common element of time travel stories in the 1970s?
A: Yes, very common.
Q: And plaintiff states that in the -- "The Rook" that, quote, the tower is the linchpin to these worlds.
Was -- in the stories of "The Rook" that you have read is the tower the linchpin to other worlds and alternate realities?
A: Only in that that's where all the equipment was. It's quite different than "The Dark Tower" in the -- in the books which was more of a supernatural nexus. I don't see any -- I don't see any similarities there.
Q: Then number 14 refers to his nemesis as the man in black.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: Was it unusual for a science fiction hero to have a nemesis as of the 1970s?
A No, I think -- I think it was necessary just for basic storytelling.
Q: And was it unusual that the nemesis would be male?
A: Usually male because they're usually more and forceful
Q: And was it unusual that the nemesis would have a black costume?
A: Black costumes have been kicking around for a long time. The second Sergio Leone movie, the man -- "For a Few Dollars More" he was being pursued by a man wearing black, Lee Van Cleef.
Q: And in the back-and-white format of Eerie comics, how many colors did artists have available to them to depict characters?
A: I'm sorry, how many colors?
Q: Yes.
A: I'm sorry, the book is black and white. There are color covers.
Q: I see. I see.
A: Okay. I mean, we could -- there have been inserts of color -- color stories, but that's a very costly four-color process that is done separately. Warren rarely used color other than covers. It's just too expensive.
Q: The next paragraph, number 15, refers to the fact that both Restin Dane and Roland Deschain are the main protagonists of their works. We'll pass over that.
A: Okay. It seems pretty obvious.
Q: Okay. Number 16 says, as to both characters, "He possesses a strong sense of bravery."
Was it unusual that a science fiction hero would possess a strong sense of bravery as of the 1970s?
A: No, he would have to be in order to be the hero.
Q: And I'll pass over number 17, which is pointed out that he is heroic. The next -- the next one is number 18 that says, "He descends with from a quasi-immortal." As of the time that you were working on "The Rook," was there an origin story that explained the descent of The Rook?
A: No, I have -- I have not read this book. I have no idea what it's about.
Q: And when you say, "this book," what do you mean?
A The Eerie Magazine, January 1979.
Q: Okay. And you don't know who the character Quarb is?
A: As I remember, Quarb and Warball were names of characters that were created by fans. There was a contest and they -- "The Rook" had a contest, you know, name -- give us the names of some interesting characters and we'll put it into the book. And the winner -- I don't know if it was two winners or one winner. Quarb, I believe was one and Warball was another.
Q: All right. Now, paragraph 19 asserts that both Restin Dane and Roland Deschain are born leaders. Was that an unusual element of a science fiction hero in the 1970s?
A             Most comic book heros are born leaders.
Q· The next one, number 20, states, "He is determined." Was that an unusual element of comic book heros in the 1970s?
A· You would have to be determined in order to be a hero.
Q· On number 21 it state, "He walks straight into danger without giving forward thought." Was that an unusual element of science fiction heros in the 1970s?
A· That is what a hero does and that is the definition of bravery.
Q· On number 22 it states, "He can endure injuries that would otherwise kill an ordinary man." In the 1970s was that an unusual element of a comic book hero?
A: No. Comic book heros would take a beating every -- every issue and come back swinging.
Q: The next element states, "He puts himself in harm's way in order to save his family and team members." Was that an unusual element of comic book heros in the 1970s?
A: Again, that's hero, brave, et cetera.
Q: Number 24 states that both Roland Deschain and Restin Dane are people who contemplate to himself. "Often talking to himself out loud." Was that something that you observed during the time that you were working on "The Rook" that that was an element of this character?
A: That is -- I'm sorry, that is a very common storytelling device, particularly when a character is alone and you need to get information across to the reader, either through thought balloons, you need to get the information about the story to the reader and there's nobody to talk to and writers in regular fiction -- Stephen King does similar things himself. Most writers do that.
Q: And then number 25 states, "He is not a patient man, particularly when he is stressed." Was that an unusual element of comic book heros in the 1970s?
A: Some characters were not patient. Tony Stark was certainly not patient, but I can't say that that covers all comic book heros, no.
Q: So some were and some weren't?
A: Some were and some weren't. However the character -- whatever was necessary for the character.
MR. DUBAY: I would like to move to strike every line of questioning, lack of foundation, specifically the witness testified that he has no advanced education. He did not obtain -- instead of art and writing, he has no college degree. He is not an expert in comics. He also testified to not having read "The Rook."
Further, he testified to only listening to the audio books of "The Dark Tower" series.
MR. COX: Let me just take a -- take a second and look at my notes. Yeah, there are one or two other things I need to go into.
BY MR. COX: During the time that you were working with Bill Dubay in the 1970s you received an assignment to work on "1984 Magazine" in connection with a project that started with "A Boy and His Dog." Are you familiar with that?
A: Yes.
Q: Can you --
MR. DUBAY: Leading. You can restate the question.
MR. COX: No, that's fine. It's a preliminary matter. That's all right.
BY MR. COX: Can you explain what Bill Dubay said to you about what you should do about the "A Boy and His Dog" project?
A: All right. I was living in Minneapolis at the time and on occasion every, oh, month or so I would get a big pile of original art from Bill and these -- he wanted me to rewrite these stories. Usually he did not send the script along and which kind of forced me to just sort of cobble together whatever sort of a story I could figure out from the artwork and it was not something I enjoyed doing. I -- in fact, I hated it, but it paid the same as writing a regular story.
And all of those stories I wrote under a pen name Alabaster Redzone because these were not my stories, I would not have written them so I – some of them were not bad, but I just could not take credit for something I did not fully create.
And one time -- let's see, when would this be? 1979, something like that, I received a big package. It must have been about five, six stories by various artists. Again, this is original art and with -- you know, I talked to Bill many times over the phone and the understanding was -- is that I would rewrite these stories and I would send them back to him but with a new dialogue. A new dialogue and captions.
One of the stories that I noticed – there was a story by -- that was illustrated by Alex Nino and -- and it did have a script attached -- I was kind of surprised -- and I didn't pay attention to it at first, but then I looked at it a little bit later and it was Gerry Boudreaux' original adaptation of Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" and that surprised me because I had heard from Bill that that story was junked, because Harlan Ellison had screamed and hollered and he was not going to allow him to have the rights.
And so I surprised to see that there, but then as the looked at the script it was "A Boy and His Dog," the original Gerry Boudreaux script, but wherever it said "Boy," it had been replaced with "Girl," and wherever it said "Dog," it was replaced with "Monster."
Everything else about it was absolutely the same and it was -- it was an exact adaptation of Harlan Ellison's "A Boy and His Dog" and -- I'm sorry, did you have more questions on it?
Q: No. Basically, I wanted to ask you: What did Bill Dubay ask you to do with that material that he sent you regarding "A Boy and His Dog"?
A He told me to -- to rewrite the story, to take out anything that would be considered plagiarism and, you know, the entire story was plagiarism when I got it.
He wanted me to rewrite it and I didn't like the idea and I protested and I really, really didn't want to get involved in it. He says, you know, "You can do it. I know you can. I got to – I know you can pull it off." And I said, "Well, why aren't you rewriting yourself?" He said, "I don't have time. I don't have time."
So I -- he put pressure on in, you know, saying -- essentially saying, you know, do you like working at Warren. I knew what he meant by that.
And anyway, ultimately, I said, okay, I'll do it. If anybody I think can -- can change this enough to make it unidentifiable, I think I can do it. And so I -- I took the artwork for it, I went over to the library, I made photocopies of the thing and it was -- I don't remember -- about 12 pages, I think it was.
And I mixed and matched -- fortunately, all the panels were exactly the same size. They were very long and tall and there were four panels to a page and I would mix and match and really turned into a really big puzzle. And then I just worked as hard as I could to take everything out of it that looked anything like "A Boy and His Dog." I even started it out on the moon and there was some artwork changes on the first page and I did everything.
There was not a single line from "A Boy and His Dog" left. It was -- I just pulled out anything that looked like plagiarism and by the time I finished it up, I thought I did a pretty good job, but I would -- I did have trouble in that Alex Nino's artwork was so strong -- I mean, it still -- I said, oh, jeez, I don't know, it still looks like "A Boy and His Dog," because it was still a human and a beast, in this case a creature, walking along together in this post-apocalyptic world and they were talking to each other.
A big thing in "A Boy and His Dog" is that his dog was telepathic and -- I didn't have him being telepathic, but I did have him speaking to the girl. Instead of a dog it was a mutated· -- actually, it was one of her -- one of her ex-husband's that had been mutated into this creature and he was able to talk to her, but he -- he was able to talk to her and I -- I could have, I suppose, made him completely mute, but then she wouldn't have anybody to talk to for page after page after page. And the panels, they were obviously looking at each other and talking to each other and I -- you know, ultimately it didn't work.
I did not do a good enough job and it was discovered a couple of years later by a writer from a comics journal. I thought we were safe, but we weren't.
Q: And did somebody sue?
A Harlan Ellison found out about it and he sued.
Q: Referring to the document that's been previously marked as Exhibit I, which is the cover and table of contents and selected pages from the -- I believe it's the October 1978 issue of "1984 Magazine."
Would you identify from the table of contents of Exhibit I what story was -- you've been testifying about as to having relied upon "A Boy and His Dog"?
A: Okay. The title page here it would be under Magilla. The full title of it was "Mondo Magilla."
Q: And turning to the next page of the exhibit, what is that next page?
A: That's the first page of "Mondo Magilla," the story that I tried very hard to un-plagiarize.
Q: And what is the next page of that exhibit?
A: Oh, that's Rex Havoc.
Q: And what is Rex Havoc?
A: Rex Havoc is a character I created in 1978 and was -- he was briefly -- he had four – four issues in -- he appeared in four issues in 1984 and I think that was it.
Q: And did you have -- when Warren Magazine or Warren Communications declared bankruptcy, where were you living?
A: When he declared bankruptcy I was in California.
Q: Did you have any connection with the bankruptcy proceedings at all?
A No, I didn't hear about the bankruptcy until much later -- months later.
Q: And who told you about it?
A: I think I heard it through the -- the comic book grapevine. You know, it might have been a fan that told me or I might have read it in some sort of comic magazine. I do not remember.
Q· Did you -- it sounds as though you did not a lot of time on the premises at Warren Communications?
A· No.
Q· Would that be correct?
A· No.
Q· Were you aware of the name of Jim Warren's secretary?

A: His personal secretary?
Q: Yes.
A: I think her name was Liz something.
Q: Okay. And do you have any understanding as to why it was that Warren Communications went bankrupt?
A: As I understand it, it is not the story that Jim Warren tells everybody about him being sick.
I don't know for a fact, but I can only tell you what Bill Dubay told me and that is that Jim Warren, frankly, just got bored and he stopped coming in and -- he enjoyed having parties on his -- I think it was in Long Island and I remember the story about him spending $10,000 in fireworks. Again, all of this from Bill Dubay himself. And he would miss meetings with distributors.
I think he was more interested in maybe moving into movies and things like that. But as far as I can determine, he was just bored and -- I mean, when I was hired as editor for the -- and Bill was moved up to assistant publisher, I never saw him not once. He never came into the office.
Q: And your information about Jim Warren comes from what you were told about Jim Warren from Bill Dubay; is that correct?
A Yes, that is correct.
Q: And did Bill Dubay have a friendly relationship with Jim Warren during the time that you knew Bill Dubay?
A: It was a very complicated relationship. I think that Bill envied him -- envied Jim Warren. I know that he hated him at times. I think that he also tried very hard to emulate. He thought that Jim Warren was a good businessman, a successful businessman and I think that was kind of what Bill wanted to be as well.
Q: Did Bill Dubay ever talk with you about any transactions that he had with Jim Warren pertaining to ownership in "The Rook"?
A: No.
Q: Did Budd Lewis ever tell you about any transactions that he had with Jim Warren relating to ownership of "The Rook"?
A: Again not specifically. My impression was that there was a deal with Jim Warren that they would get a piece of it. I do not know the details. I cannot -- I cannot say that.
Q: And what did your impression come from?
A From Bill Dubay.
Q: And are you aware of an individual by the name of Nicholas Cuti, C-u-t-i?
A: Oh, Cuti.
Q: Cuti.
A: Nick Cuti, sure.
Q: Did you ever have any contact with Nick Cuti after you left Warren?
A: Yes, Nick works, I believe, occasionally in the animation industry. He still works in comics.
He -- I know him. I can't say that we're great friends or anything, but I've run in to him from time to time.
Q: Where does he work now?
A: I think he's in Florida. I think he is busy doing his -- his cheap little science fiction movies that he sells online.
Q: And do you know what the name of his company is?
A: I couldn't tell you.
Q: Do you know where he is in Florida?
A: I don't know.
Q: If you were going to look for him, would you go to IMDb?
A: No, no. I can probably find him on the Internet somewhere.
Q: All right. Do you know if Bill Dubay had any interactions with Nick Cuti?
A: About what?
Q: About copyright ownership.
A: I think there was something going on about The Fox.  It was a character that Nick created and I do not know the details of that.
Q: All right. Well, I have -- I have no further questions of the witness right now.
Ben, it's your turn to ask questions.
MR. DUBAY: I appreciate that.
EXAMINATION BY MR. DUBAY: The first question, Mr. Stenstrum, that I have -- the first few questions I'm going to go through are simply background questions and then we'll get into the exhibits and try to move through those fairly quickly since you have testified on some of the questions I have.
The first question I have today is did you discuss your testimony with defense counsel prior to today?
A: Did I -- I'm sorry, did I speak with the defense counsel about testimony? You mean like did he coach me or anything?
Q: No, no, not anything specifically. Did you discuss your testimony with defense counsel?
A Not -- not the testimony specifically, no.
No, he had -- he had mentioned that he would be asking me questions about -- he didn't even say that he would be asking questions.
He was just curious about, specifically, the H.G. Wells' time machine and -- but beyond that there were -- there was no off-the-record sort of talk.
Q: Did you discuss any of your exhibits with the defense counsel?
A: No, I just made the exhibits shortly before I came here. He has seen it for the first time --
Q: Now did you have any of those exhibits in your hand at the time you drew any sketch of the work at any time? Did you have any of those exhibits that you produced today --
A: Yes.
Q: -- in your possession at the time that you drew any preliminary sketches of "The Rook"?
A: Oh, no.
Q: Okay. Were you ever an employee of Warren Publishing Company or Warren Communications Corp?
A Yes, for a brief time. Are you talking a freelance position or are you talking full time?
Q: An employee. I understand the difference. But, let's say, an employee such as assistant editor as you testified earlier?
A: Yes, yes.
Q: An employee?
A: Yes, I was assistant editor for a few months in 1973 and then editor for -- I don't think it was even a full month in 1981.
Q: Were you paid a weekly salary --
A: Yes.
Q: -- as assistant editor?
A: During that time, yes.
Q: Were you paid a weekly salary as an editor?
A Yes.
Q: Did Bill Dubay hire you as assistant editor for various magazines?
A: Yes.
Q: Did Bill Dubay promote you to editor in 1981?
A: Yes.
Q: Was that for Rook Issue No. 11?
A: Oh, you mean specifically what did I work on? Again, it was a very short time. I specifically worked on editing. I do not believe it was "The Rook." I believe it was an issue of "Creepy" and an issue of "Eerie." I do not believe I had anything to do with "The Rook."
Q: Was Bill Dubay promoted to co-publisher of Warren Publishing Company at any time?
A: Yes, I believe he was. He told me that he was, yes.
Q: What authority did he have as co-publisher?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion but go ahead.
BY MR. DUBAY: To the best of your knowledge, what authority did Bill Dubay have while he was co-publisher?
 THE WITNESS: Well, again, I believe he pretty much took over the chores that Jim Warren didn't want to do anymore and he would be overseeing magazines but on top of which he would be overseeing the entire business, I believe.
MR. DUBAY: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY:
Q: When did you quit Warren Publishing?
A When did I quit?
Q: As an employee.
A: One time I was fired and the second time I quit because of the whole Harlan Ellison debacle.
Q: Would you like time to give that some more thought because my next question -- let's skip that for now. When was your last story published at Warren Publishing as a writer?
A Probably 1980 -- it was either late '81 or '82. There was one story that I still owed to Warren Publishing and I -- I took that original art with me back to California. It was a five-page thing called "Star Force 5." And even though I no longer worked for Warren, I still finished the story and I sent it back to Bill, so that was probably the last story, probably appeared in '82.
Q: Did you have a work-for-hire contract with Warren Publishing Company?
A: No.
Q: Did you have any written agreement with Warren Publishing Company?
A: No.
Q: Did you have any written agreement with Bill Dubay?
A No.
Q: What rights did you grant to Warren Publishing Company?
A: None. Well, I -- let me revise that. I -- my impression was, as it is very common in book publishing, is that first American -- North American rights were all that Warren should be -- should be buying. I don't subscribe to the fact that he had any right to reprint it overseas or reprint it at all and he certainly, to my mind, did not have any rights to the characters beyond common core publishing, characters or stories.
Q: How did you grant the rights that you did grant to Warren? Did you just send him a script? How does that work?
A: Let me tell you with my very first story "Forgive Us Our Deaths," 1971, I -- I sent in completely unsolicited an 18-page story and I sent it along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and I sent it to Warren -- I didn't even know who the editor was at the time and I got it back within a few days and I -- I got it back so quickly I thought that I had actually mailed it to myself.
And then I opened it up and I was surprised there was a little just one or two lines from the editor saying that he liked the story and that he'll buy it if he -- if I could change it to 12 pages. It was 18 pages. He wanted it reduced to 12 pages. I then sent back that story -- that same story. I looked at it and I found no way that I could reduce it to 12 pages. I said, "Listen, I'm sorry. This is the way it's got to go. I cannot reduce it to 12 pages." And he said, "Okay. Fine." And that's the extent of it.
And then I got a check for $50 within a couple of weeks. There was no -- there was no Social Security or any other monies taken out of it for taxes or anything else. It was just a straight check for $50.
Q: So then who owned the rights to your work?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion but go ahead.
THE WITNESS: Well, to --
BY MR. DUBAY: Who do you feel owned the rights to your work?
A: I'm sorry, Ben, I didn't catch your question.
Q: Who did you feel owned the rights to your work?
A It is still my impression that I own the character -- my stories since I have never -- I have never signed any sort of document at all, I've never signed a contract, I've never signed a work for hire and without such my impression is that the – all stories are mine.
Now, the copyright laws and legal people may determine differently, but that is my impression.
Q: Has Warren Publishing Company ever violated your understanding of the rights you granted to them?
A: I was not crazy about when Bill decided to reprint Rex Havoc and rip off "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which was a new movie out at that time. This was 1981. And he went through and changed – the character was originally the -- the series was Rex Havoc and "The Asskickers of the Fantastic." And he changed it to Rex Havoc and "The Raiders of the Fantastic."
And I was absolutely furious, but I felt I didn't have much bargaining position because I was dead broke and I was just brought in as editor and I didn't think ultimately it made that much difference because my original work still stood.
Q: Do you recall what month and year that took place?
A Well, it would have happened within a month or two of the release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Bill and I both went to -- Bill was kind and he took me to a preview at a nearby theater of it and we both loved the film. And Bill wanted very much to – Bill was always looking for ideas to ingratiate himself with Jim Warren and he thought that this would be a good way of making quick bucks off of "Raiders." And again, it was a reprint so it cost only what it cost to print. It wasn't a big deal. And Jim Warren loved the idea, but I -- I protested it every inch of the way and I -- it, in fact, is published as written by Alabaster Redzone.
Q: And the month and the year that it was published?
A: I don't have that information right here. I told you it was a couple of months after "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was released.
Q: Pertaining to "The Rook," did you give your ownership rights back to Bill and Budd?
A: Yes.
Q: Well, before giving those rights back, what was your expectation of your financial participation in "The Rook"?
A: It was very vague. I think we just were talking about a three-way split. I had no idea. There were no contracts. There was nothing that was put on paper. By the time we ended, I'm sure Jim Warren would have a cut. The Toy Guy would have a cut.
By the time it would probably come out to not too much for me personally, but it was -- it was very vague.
Q: You testified just a few seconds ago that The Toy Guy would have a copy and Jim Warren would have a copy?
MR. COX: Would have a cut.
THE WITNESS: Would have a cut.
MR. DUBAY: Oh, I apologize. I thought you said, "copy." Was your original agreement with Bill and Budd or was it with Bill, Budd and Jim or was it just with Bill?
A No, it was with Bill and Budd. We had formed, without any sort of paperwork, a partnership called The Cartoon Factory.
Q: Was your agreement verbal then?
A Yes.
Q: Were you ever party to a written agreement pertaining to "The Rook"?
A: No.
Q: Was your agreement with Bill and Budd subject to the agreement that Bill Dubay had with Jim Warren? What I mean is was it prearranged that Warren would participate as a publisher and co-developer of "The Rook"?
MR. COX: Objection; foundation but go ahead, please.
THE WITNESS: I'm -- I'm sorry, I'm a little baffled by the question. Could you repeat, please?
MR. DUBAY: Sure. Was it prearranged that Warren -- that's Jim Warren or Warren Publishing Company would participate as publisher and co-developer of "The Rook"?
MR. COX: Objection; no proper foundation. Ambiguous.
THE WITNESS: Yes, I -- Jim Warren would certainly be involved and I believe so was The Toy Guy.
BY MR. DUBAY: Do you recall The Toy Guy's name?
A: Is the Howard Peretz? I don't know. We always referred to him as The Toy Guy.
Q: Was there at any time a joint project between The Cartoon Factory and Warren Publishing Company concerning "The Rook"?
MR. COX: Objection; vague.
THE WITNESS: I'm -- I'm not aware of any.
BY MR. DUBAY: Now, did you write any stories for "The Rook"?
A No, I did not.
Q: Did you create any published artwork or expression for "The Rook"?
 A Publish, no.
Q: Who made the creative decisions for "The Rook"?
A: The creative decisions were Bill and Budd and ultimately Jim Warren. Everything had to go through Jim Warren.
Q: So, in other words, the three of them would discuss things and decide things creatively?
A: Not the three of them. Bill -- Budd never talked to Jim Warren. Bill and Budd and I, we would talk over various ideas and direction we wanted to take "The Rook" and then Bill would take that information and talk to Jim Warren.
Q: So Bill sort of acted as the trustee for "The Rook"?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion.
THE WITNESS: He was certainly the liaison.
MR. DUBAY: He was the liaison. Perfect. Any agreement that Bill would have had with Jim Warren would you and Budd be subject to it?
MR. COX: Objection; vague and ambiguous.
THE WITNESS: I would think so, yes.
BY MR. DUBAY: If we can look at the exhibit marked Exhibit A, Eerie Volume 82 cover, title page and page five.
MR. COX: Here's Exhibit A.
MR. DUBAY: I think we can move through this pretty quickly.
MR. COX: Good. Let me get the -- let me get the --
THE WITNESS: I have the original comic book here, Ben. Does that help?
MR. DUBAY: If you have the original comic book, that's fine.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
MR. DUBAY: The other questions only become relevant depending on how the first question is asked -- or answered. Do you know, Jim, who created the image of Restin Dane, also shown as "The Rook" on the cover of Eerie 82?
A: Who did the actual drawing.
 Q: Who did the drawing, correct.
A: That was definitely Bill Dubay.
Q: You testified earlier that you came up with the costume or designed the costume?
A: That's correct.
Q: Did you also design the shirt in that image?   
A: In this image, the torn shirt, no. I created a white shirt that Bill Dubay tore to make it look more dramatic.
Q: You testified earlier that Restin Dane, aka "The Rook," appears often with a torn shirt?
A: On the covers of various Rook magazines, yes.
Q: And you had nothing to do with creating that torn shirt; correct?
A No, that was all Bill Dubay.
Q: Is it better stated, then, that you participated in the designing of the costume for Restin Dane?
A: I -- I pretty much -- I created the costume for Restin Dane. Bill Dubay only tore his shirt on that cover. That's all he did.
Let me revise that. I never drew his pants. In any drawing that I ever remember, including the original one that I don't even think exists anymore, it was a full length body of "The Rook," but I don't think I ever bothered to get down to what his boots looked like and the -- so if you're looking to give Bill some credit here, I would give the pants -- the bell-bottom pants that he looks -- which is bizarre that was -- I believe that was Bill Dubay's doing.
Q: Okay. So let's make sure we're accurate on this. You did not design the shoes?
A: Boots, I believe.
Q: The boots?
A: Yes.
Q: And you did not design the pants or boots?
A: Yes.
Q: And you only partially designed or influenced the design on the shirt.
MR. COX: Objection; ambiguous.
BY MR. DUBAY: Is that correct?
A: No, this is wrong, Ben.
Q: Okay.
A: The shirt is torn only I believe during the act of some adventure. He does not wear a torn shirt all the time.
 Q: Okay. So looking at the cover of Eerie 82 you credit yourself with designing the vest, designing a white shirt and designing a hat; is that correct?
A And the belt and the -- I don't recall if I gave him gloves or not.
Q: Okay.
A: Yes.
Q: So is it better stated then that you participated in the designing of The Rook's costume?
A: Okay. If that is what you need, yes.
Q: If we could look at Exhibit No. 2 titled "Warren Presents," number two, "The Rook"?
MR. COX: I'll hand the exhibit --
BY MR. DUBAY: Mr. Stenstrum, are you familiar with this document?
A: I seem to remember -- I don't know where it's from. I think I read it. Is this the one where he says that I had more to do with the design of "The Rook" than anybody else? Yeah, here it is. And so "The Rook" was born but not without -- Jim Stenstrum assisted with the burgeoning first story line, true.
After dozens of rough sketches were prepared -- well, they weren't our sketches. They were The Toy Guy's -- and round filed a tentative costume was settled upon, more the brain child of Stenstrum than anybody else, yes, that is correct.
Q: So are you familiar with the reporting -- the report "The Making of a Comic Book Hero"?
A The entire article, I read it years ago. I do not know what all is in here.
Q: Would you like to take some time to take a look at it?
A: Is that necessary?
Q: That's up to you, Mr. Stenstrum.
MR. COX: Well, no, if you have a particular question, it would speed things up to tell him what the focus is of the next question.
MR. DUBAY: No problem. Do you know who wrote it, the report?
A: I'm presuming it was Bill Dubay, but I don't know if it's signed.
Q: What was The Cartoon Factory that's mentioned in this report?
A: That was a studio that was put together by Bill Dubay and Budd Lewis. Largely this was Bill Dubay's doing and I think he brought in Budd Lewis and then later on I came aboard.
It was really already established or close to being established. The furniture was just coming in and so on. And I was immediately made a third partner in it.
Q: Do you know when that was?
A: Yes, July of 1976.
Q: Now, was Bill the founder of The Cartoon Factory?     
A: I cannot tell you that. The Cartoon Factory was already kind of a going concern by the time I got there. My impression would be that Bill was largely responsible for its creation, yes.
Q: Did Jim Warren own The Cartoon Factory or participate in ownership in any way, to your knowledge?
A: No, I don't believe he had a thing to do with The Cartoon Factory.
Q: Where was The Cartoon Factory located?
A It was in Ridgefield, Connecticut in the basement of -- I think it was like a strip mall or something. It was like three rooms we had and – I don't know -- upstairs, I remember there were other -- I think there's like a gift shop upstairs and it was -- it was a nice little pad.
Q: So it was -- it was in a commercial facility.
A: Yes.
Q: Correct?
A: That's correct.
Q: Was anything else produced out of The Cartoon Factory for clients other than Warren Publishing Company?
A: Yes, there were a couple of very small projects. There was a -- some fellow from Dupont came by and wanted a -- I don't know -- sort of a -- he wanted a character to sort of promote safety at the Dupont plant. And Bill and I -- not Bill and I -- it was really Budd and I really sort of put that together and -- I don't know -- I think we got 40 bucks for it. Something like that. I don't know if they ever used it.
And also at one point Bill had brought in a lot of fashions, dresses. Somebody somewhere had wanted us to do -- back then it was not uncommon in newspapers and such to have illustrations of fashions and then publish that and the -- Dubay -- Bill had said that he -- I don't know -- he had a car full of clothes or something, but because we couldn't do it quickly he had lost that particular account.
Other than that there was nothing else that was produced by The Cartoon Factory while I was there, and I think Budd was also not involved in it about the same time as me. It sort of kind of collapsed because of rivalries, a lot of arguing and so on. It just kind of all fall apart within a few months of my arrival.
Q: Do you know when The Cartoon Factory went under, so to speak?
A: I didn't know that it did. Oh, you mean that version of it, I don't know that it actually ever went under. I think Bill just sort of kept it and both of us just sort of went our own way, but I think Bill continued to keep The Cartoon Factory going as an art studio with his own stuff.
Q: Was The Cartoon Factory around, then, in, let's say, 1981?
A: Yeah, he considered that guesthouse of his to be the headquarters of The Cartoon Factory out in the back in Danbury.
Q: Were you a partner at that time?
A No, I had nothing to do with it.
MR. DUBAY: If we can show Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit C, The Cartoon Factory promotional piece.
THE WITNESS: Is that this here?
MR. COX: Yes.
THE WITNESS: Is that a mock-up of the Eerie cover introducing a bold new concept? There it says, "The Cartoon Factory." Yeah, that's -- I would say that was doubtlessly Bill's work.
BY MR. DUBAY: Do you recognize this piece?
A: I don't know that I ever saw it to tell you the truth but I can tell that it's Dubay's artwork. He had a very definite way of drawing gritted teeth.
Q: Does this look like something that was produced at The Cartoon Factory?
A This -- again, I don't know anything about The Cartoon Factory after I left. I don't know what Bill used it for.
I can tell you only that this looks definitely like it was done entirely by Bill Dubay.
Q: Okay. Did Bill ever discuss with you why he chose to make The Rook a cowboy?
A: We already knew. It was a requirement of anything that we were to work on. That was the stipulation. It had to be a cowboy. The Toy Guy was positive that Westerns were going to make a comeback.
Q: Did Bill ever discuss with you that Jim Warren or Howard Peretz wanted to reuse the cowboy toy mold from Mattel?
A: The cowboy what?
MR. COX: Toy molds from Mattel.
THE WITNESS: You know, I don't think that I was -- I don't think that I knew that, no. It makes sense, but I don't know the particulars of The Toy Guy and then what his association was with the project. I never met him.
BY MR. DUBAY: Now, you mentioned the name – you mentioned the name Howard Peretz. Have you ever heard the name Elliot Rudell.
A: Elliot Rudell?
MR. COX: That's correct. That's what he said.      
THE WITNESS: I do not know that name.
MR. DUBAY: Okay. If we can see or show Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit D, "The Rook" number one, cover and title page. Mr. Stenstrum, do you recognize Exhibit D?
A: Well, I remember the comic book when it was published, yes.
 Q: Does this appear to be the comic that you recall?       
A: Sure. It's a lovely Rich Corben cover.
Q: If I could direct your attention to the title page. Do you see under "Art Production" or above, excuse me, "Art Production" that The Cartoon Factory is listed.
A: Uh-huh.
MR. COX: You need to say "yes" or "no" for the record.
THE WITNESS: My apologies. Yes, I see -- did you ask about The Cartoon Factory art production?
MR. DUBAY: Correct.
THE WITNESS: Yes, I believe that Bill used that -- that name occasionally or maybe all the time after a certain date, I don't know.
But he would do the art production out in his guesthouse at The Cartoon Factory, so I think he just rather than putting his name down as also the art production, I think he just put down The Cartoon Factory. Perhaps he thought it was good publicity. I don't know.
BY MR. DUBAY: If you look down that same column, do you know why there is a dedication with undying gratitude to Budd Lewis, Howard Peretz and Jim Stenstrum?
A I can only believe it has to do with us being involved in the creation of "The Rook."
Q: So, to the best of your recollection, all three parties were involved in the creation of "The Rook"?
A: I know about me. I know about Budd. I do not know about Howard Peretz.
Q: Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: If we can please show Mr. Stenstrum the Gmail which is Exhibit E, Gmail Press Comments.
THE WITNESS: All right.
BY MR. DUBAY: If I can draw your attention to page one to the response dated July sixth, 2014.
A: July sixth. Okay.
MR. COX: At what time? At what time? There are three messages that date.
MR. DUBAY: Give me one moment, I'll give you the time. The time I'm referring to is 3:47 --
A: Okay.
Q: -- p.m. Does crediting you as being instrumental in the development of the first story ever overstate your contribution?
A: Probably, yes.
Q: Does crediting you as the designer of "The Rook overstate your contribution?
A: No.
MR. DUBAY: If you can show Jim Stenstrum the exhibit marked F, Howard Peretz to James Warren, a letter dated October 12th, 1976.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: Do you recognize this letter?
A· No, never seen it.
Q· To your knowledge, was "The Rook" being developed for toys by Package Play Development?
A· Okay. You are going to have to back up. Package Play Development, I do not know who that is.
Q· Package Play Development is a -- the president of the company was Howard Peretz.
A· Okay. And, I'm sorry, what was your question?
Q· I'll rephrase the question. Do you know, to your knowledge anyway, was "The Rook" being developed for toys by Howard Peretz?
A· I believe that was the intention, yes.
Q· Is that why you called him The Toy Guy?
A· Yes.
Q· The Toy Guy?
A· That's how we referred to him. Even Bill referred to him as The Toy Guy.
Q· Do you recognize the handwriting on this document? And it begins on page, specifically what I'm referring to, is page six through page seven.
A· That looks like Bill Dubay's writing, that is -- that seems to be his style of writing, yes, although I've never seen this before but that is his style.
Q· Okay. If we could go back to page two for a moment?
            Okay.
           Page two under item B?
            Item B, okay.
           Is this -- does this section item B or under item B discuss there being a possible problem with registering entertainment services regarding the mark "The Rookies"?
A· Are you asking do I know of any sort of conflict at the time?
Q· I'm asking, one, if it states that, but then I would follow-up and ask you if you know of any conflict?
A: You know, I vaguely remember Bill talking about "The Rookies," but I don't think it was anything that anybody worried about. I mean, they're two entirely different things.
Q: Does that discussion concerning "The Rookies" that you had with Bill Dubay confirm that there could be a problem with these registration of the entertainment services regarding a mark of "The Rookies"?
A: It's possible. I have to tell you I don't know.
Q: Were any of the details described in this document -- and feel free to take however much time you will need to review it.
Were any of the details described in this document ever discussed to you as an original partner in "The Rook"?
A I'm sorry, I -- would you please repeat that? I didn't quite get that.
Q: Of course. Absolutely. Were any of the details that are described in this document ever discussed with you --
A: Oh, okay.
Q: -- aside from the complexities concerning "The Rookies"?
A: I would have to read the document. Do you want me to read the document? I've never seen this before.
Q: Take your time?
A: Okay. I'm laughing that every cowboy has a horse. I don't -- I'm sure we resisted anything like that. I'm up to Bill's notes here. Let's see. Okay. I've read it.
Bill's notes, it's hard for me to know what he's talking about without specific references. These are notes to himself about the notes that the -- about the various things that The Toy Guy -- The Toy Guy always wants some ridiculous things.
I am kind of surprised that they are very specific about the firearms that they wanted. They wanted a Jurras auto magnum pistol, .44 caliber, with magazine auto load.
I never heard any of this stuff. I didn't know that all of this was going on with Bill and The Toy Guy.
Q: So other than "The Rookies" comment that I pointed you to on page two --
A: Yes.
Q: -- under "Registration Problems" --
A: Yes.
Q: -- Bill did not discuss anything else?
A: I don't think so, no.
Q: Okay.
MR. DUBAY: If the we could hand Mr. Stenstrum the -- Exhibit G, Howard Peretz and James Warren letter dated July 30th, 1976. Mr. Stenstrum, have you ever seen this letter?          
A             No, I have not.
           Did Bill ever discuss with you Howard Peretz' ideas of a bulletproof mesh shirt or any of the ideas mentioned?
A· Is that what that shirt was? I saw a drawing of it. I didn't realize it was bulletproof. It just looked bizarre.
Q· Not to be argumentative, Mr. Warren [sic], but was that, yes, that did he discuss with you the mesh shirt?
A: He showed me a drawing of it. He did not -- I do not believe he told me what it was about. We all laughed at it.
Q: Did you have a conversation about the drawing.
A: Yeah, we all said it was stupid.
Q: Are there any other items discussed and mentioned in this letter that you recall discussing with Bill at the time?
A: Of this letter, I have not read it yet. I'll read it.
Q: Thank you.
A: Oh, wow, this is nothing like what Rook ended up being. This is -- this is wild. He was bald originally?
It seems to me I do remember a drawing of him being bald.
The special glasses, blinded as a child?
Jeez, I don't remember that at all.
This is all toy guy type stuff. Anything that will be turned into toys, they really don't care how it affects the story. They just want to make toys.
Q: Other than -- other than "The Rook" being bald and other than the mesh shirt, do you recall any other details that you may have discussed with Bill --
A: No.
Q: -- that's contained in this letter?
A No, I never saw the letter. I never discussed any -- no, I don't remember any of this stuff.
Q: Other than the bald guy and the mesh shirt; correct?
A: Yeah, yeah, I guess he was bald. It was just strange. He looked like a wrestler.
Q: But you did discuss that with Bill, a bald guy?
A: Briefly, we all laughed when we saw the picture and said, well, we ain't going this way.
Q: Very good. On page two if I could bring your attention to that, Item No. 4, does it refer to the next step as to register name?
A: Okay.
Q: Does it describe the next step being to register the name?
A: It does, yes.
Q: That's all I have for this exhibit. Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum.
MR. DUBAY: Mr. Cox, if you could hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit H, "Comic Book Babylon," pages 210 through 211.
THE WITNESS: I have it.
BY MR. DUBAY: Have you read "Comic Book Babylon" before?
A: No, I haven't. Is that where this is from?
Q: That's where this is from.
A: Okay.
Q: I would like to point your attention to page two --
A: Okay.
Q: -- beginning approximately line five.
A: Line -- line five?
Q: Line five.
A: Line five -- one, two, three – or paragraph five?
Q: Line five.
A: Where it says, "Details."
Q: Yeah, right after the word, "Details," period, it begins with quotations of Harlan Ellison.
A: Sure.
Q: And really the question is this -- if you need to review this document, feel free -- but were you aware that Harlan Ellison and Jim Warren had prior dealings?
A Oh, yes, absolutely.
Q: Do you know what those were?
A I know about what everybody else knows is that what you read here. Harlan, himself, when I spoke to him, he told me that Jim Warren had introduced him to his wife and I don't know how that all -- all wound up. I know that they were at war with each other, I don't know why.
Q: But you were aware that they were at odds or at war, as you put it?
A: Yes.
MR. COX: Objection; vague as to time.
MR. DUBAY: Okay. Was Harlan Ellison upset at James Warren for not selling him Neal Adams artwork for "Rock God"? And if you'd like to review Mr. Ellison's statements in this.
A I can't comment on that because I never heard of it.
Do you still want me to read this?
Q: Does this describe that event? Yes, I would.
A: Okay. Okay. I've read that paragraph.
Do you want me to go to the end?
Q: The question is: Was Harlan Ellison upset at James Warren for not selling him Neal Adams artwork for "Rock God"?
MR. COX: Objection; no proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: I have never heard of this, Ben. However, I do notice at the end of that paragraph that Ellison is wrong. He -- I don't know where he cobbled something together in his own head. What I didn't know was that he had already commissioned Alex Nino on the sly and hired Gerry Boudreaux to adapt the story. That's wrong. That's out of order.
Gerry Boudreaux was approached and so was I by Bill at the beginning of "1984 Magazine" before it was created and he said, "Listen, I want -- I want some adaptations by some big names like" -- and then he shows -- Boudreaux said that he knew Harlan Ellison and that he wanted to do "A Boy and His Dog," and I guess he guaranteed that he would be able to get the rights of that story from Harlan and based on that Bill said go ahead.
And for me, I had chosen a story by Kurt Vonnegut and I had told Bill at the time that, "Listen, if you can't get the rights to the story, you still got to pay me." And he said, "Sure, sure, sure." And I wrote the story -- the Kurt Vonnegut story and he called, I believe, Kurt Vonnegut personally and Vonnegut told him that, "Listen, you know, it's not worth it to me. It will cost me more in lawyer fees than I would get in payment from you," and so he turned him down.
And so my story -- the Kurt Vonnegut story, that was thrown into the slush pile and I had – I guess when Gerry Boudreaux told Harlan about "A Boy and His Dog," that he was going to adapt it, I guess -- I guess that Harlan hit the roof and he called -- he put in a couple of emergency calls to Bill at his home in Connecticut and just screamed and hollered and told him that you do not have permission to do this and -- but ultimately, Bill went ahead and did it anyway.
He did not plan -- in his defense, he did not plan for this to turn out to a plagiarism thing.
What often happened was when we'd run out of the scripts, we would use things from the slush pile which was things -- which were stories and artwork that we thought we would probably never use but kept it because they were paid for and we would use them in a pinch.
Now, the thing was is that Alex Nino was his absolute best artist. He was faster than anything. He could knock out a story in a few days, so he was a show eater -- he would -- a story eater and he was absolutely the best guy that Bill had and he was -- he knew that if he couldn't keep feeding the beast, if he couldn't keep finding scripts for him that Nino would go someplace else to DC or to Marvel. And so it was really a desperation play on Bill's part because he wanted to -- he was desperate to keep Alex Nino on board, so he grabbed "The Boy and His Dog" script and he quickly made those changes that I spoke of earlier, changing a boy to a girl and the dog to a monster.
And then he thought he would revise all of that and it would be unrecognizable by the time we were through. It was never intended to be plagiarism not by Bill and certainly not by me.
But after he got the artwork back he realized that, oh, crap, now I've got 12 pages of expensive Nino artwork, now I've got to use it. I don't know why he didn't choose to rewrite it himself. Perhaps he thought I could do a better job of hiding it. I don't know. I always regret saying yes to him, though.
And anyway --
MR. DUBAY: Can I -- I don't mean to cut you off, but it's unresponsive. I was asking a different question and you gave a different answer. I'm just going to move to strike that answer and it's not to be disrespectful. I appreciate you taking --
THE WITNESS: I'm not quite finish, though, Ben.
MR. DUBAY: Okay. I apologize.
THE WITNESS: The other thing that Harlan says here is he did this without permission and when he was turned down by me, Harlan, he had Alex change it at his own expense. That's not true. Alex did not change any of the art. And I'm done. Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: The question was -- I'll just rephrase the question.
A: All right.
Q: Are you aware that Mr. Ellison and Mr. Warren had a beef?
A Had a beef?
Q: Let's say, that they had a history of problems. You testified earlier that they were at war?
A Yes, yes.
Q: Were you aware that they had a history of problems?
A: Bill Dubay had told me about it, yes.
Q: Okay. Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: If you can hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit I.
MR. COX: Oh, Exhibit I was previously -- oh, yes, I see it. Yes. It was previously testified to.
MR. DUBAY: It was.
MR. COX: Yes, I used that as an exhibit for "1984 Magazine" instead of the whole Magilla article. But anyway, Exhibit I is already here but please just -- the witness identified each page of Exhibit I just so you recall that.
MR. DUBAY: Excellent. Now, was "Mondo Magilla" printed in "1984 Magazine," volume four with a cover date of October 1978?
A: That's correct.
Q: What duties did you perform on "Mondo Magilla"?
A I took the original artwork that had been sent to me and I threw out the script. I knew the script was useless to me and I just tried to reconstruct as different a story as I could put together and that required juggling panels around and doing everything I could to throw everybody off the scent that it was originally "A Boy and His Dog."
Q: Who is credited as writer on "Mondo Magilla"?
A Alabaster Redzone.
Q: Is Alabaster Redzone your pen name?
A: It is.
Q: Were you paid as a writer for the story "Mondo Magilla"?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you recall what your page rate was?
A At that time probably about, I would guess, around $30 a page. I don't recall exactly. I know it topped out at $40 a page when I left.
Q: Was that your typical freelance page rate?
A: Yes.
Q: Were you credited as writer for Rex Havoc?
A: Yes.
Q: Were you paid as a writer for Rex Havoc?
A: The story was brought from me. Yes, I was paid as a writer.
Q: Would you consider Rex Havoc your magnum opus?
A: No.
Q: How many books have you written for Rex Havoc in the past five years?
A: Novels you mean? Is that what you are talking about?
Q: Yes.
A Two.
Q: Who was your publisher?
A Myself.
Q: So incurred the costs of publishing and distribution?
A: Well, it's through Amazon so it is print on demand and the ultimate person that ends up spending money on its production is the person that buys it. They are literally printed one book at a time as the money comes in.
Q: Now, you testified earlier when you were paid as a freelance writer, you were not an employee; is that correct?
A: I don't see how I could have been.
Q: So is that correct?
A: That is correct, yes, I was not an employee.
Q: Thank you.
Were you credited as assistant editor in "1984," volume four.
A: Oh, it's possible. I think it was a bone that Bill Dubay threw at me. The only thing that I really did -- and it was for no money at all -- I would give him suggestions. What -- title suggestions. I would often give him like maybe an idea for a character or, you know, the name of the letters page, incoming telemetry, that was something I gave him. It didn't amount to much and I wasn't paid for it.
Q: You testified earlier that when you were an assistant editor, you were an employee of Warren Publishing Company; is that correct?
A: You are mixing it up. I was assistant editor in the -- 1973 where I was literally -- I was on staff. But the assistant editor that you are talking about later on for "1994" was just something that Dubay threw on there. I was not given any money at all. I was not an employee.
Q: You testified earlier that when you were an assistant editor you received a weekly salary; is that correct?
A: In 1973, yes.
Q: Did you also receive a salary when you were an editor in 1981, just to clarify?
A: Yes.
Q: Now, what responsibilities did you have as assistant editor of volume number four, "1984"?
A: Nothing. Again, this was just something Dubay put onto the masthead for my help. It was just sort of a thank you. It meant nothing. I was paid no money for it.
Q: What were some editorial responsibilities that another editor may have had on this issue of "1984"?
A: That another editor -- the editor was Bill Dubay. I believe he was the editor for most of the "1984" magazines.
Q: Do you know what his responsibility was as editor?
A: Well, sure, yes, he would start by getting -- he would solicit stories or stories would come in freelance and he would put together scripts and then he would put together what he thought was a -- whatever scripts he thought were good enough to be illustrated, they would be sent out to artists. Usually he would use his own guys. It was rare that he would use somebody that he wasn't already familiar with.
And then the artwork would be created and then it would be brought back to Warren and the -- the production department in the back there, they would -- they would take the script and turn – apply word balloons and captions onto the comic pages. And then Dubay would decide which stories were good enough to go, he would decide what order and then there was -- and then he would choose a cover for it and he would put writing on the cover, blurbs, whatever he thought would look good for the magazine.
He was very good as far as particular covers. They were excellent. And he then would put the whole book together, what he would call putting it to bed, send it off to the printer, which was, I believe, Sparta, Illinois. It would be mailed off there. And then, oh, I think a couple weeks later we would get back what was called brown lines, which was a mock-up of the book that Bill had sent.
And then Bill would get on the phone with the fellow at Sparta and he would go over the entire book page by page and say there's a spec here, a letter has fallen off here, the artwork is not exactly straight here and essentially nitpick the entire issue and that was required for every single issue, but it was -- it was called brown lines because it came back -- it wasn't in black ink. It was in actually brown ink.
And then he would do -- he would send out -- eventually they would come to terms with the changes and they would take care of it and then they would send -- I believe a cover would come back first, that was a four-color thing and then – I think then we'd get the whole book back. I don't know if we got -- yeah, I think we got the whole book back and by and large they did a fantastic job.
Q: As editor, would Bill rewrite stories?
A: All the time.
Q: Would he make editorial revisions to the panel or art?
A: Sure.
Q: Would he rearrange things to make it express how he wanted it expressed?
A· Yes.
Q· Would he rearrange the art and panels?
A· Yes.
Q· As editor?
A· Yes.
Q· Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum. If you can hand Mr. Stenstrum the public catalog. It's Exhibit J, Public Catalog from "1984," No. 4.
MR. COX: Exhibit J. Oh, the public catalog.
THE WITNESS: Is this it?
MR. COX: Yeah, I think that's it.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
MR. COX: He has Exhibit J in front of him.
MR. DUBAY: Thank you. Mr. Stenstrum, if you can take just a moment to review it?
A: Uh-huh. Yes.
Q: Is the previous registration in 1978 TX94, dash, 430?
A: The previous what? I'm sorry, I don't understand your question.
Q: The previous registration?
A The previous -- oh, I see it, yeah, down here. Okay. 1978 TX94-430. Okay. Yes.
Q: Is the registration TX94-430 for the entire content of the "1984," No. 4 October 1978 magazine?
MR. COX: Objection; foundation.
THE WITNESS: I believe that is so. I do not know.
BY MR. DUBAY: Do you recall what the copyright notice is for the "1984 Magazine"? You can refer back to Exhibit I, if you'd like.
A It's a little fuzzy. "1984" is published six times a year by Warren Publishing Company editorial subscription -- I'm sorry, what am I supposed to read here?
Q: Well, does it state that the entire contents are copyrighted by the -- 1978 by Warren Publishing Company?
 A Entire contents, yes, it says there. Entire contents copyrighted 1978 by Warren Publishing, yes.
Q: Is that copyright notice correct?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion.
BY MR. DUBAY: In your opinion and the opinion that was expressed to you by your attorney, is that copyright notice; correct?
A: No, it isn't. You can look at any "Playboy Magazine" and it will say the same thing, but the individual stories in there are each copyrighted by the particular artist or author.
Q: Is your copyright notice omitted in this magazine?
A Yes, it is and that is a sore point with Bill Dubay because he promised me that he would give me credit, that he would give me copyright on this -- he promised me before I even started this and then when it was published and I found out that it wasn't there, I was absolutely furious. But he said, "Sorry, I can't do anything. I can't bring that to Jim Warren."
Q: You were furious when you found out?
A Yes.
Q: Now, you testified earlier that you did not have any written agreement with Jim Warren.
Did you have any written agreement with Bill Dubay pertaining to that copyright notice?
A: No, I took his word over the phone.
MR. DUBAY: If you could hand the witness Exhibit K entitled "Circular 3."
THE WITNESS: Gentlemen, I'm confused why does my character Rex Havoc have anything to go do with The Rook?
MR. COX: I think it's some sort of a -- no, I don't -- I don't understand.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
MR. COX: But I can't stop -- I can't stop him from asking about a car accident you were in.
MR. DUBAY: I can answer any question you like. It is to determine the credibility of the witness' testimony and we do you understand that.
THE WITNESS: Oh, okay. So this is all to diminish me. Okay.
MR. DUBAY: There is only two ways that I can -- I can only ask two types of questions. One is to bring about additional facts and the other to determine the credibility of the witness' testimony.
THE WITNESS: Okay. Proceed, governor.
MR DUBAY: Do you now have in your hands Circular 3?
A: Oh, yes, I do.
MR. COX: That would be Exhibit K?
THE WITNESS: Oh, okay.
MR. DUBAY: Circular 3.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: You testified earlier that you do not have a written agreement with Jim Warren at any kind?
A That's correct.
Q: If you notice on page one, let's call it the second column, maybe third paragraph down it indicates that copyright notice was required for all works published before March first of 1981; is that correct?
A: That's what it says, yes.
Q: If notice was omitted or a mistake was made in using copyright notice, did the work generally lose copyright production?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for legal conclusion.
BY MR. DUBAY: If you can read the next few lines if the notice was omitted or a mistake was made in using copyright notice, the work generally lost copyright protection in the United States.
Is that what Circular 3 in the copyright notice says?
MR. COX: You are asking what the document says? I mean the witness --
MR. DUBAY: No, I'm asking -- that's what I'm asking.
MR. COX: Oh, okay. I'll stipulate that the document says what it says. Why don't we go from there and find out what the witness knows?
THE WITNESS: I am not a copyright attorney, Ben.
MR. DUBAY: I understand.
BY MR. DUBAY: I'm simply trying -- this circular was sent to you by me in an email and I'm only establishing the foundation for that later email and those later questions.
But you have Circular 3 and you have confirmed and defense counsel stipulated that that's what it says, that's fine by me.
The only question I have related to this particular exhibit has to do with "1984 Magazine" as well. Was "1984 Magazine," Volume No. 4 published before 1989?
A: I'm sorry, was it published before 1989?
Q: Was it published before 1989?
A: Number four, yes, 1979, was it published? '78? I'm not sure.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum.
MR. DUBAY: Can we hand Mr. Stenstrum the exhibit marked L, Gmail Rook.
MR. COX: It's a 15-page exhibit.
THE WITNESS: Oh, this whole --
MR. COX: Yeah, it's a 15-page exhibit.
THE WITNESS: All right.
MR. DUBAY: I understand.
BY MR. DUBAY: If I could draw your attention to page three, Mr. Stenstrum?
A I think I have all 15 pages. To number what?
MR. COX: Page three of 15.
BY MR. DUBAY: Page three of 15?
A: Okay.
Q: The email that I'm referring to specifically is an email dated Monday, May the 12th, 2014 --
A: Yes, I see it.
Q: -- at 4:36 p.m. Do you recall this email?
A: I will when I read it.
Q: Thank you.
A: Okay. I've read it.
Q: Mr. Stenstrum, do you remember the day when Bill was trying to get the green light from Warren on "The Rook"?
A I remember only that I was in Warren offices and I did not see Jim Warren. I was in Louise Jones' office and I think I was giving her a script to one of the hard John Apple stories and then Bill had gone off into Jim Warren's office and talked to him and after a few minutes had come back and he says, "I need a drawing of Rook real quick." And I had no idea what to do so I just took the tablet paper that he gave me and I just knocked out what I thought would be an interesting cowboy.
Q: Okay. Was that interesting cowboy exhibited on page two of this document?
A: That is not the drawing, no. The drawing that I did is not here. I don't even know that it exists anymore.
Q: Thank you. Back to page three and back to that email, in the your opinion were the costume designs by The Toy Guy horrible.
A: Yes.
Q: And did "The Rook" wear a fishnet shirt in one of them?
A I believe so, yes. Yes, I do remember a fishnet shirt.
Q: Did any of the toy costume designs look cowboy enough for Warren?
A: No, I don't think I saw anything that looked even vaguely cowboy like. That was – I thought that was very odd. The drawings that the toy people were coming up looked nothing like a cowboy.
Q: Was that a problem for Warren, if you recall?
A I don't know if it was a problem for Warren. It was not what we were told to do.
Q: Okay.
A: We were told to maybe a cowboy.
Q: Did Jim Warren give you and Bill the green light based upon a rendering of that cowboy that you knocked out in ten minutes?
A: Yes, he said we're good to go.
Q: Now, back to a statement you made earlier that you gave your rights back to "The Rook," was that in 1976 or 1977, do you recall?
A I would guess it was the later part of 1976.
Q: Do you recall if it was prior to "The Rook" being published?
A: Do I -- I missed that, I'm sorry.
Q: Did you give your rights back to "The Rook" before "The Rook" was ever published --
A Yes.
Q: -- in Eerie 82?
A Yes, I did.
Q: Do you presently have any claim to the character?
A: No.
Q: Did you bow out of "The Rook" due to Bill and Budd constantly arguing?
A: There were two reasons. It was Bill and Budd were constantly at each other throats, their wives were constantly at each other throats and I found myself in between; and secondly, I found "The Rook" to be lame, it was a bad story and I was not interested.
Q: If I could direct your attention to page 11?
A: Page 11. What is at the top, Ben?
MR. COX: It has a page number in the lower right-hand corner.
THE WITNESS: Oh, it does. Seven of -- oh, I got you. I'm sorry. Okay. Page 11. I'm sorry, go ahead. Uh-huh.
BY MR. DUBAY: And the email is dated Tuesday, December 19th, 2017?
 A Uh-huh.
Q: If I can draw your attention to that?
A: Right.
Q: Did I send to you Circular 3 as previously exhibited as evidence of my findings pertaining to Rex Havoc as having fallen into the public domain?
A: I believe you did, yes.
Q: Did I express my opinion that your notice was omitted resulting in the public domain status of Rex Havoc?
A: I don't recall. You probably did.
Q: Did I claim to you that I could write a book about Rex Havoc because the work had fallen into the public domain?
A: Yes, you did.
Q: Did you take that as threatening?
A Threatening, no, I -- I took it as a hallow threat, yes. I kind of found it funny actually.
Q: Did you take it as threatening?
A: Threatening, no. I found it -- I thought you were confused. No, nothing you've ever sent me I find really threatening.
Q: Can you refer to page 12 at the very top?
A: Twelve. Okay. "So ease up on the threats and intimidation, tiger. I'm on your side." Okay. You got me on -- you got me on semantics.
Q: It's not semantics. I'm just asking if you felt that it was threatening, that's all?
A: And I say that I'm not threatened by you.
Q: Okay. Did it upset you?
A: Well, yeah, because it seemed like a cheap shot.
Q: How badly did it upset you?
A I cried for hours. No, no, I'm sorry. I'm being silly. It bothered me because it just seemed you were doing everything you could to attack me.
Q: Okay. Is that why you expressed your opinion about the case?
A: Oh, in our emails?
Q: In our emails.
A: Yes, I wanted to shake you loose. I was trying everything I could think of to -- you were asking for me to sign something and I had no intention of signing anything that I didn't know what it was.
And finally, it got to the point that the only way I could get rid of you and get you out of my hair was to tell you the truth that I thought that your -- your lawsuit is completely absurd.
Q: Okay. Do you feel that you are qualified to render an opinion in this case?
A To the extent that I'm a partial creator of "The Rook," yes.
Q: Okay. What are those qualifications that you have?
A Can you be more specific?
Q: Sure. What are those qualifications -- what qualifies you to be able to render an opinion about a work that you testified earlier that you did not read?
A: No, I did read the -- at least the first couple of issues of Rook and I -- with discussions with Bill and Budd, I knew the direction they were going and I just thought it was a very bad, very lazy direction that they were going.
Q: So based upon your reading 40-plus years ago of a few stories, you determined that qualified you to be able to render an opinion about how similar "The Rook" was to Roland Deschain, that qualifies you?
A: It is my opinion only. I've got opinions about everything. I've got opinions about the color orange. I don't like pumpkins. They scare me.
Q: My prior question, Mr. Stenstrum, was do you feel qualified to render an opinion in this case?
A: To the extent that I was involved in the creation, yes. As a creator, I have certain opinions about the series and how it went. I do feel qualified, yes.
Q: But you admit that you did not read but the first couple of stories and not the other 30-plus stories of "The Rook"?
A Oh, God, no. No, they were -- it was all I could do to get through the first couple of stories.
Q: And you still feel qualified to have rendered that opinion?
A: Based on what I was reading, yes.
Q: Okay. Have you actually read "The Dark Tower" series?
A Absolutely.
Q: Did you read the 1982 printing of "The Gunslinger"?
A: Is that the revised gunslinger?
Q: The 1982 printing was not the revised version, no.
A: Okay. Then, yes, I read "The Gunslinger" and then I believe a friend of mine gave me the revised version of "The Gunslinger," which had a lot of changes.
 Q: So you've read them both?
A: I believe I did.
Q: Okay. Can you tell me who David is?
A: Who David is?
Q: Who is David?
A: Again, I am no expert.
Q: I get it, but I'm just asking a couple of details.
A: Before you get into a lot of minutia, I am not an expert on "The Rook." I am not an expert on "The Dark Tower." I am not a legal expert. I've been brought here simply to answer questions about what I know about the creation of "The Rook" and it's various influences. I am no expert and I freely admit it, if that will save some time.
Q: Well, Mr. Stenstrum, what you indicated was that you were qualified to make and render your opinion because you were a creator of "The Rook" and that you have read "The Dark Tower" series.
It's very important that we can confirm that you actually read "The Dark Tower" series.
A I have read --
Q: Whether you feel it is minor or it may be minutia, defense counsel has already asked you the question in a different form and you were unable to answer it and it's a very important question.
So if you could do your best to recall, I'd appreciate it.
A I cannot recall -- I recall bits and pieces out of the series. But the whole thing is 4250 pages long. I do not recall every little miniscule part of it or every character. I am not an expert and I told you that.
Q: Do you recall -- I understand. But whether you've read "The Gunslinger" at all is the question that I have for you and you answered that you did read "The Gunslinger"?
A: Yes, I have read all the books of --
Q: And the revised version?
A Okay. Back up. What is your question?
Q: The question is if you know who David is? And there's a very clear reason why I ask --
MR. COX: He's already answered the question, Ben.
MR. DUBAY: Okay. Well, he asked me what was that question and I was repeating it.
 THE WITNESS: I do not know who David is.
MR. DUBAY: Okay.
THE WITNESS: Do you want to know who a Billy Bumbler is?
MR. DUBAY: I know who the Billy Bumbler is.
 THE WITNESS: Okay.
MR. DUBAY: And I think you have that information, but --
THE WITNESS: Okay. Do you remember every book that you've ever read?
THE COURT REPORTER: I need everybody to stop talking at the same time. It's getting really difficult.
THE WITNESS: I'm sorry.
THE COURT REPORTER: Thank you.
THE WITNESS: This is annoying. I'm sorry.
THE COURT REPORTER: Please continue.
THE WITNESS: Go ahead, Ben. I'm sorry.
BY MR. DUBAY: Mr. Stenstrum, do you recall the first time Roland Deschain was named?
A: Was named?
Q: Was named.
A: N-a-m-e-d.
Q: Named, correct.
A: Do you mean in the book?
Q: In the book.
A: Was there some sort of a ceremony in which he was named? I don't know what you are talking about.
Q: Okay. The question was do you recall. If you do not, then the answer would be no. Do you recall when Roland Deschain was named?
A: No, I do not. I am not be an expert on "The Dark Tower."
Q: Have you read the afterward of a 1982 printing of "The Gunslinger"?
A: Very likely I listened to it. Did Stephen King himself do it?
Q: It was written by Stephen King.
A: Did he audio -- I listened to the audio books. Did he, himself -- did he, himself narrate it?
Q: I'm sorry, Mr. Stenstrum, you testified that you read the 1982 printing of "The Gunslinger," but that you listened to the audiotape of a 2003 revised edition.
Is that not correct now?
A No, no, you are confused. I only listened to the audio versions which is the same as reading.
Q: Did you listen to the audio version of the 1982 version of "The Gunslinger"?
A: If that is the first version of "The Gunslinger," yes, I did.
Q: Do you recall the afterward?
A No, of course I don't.
Q: Okay. Do you recall the forward in the 2003 edition?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Do you recall if -- does anything stand out to you about any conflicts between those two that relates to creation of "The Dark Tower"?
A: I am sorry, you're -- I'm baffled by your line of questioning here. I do not understand your questions.
Q: I understand. Let me change it to another topic.
Have you read C.S. Lewis' "The Dark Tower" that was published in April of 1977.
A: No, never have.
Q: Have you read "The Stephen King Illustrated Companion"?
A: Of -- of "The Dark Tower"?
Q: It's a title called "The Stephen King Illustrated Companion."
A I don't even know what it is.
Q: Okay. So have you read it?
A: Obviously if I don't know what it is, I haven't read it.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum. I'm not trying to be argumentative. I just need a clear answer. Thank you. Have you read "The Road to the Dark Tower"?
A: I doubt it.
Q: Have you read "Whispers," the Stephen King edition?
A: No.
Q: Did you read the selectively published journal entries at end of "Song of Susannah"?
A: No. Or if it was an audio, I probably listened to it.
Q: Do you recall anything --
A: No, of course not.
Q: -- about it?
A: No.
Q: Do you know what Roland Deschain alias was in "Wizard and Glass"?
A: No.
Q: Would William Dearborn qualify as a homage to William Dubay?
MR. COX: Objection; vague and ambiguous. No proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: They got the first same -- they got the same front name. There you go.
BY MR. DUBAY: William Dearborn and William Dubay, do you find that there are certain similarities?
A No, I do not see that -- I do not see that at all.
Q: How about Roland Deschain and Restin Dane, do you find anything similar about their names?
A: They both got RDs.
Q: Do you know anything about Stephen King's reuse of initials?
A Reuse of initials? No, I don't know what you are talking about, Ben.
Q: You don't know that as being a trademark device that Stephen King uses?
A: No, I sure don't.
Q: Have you read "Danse Macabre"?
A: "Danse Macabre"?
Q: Yes.
A: Is that one of the shorter Dark Tower books?
Q: No, it was not. It was a -- it was a book written by Stephen King about -- well, the horror genre in general.
A: Oh, no, I haven't read it.
Q: Have you read "The Horror Market Writer and the Ten Bears"?
A No.
Q: Have you read "On Writing"?
A Yes.
Q: Are you familiar with the court's view on how comic book characters are compared?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion but go ahead, please.
THE WITNESS: Am I -- what about comic book characters?
BY MR. DUBAY: Are you familiar -- are you familiar with the court's view on how comic book characters are compared?
MR. COX: Objection; no proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: I don't know how to answer that, Ben. I don't know what you are talking about.
BY MR. DUBAY: Are you aware that in the detective comics or Brown Publications and since in DC Comics that comic book characters are held as copyrightable?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion. Argumentative. Ben, this is not going anywhere.
MR. DUBAY: I am just simply asking. You can note your objections if he's familiar with it. You asked for his opinion several times. I wanted to -- he also -- the witness indicated he was qualified to render the opinion, there is foundation. You can not your objection.
THE WITNESS: I am qualified to the extent that I am a partial creator of "The Rook." You can asking me any questions about that creation process, but beyond that I admit ignorance.
BY MR. DUBAY: Have you ever testified as an expert witness?
A No, never.
Q: Okay. Do you consider yourself an expert on matters of copyright?
A: No.
Q: Have you ever performed a side-by-side analysis of the characters Restin Dane and Roland Deschain?
MR. COX: Other than in this deposition?
MR. DUBAY: Has Jim Stenstrum ever performed a side-by-side analysis of the characters Roland Deschain and Restin Dane outside of this deposition?
THE WITNESS: I read your complaint and that's as far as I got. I did not go back to the books. I have a life. I have things to do and spending a lot of time comparing "The Rook" and "The Dark Tower" is not high on my list of things to do.
MR. DUBAY: I understand. Did you perform a side-by-side analysis of the characters outside of this deposition?
A: I believe I said no.
Q: Okay. The answer was not no, but I appreciate it very much. Did you use a reliable process in forming your previously offered opinion, is there any process that you would have used when you compared the work?
MR. COX: Objection; vague and ambiguous.
THE WITNESS: Could you speak up too, Ben? I really didn't hear that.
MR. DUBAY: Of course. Of course. My question was: Did you ever use a reliable process in forming your opinions about the characters?
A: No, I just relied on my own little brain.
Q: Thank you. Are you aware that Jeff Rovin has been an expert in copyright matters involving defendant Marvel?
A I knew that he had done that sort of work in the past, but I was not aware of any particular cases, no.
Q: Thank you. Are you aware that he has expressed his opinion in this matter?
MR. COX: Objection; assumes a fact in dispute.
THE WITNESS: I know nothing about this case.
MR. DUBAY: Thank you. Should a jury rely on your opinion on matters of copyright?
MR. COX: Objection; no proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: No, that is for smarter people than me to determine. You've -- you will present expert witnesses and I'm sure that they will present expert witnesses here as well. People a lot smarter than me. This is -- I wouldn't rely on my opinion, no.
MR. DUBAY: Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum. If we could hand you the exhibit marked M, Warren Companion Cover, pages 152, 154, 155, 156 and 189 to Mr. Stenstrum.
THE WITNESS: Got it.
MR. DUBAY: Just general questions.
THE WITNESS: Sure.
BY MR. DUBAY: Did you participate in an interview with Jon B. Cooke that was published in the Warren Companion?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Did Jon B. Cooke record your interview on audiotape?
A Yes, he did.
Q: Are you aware that Jon B. Cooke kept the audio tapes from that interview?
A I would presume he did, yeah.
Q: And if I could draw your attention to page 152?
A: 152.
MR. COX: This doesn't have page numbers on it.
THE WITNESS: What is the illustration on it, Ben?
MR. DUBAY: It's Jim Stenstrum smoking a cigar.                 
THE WITNESS: So it's --  
MR. COX: The first page.              
THE WITNESS: The first page.      Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: Page number two, it's -- I'm looking at the pages. It may not have been on every page, but it is page 152.
A: All right.
Q: And this pertains to the story "Forgive Us Our Debts," second column, halfway down.
You mentioned it before. You testified that John Cochran wrote a note that he wanted to buy the story --
A: Yeah.
Q: -- for $50. Did you sell the story and all rights related to the story or just the use of the story, for this particular story?
A: To be honest, nothing like that was mentioned by either party. I will admit being twenty years old at that time, completely ignorant of the copyright process.
Q: So would you have included your indicia or copyright notice on the script that you sent to Warren Publishing for "Forgive Us Our Debts"?
A: No, no. There was -- there was no copyright notice on there.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum. If we can go to page 154. It's the story on the bottom left corner. It 154. It looks like it's cut off a little bit.
A: Illustration, please. What illustration?
Q: "Thrill Kill" and "1994."
A: Okay.
Q: It's the very next page in the exhibit.
A: Okay. Got it.
Q: To your knowledge, was Bill a most prolific writer for Warren Publishing?
A: Oh, yes, by far.
Q: Second column, halfway down if I could bring your attention to that.
 A: Second column, halfway down.
Q: To your knowledge --
A: Okay.
Q: -- did Bill Dubay rewrite almost everything that crossed his desk while he was editor?
A: Virtually everything --
MR. COX: Objection; foundation.
THE WITNESS: Virtually everything with the exception of anything I wrote.
BY MR. DUBAY: Are you saying that he did not rewrite your work?
A: I wouldn't let him.
Q: Okay. In all of the stories that Bill published, wrote, rewrote at Warren Publishing Company was he ever charged with plagiarism?
A: Was Bill Dubay charged with plagiarism --
Q: Was Bill Dubay ever charged with plagiarism?
A: Other than the Harlan Ellison thing?
Q: In all the stories that Bill wrote and/or he rewrote was Bill Dubay ever charged with plagiarism?
A: No, I don't believe he was.
Q: And the second column, three quarters of the way down, maybe slightly more did you use the name Alabaster Redzone in rewriting stories?
A: Yes.
Q: If we could go to page 155 -- marked 155 in the bottom right corner?
A: I see it.
Q: Specifically, starting with first column, halfway down?
A Okay.
Q: Did you write "Joe Guy"?
A Yes.
Q: Now, did Joe Guy appear in "The Rook," volume seven in February of 1981?
A: Yes, yes, he did.
Q: Did you file a supplemental filing with the copyright office in --
A: No, it wasn't necessary because when we were in The Cartoon Factory there was a newspaper person that had given us an interview -- perhaps you've seen it. All three of us are on the page to the local newspaper and in that article, Joe Guy, the illustration was right there and it says in the illustration, copyright Jim Stenstrum and I got -- there was a Sunday paper and I sent both copies to the copyright office and it was -- it was copyrighted 1976 or '77.
Q: Very good. Mr. Stenstrum, were you originally credited as Jim Stenstrum or James Stenstrum as the writer?
A On -- at Warren you mean?
Q: At Warren. Were you credited as Alabaster Redzone or your name, Jim Stenstrum?
A: For which story?
Q: Oh, I'm sorry. For Joe Guy that appeared in "The Rook," volume seven.
A: Oh, no. I believe it started out with Jim Stenstrum and then after the -- the miserable Harlan Ellison thing where I fled into the night with half of my belongings, I -- Bill, to be mean to me, took over the writing on -- and he rewrote one of the Joe Guy stories, I believe the last one.
I believe he's got -- even just to be particularly mean to me -- there's a scene where Joe Guy is falling from the sky. It's called "Airway Express" and he says -- it was never in my dialogue, but he said -- he had Joe saying that, "I'm falling over Minneapolis," and I don't recall what he said but something derogatory about Minneapolis, because he knew that that was my hometown. It was never in my original script.
Q: It sounds like you and Bill had a contentious relationship. Were you friends?
A: At first.
Q: Was there a time that you stopped being friends
A Yes, after the Harlan Ellison debacle. He threw me under the bus.
Q: How so, Mr. Stenstrum?
A: Do you have time or am I going to have to -- you interrupted me before when I was telling the story.
Q: I apologize if I did.
A: After I had -- in 1981, Bill was bumped up to assistant publisher or co-publisher and I was given the job as editor, he had promised me that I would have full reign, full -- complete freedom to do with the books what I wanted and he -- and so I moved there and I lived -- that is when I lived in his guesthouse. Is that the second time? I guess, for a second time, yeah. No, no, I was actually in the house during -- anyway, that's not important.
In any case, he had brought me in as editor and I quickly realized that Bill had no intention of releasing any sort of control. He asked me what I wanted to do. The first thing I wanted to do was to change the awful "1984 Magazine" which was so sleazy. It was so disgusting. And I -- Bill hit the roof.
He didn't like the -- he wanted -- in fact, he wanted more sleaze in there. He told me that he wanted a magazine that teenage boys would whack off to. And I was so absolutely disgusted by that.
He tried in every way he could to get me to put more sleaze and more porn into my comics, but I refused to do it.
And anyway, getting back, so it was 1981 and it had been what? A couple of years since – I think it had been a couple of years since "Mondo Magilla" was published and we thought we were off the hook. We hadn't heard anything about it.
But Bill, unfortunately, wanted -- when he became the co-publisher, he wanted more publicity for the books and so he contacted The Comics Journal and he told them, "Listen, you guys aren't doing anything about my books. I need some publicity." And they said, "Fine. We'll do an article about 'Vampirella' and we'll do one about the rest of the books, including '1984'."
Well, in the research -- I don't recall who did the actual article -- they -- the person that was doing the article, he discovered -- it was he that discovered the resemblance between "A Boy and His Dog" and "Mondo Magilla" and he went immediately to Harlan and he told him and Harlan hit the roof. ? I guess Harlan was looking for me and maybe through Gerry Boudreaux he determined that I was living with Budd Lewis at the time in California. He called it -- Harlan Ellison called Budd Lewis telling me that -- about the situation, that he wanted me to call him right away -- me to call Harlan Ellison and I -- so I was in New York, I was at -- I was at -- sitting at one desk, Dubay was sitting next to me, I had a typewriter and I got the call and it was Budd and he said, "Listen, Harlan Ellison wants to get a hold of you." And I said, "What? What for?" And he said, "He knows about the story. He knows about the plagiarism." And I said, "Oh, crap."
Now, here's the thing, Bill, prior to this -- you know, talk about being at war. Bill – Bill had a lot of respect for Jim Warren, but he also hated him and he particularly was resentful.
I remember the episode -- he told me that he was expecting this Christmas bonus. He was so looking for this Christmas bonus that Jim Warren was going to give him and Jim Warren -- it came Christmastime, he took him into his office and he opened up a mini fridge and he gave him some bacon and this was his Christmas bonus and Bill was incensed.
He was so angry at him and I don't know if -- I know that there are -- he -- after that he began – I presume it was just facetious, but he was telling me about plots on how he could kill Jim Warren and he said, "Well, I can take a bolt out of his chair or maybe I can put something in his food or something and" -- never seriously, I must tell you, but that is how he put it, his anger was that much.
And he had even slipped into one of the books -- I do not know what the book was, he showed it to me back in 1981. It was one of the Warren books and he specifically put in something there that he thought would antagonize Harlan Ellison because he wanted -- he knew how badly Harlan Ellison hated Jim Warren and he wanted -- he wanted Harlan Ellison to sue him.
And so the reason I mention that is because when I got the call from Budd Lewis telling me about Harlan Ellison, I turned to Bill and I said, "Well, you finally got what you wanted. We're being -- Harlan Ellison is suing us," and the color went completely out of Bill's face and he was in total shock and -- I thought -- I thought that maybe he really was trying to do this. I thought he would be saying, oh, okay. I guess -- okay.
No, but since he had gotten this assistant -- this co-publisher job, all of it sudden it wasn't convenient to him anymore. He turned around and he started tapping out a letter. A one-page document and then he gave -- he ripped it off and gave it to me and he says, "Here. Read this. Give this to -- and you are going to use this as -- to coach." He said, "I want you to call Harlan Ellison right now and I want you to tell him you've never heard of 'A Boy and His Dog' and that it was all a big mistake and you don't know what he's talking about." And he wanted me to lie and I said, "I can't do that. I cannot lie about this." I love "A Boy and His Dog." I've seen the movie. It's a -- if the movie was out at that time, I loved the story. I'm not sure when the movie came out.
In any case, I liked Harlan's work and I particularly liked that story and there was no way that I could pretend that I did not know that story. I would be seen as an imbecile.
But Bill was just -- for the next three days, the pressure was on and he kept -- he hung around, he just loomed and he would not let me near the phone unless he was there. And I remember very uncomfortable train rides back and forth to the city and to home and he -- and then he would -- at first he was trying to intimidate me and then he said, you know, "I can -- I can pull out some money for you. I can figure out some way to get -- I can give you some stories and you can move out to the Midwest and you can just hide this out and" -- this is ridiculous. This is ridiculous. He was absolutely panicked. It took three days of this nonstop pressure. They wouldn't let me have a phone in the guest -- guest room of the guesthouse so I couldn't call anybody. So when I -- I would go to work with Bill, I would come back with Bill and I was never allowed to be close to a phone for three days.
And then finally on a Thursday -- now mind you before this -- before any of this even erupted, I was going to quit. Bill and I were arguing about the books and I was just tired of his yelling. He yelled at all of the employees and yelling at me and so I planned on getting the heck out of there that week anyway. I was just waiting for my final check.
And on Thursday Bill, for whatever reason it surprised me, he decided he was not going to come in with me. He says, "You take the car in, you go ahead and do the work and I'm just going to work at home."
So I don't know -- I think what he was doing was he wanted to make some calls to, I believe, Jeff Rovin and Jim Warren and the lawyer and I think they wanted to ambush me when I got home, because I know they were there and I knew that that's exactly what he had in mind. I did not know the particulars, but I suspected an ambush when I got home.
And so as it happened, I got my last paycheck on Thursday and I -- I said, okay, great. Now I have the money to take a bus home and I went -- I took -- I gave the keys to Tim Moriarty, my assistant, and I told him the situation. I went over to Grand Central Station where I knew that the phones weren't tapped and I -- I made a call to Harlan Ellison and I told him I would be coming in in the next week or so, however long it took me to get on the bus home and -- so, but I knew that Bill would be waiting for me when I got home, so I spent all afternoon and in through most of the night watching movies.
I went to one movie after another after another because I was not going to be ambushed when I got home. And I had time to write.
By the time I got there, the place was dark and Jeff had gone home and the lawyer had gone home.
I don't think Jim Warren, himself, was there. And I knew that they were there to badger me. I knew that they were going to try to intimidate me and tell me that they really -- that you need to be on our side and lie and I was not going to lie.
And later on that night I -- I grabbed about half of my belongings out of the guesthouse and I dragged it out to the road around the trees there, I got a cab and I blew out of town and that was the end of that.
I'm finished.
Q: How did Bill throw you under the bus?
A: He kept working. He was the one that ordered this -- he was the one that was responsible for the plagiarism in the first place in that he took that script and he changed a boy to a girl and the dog to a monster, and he assigned that to me and it was -- the artwork was already there. He was already in possession of the plagiarized artwork and I was the one that had to try to fix it.
Q: Did you testify earlier that Gerry Boudreaux wrote that script?
A: He wrote the original script, yes.
Q: What did -- what did Bill plagiarized, specifically?
A: Specifically, he changed -- as I said, he took Gerry Boudreaux' script, changed it from a boy to a girl, and a dog to a monster and then had it illustrated to -- by Alex Nino.
Speaking of which, Alex Nino -- Bill had told me he had on board that he was going to help him pay his down payment if Alex Nino would come on board and lie for him. And Alex Nino was willing to do that, apparently. This was from Bill Dubay.
I'm sorry, I lost the thread of your question. Oh, how was it a plagiarism, in that he ordered that it be made.
Q: Now, did he ever publish that script, Gerry Boudreaux' script where he marked the boy and the girl and --
A: Publish it? No, no.
Q: Was that ever published?
A No, no, that script -- I don't know if it exists anymore. I do have the letter that Bill Dubay gave me telling me how to act on the phone with Harlan Ellison. I gave that to Harlan Ellison's lawyer in 1981 as part of the deposition.
Q: I'm not sure that had -- my question is: What did Bill do specifically to plagiarize -- he did not publish a plagiarized story. He's not the one that did the art.
Gerry Boudreaux, under your testimony, he went to Bill and convinced Bill that he could get permission, and under that premises Bill authorized him to write the script, found out that he could not finish the script or couldn't get permission to publish the script.
He gave it to you to rewrite and make it entirely different and you rewrote it; is that correct?
A: That's correct, Bill -- Ben.
Q: So what did Bill do -- if Bill asked you to make all the changes necessary to avoid it from being plagiarism, to completely change it and you did that, what did Bill do, specifically?
A: You know, Ben, if it had gone to trial, which it did not, I don't know that it would have come up as a -- it might have been thrown out, because there was not a line in there that was the same.
I happen to agree with you. I do not know that any court would find that necessarily to be plagiarism.
Nonetheless, Warren, as I understand it, made some sort of a payment to Harlan Ellison, so obviously he was concerned about something.
Q: Do you think it's fair to say that he was concerned about the testimony that you had given?
MR. COX: Objection; no proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: Are you talking about with Jim Warren or Bill?
BY MR. DUBAY: I'm talking about with Jim Warren. You indicated that Jim Warren had made some sort of payment to Harlan Ellison?
A: This is rumor. I -- I do not know how that case wound up.
Q: Okay. If I can ask you -- what actually took us down that line of questioning -- and that's page 155.
A: Speak up please, Bill -- Ben.
Q: 155. And that's the first column halfway down, as we discussed.
A: Okay.
Q: The question I have for you: Was Joe Guy the son of Superman?
A: That was never exactly presented, no. That was -- that was -- there was an innuendo to that effect, but I never explicitly put that down, no, I don't believe I did. It was a satire. It was a parody. It was a satire.
Q: Did Joe Guy have similar powers to Superman?
A He had a whisper of his powers. He could melt candles with his eyes. He could jump over a double-decker London style bus.
Again, it was a satire, it was a parody and for those that knew what I was doing, I'm sure they got a laugh out of it. But it was -- nobody had brought -- there was no plagiarism involved.
Page 197

Q· Was Joe Guy promoted as Superbaby?
A· Superbaby, no.
Q· Superbaby. Specifically Superbaby for Amelia on the front of a newspaper?
A· Is that -- is that one word "Superbaby”?
Q· It is.
A: I do not recall it.
Q: Okay.
A: I do not believe that Superbaby is copyrighted by DC.
Q: I understand. Did you receive permission from Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel or DC Comics to create a derivative of Superman?
A: No, you don't need permission to do a satire or a parody.
Q: Did Bill tell you to create a derivative of Superman?
A No, he had nothing to do with it.
Q: You testified earlier that you did not take credit for something that you did not entirely create. Did you entirely create Superman?
A You are exasperating, Ben. No, I did not create Superman. Again, it was a parody.
Q: I understand your point. Did you have the right to create a derivative work of Superman?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for a legal conclusion and is vague and ambiguous as to what you mean by "derivative work."
MR. DUBAY: Okay. Second column, three quarters of the way down, is it true that Bill Dubay had so much confidence in you that you would send your finished work to the artist yourself, bypassing Bill Dubay's input, supervision and/or approval?
A: Yeah, toward the end it saved a step. Bill had a lot of confidence in me and he knew it would be a usable story and rather than send it -- he's very busy. Rather than send it directly to him, I would send it directly to -- like Abel Laxamana, for instance, for the Rex Havoc stuff and -- I think that was mainly it.
I'm not sure if I sent it to other artists, because I didn't really know where they were.
Q: Okay. If we could keep this exhibit handy, if you don't mind.
MR. DUBAY: But if we could hand Mr. Stenstrum the exhibit marked N, Warren Presents No. 14, November 1981.
A: Got it.
BY MR. DUBAY: Do you recognize this magazine, Mr. Stenstrum?
A Yes, of course.
Q: Was "Raiders of the Fantastic" the title that you gave it?
A· No, Bill gave it.
Q· Did Bill change the title?
A· For this reprint, yes.
Q· Okay. Who authorized the changes of all the panels inside the reprint from "The Asskickers of the Fantastic" --
A Bill --
Q: -- to "Raiders of the Fantastic"?
A Bill Dubay. He was the editor. He was in charge of everything.
MR. DUBAY: If we could hand Mr. Stenstrum the exhibit marked O, Circular 1.
MR. COX: The exhibit is before the witness.
THE WITNESS: All right. "Copyright Basics."
MR. DUBAY: Yes. If we could go to page two under "What Are the Rights of a Copyright Owner?"
A: (Witness complies.)
Q: Are you aware that the rights to derivative works is a right of the copyright holder?
A: Derivative works are -- sure, of course.
MR. DUBAY: If we could hand Mr. Stenstrum the exhibit marked P, Circular 14.
THE WITNESS: No, let me back up here. I think you're saying something that is not true.
It says the rights of a copyright owner, they are able to prepare derivative works based upon the work.
If somebody else creates a derivative work from my property, they have no rights to it at all.
BY MR. DUBAY: In your view that would be unauthorized derivative work; correct?
A: That would be correct, yes.
Q: I appreciate you're clarifying that.
BY MR. DUBAY: Okay. If you could let me know when you have Circular 14, "Copyright in Derivative Works and Compilations"?
A: I have it.
Q: Was "Warren Presents: Rex Havoc and The Raiders of the Fantastic" a new edition of a preexisting work in which did editorial revisions or other modifications represent as a whole an original work now known as "Rex Havoc and Raiders of the Fantastic" instead of "Rex Havoc and The Asskickers of the Fantastic"?
A I'm not a --
MR. COX: Objection; compound.
THE WITNESS: I'm not a --
MR. COX: Calls for a legal conclusion.
THE WITNESS: Excuse me, I am not a copyright attorney. I couldn't tell you.
 MR. DUBAY: Thank you. If we can refer back to page number 155 of Exhibit M?
A 155, one second. I lost it. I'm getting lost here.
MR. COX: It's the one that says, "Clutch Escargot."
THE WITNESS: Oh, okay. This one?
MR. COX: It's right there.
THE WITNESS: This?
MR. COX: Yes.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
MR. COX: Look for the one that says, "Clutch Escargot."
THE WITNESS: I got it. I got it.
MR. COX: You go the it. There you go.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: Is it true that you were aware that Warren Publishing Company was printing your work for the second time with such revisions?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you file a lawsuit against Warren Publishing Company for breach of contract or copyright infringement or for any other complaint for damages?
A: I had no money to do anything like that.
No, I did not.
Q: Okay. Thank you. Were you upset that Warren Publishing Company had reprinted Rex Havoc with these changes?
A: Absolutely. That's why my pen name is in there, Alabaster Redzone, as protest.
MR. DUBAY: If we could show or give Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit Q, Rex Havoc's Gmail.
THE WITNESS: Got it.
BY MR. DUBAY: If I can draw your attention to page – to page two?
A: Page two. Okay. Okay.
Q: Did you beg Bill not to publish the reprint titled "Rex Havoc and The Raiders of the Fantastic"?
A I did.
Q: Did it bother you that Bill didn't consider your feelings?
A: Damn straight.
Q: Did it make you furious?
A: It made me furious, absolutely.
Q: Did Bill hire a letterer to make changes to the emblems on the back of the games uniforms to Raiders in every panel?
A: Yes. Although there was one panel that I -- I noticed that the letterer missed and I purposely let it go. There's a -- a small just -- you can barely see, but it does say, "Asskick." It was not the full "Raiders." Again, as a protest, I let that one go.
Q: Did you have a beef with James Warren?
A: With James Warren, no. I didn't know the guy.
Q: If we look at page three -- at the top of page three --
A: Page three at the top.
Q: -- second sentence.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: It starts with, "My beef with Jim Warren is simple."    
A: Oh, okay.
Q: And the whole question is --
A: I guess I did have a lingering beef. "I believe he's a bully who is presently gnawing on the bones of the many artists and writers who produced stories for Warren Publishing, writers and artists who do not have the means to fight him in court. That ain't right."
Sounds pretty smart to me.
Q: Thank you.
So just to confirm, you did have a beef with James Warren?
A To the extent that he was, I thought, abusing his artists and writers. I know that there was at least one artist who he decided not to pay, the fellow had died and that is why Steve Ditko left because he refused to pay Rocco -- I forget his last name.
He refused to pay him -- since he died he refused to pay him for the story. And I had also seen what Jim Warren, himself, had done with the production department at Warren by making people work late hours for no extra pay and it was -- it was an abusive system there.
Jim Warren could be very charming, but he could also be kind of a dick.
Q: Okay. How long would you say that your beef with Jim Warren was going on?
A It wasn't something I thought about everyday. I had saw what -- how he had been dealing with his employees back in '73 and I cannot say that I've had a bright spot for him since.
Q: So is it safe to say that you've had a beef with Jim Warren ever since 1973?
A: Well, you are turning this into some sort of a grudge match and it is not. I barely thought about the guy.
Q: Okay. Well, in your opinion, did Jim Warren prominently --
A: Please speak up.
Q: In your opinion did Jim Warren prominently option Rex Havoc to Dreamworks Animation?
A: I know for a fact that he did, yes.
Q: Did this upset you?
A Yes.
Q: Is it reasonable to believe that Jim Warren felt that he owned the character Rex Havoc?
A: That is possible. It is possible that he, in his interpretation of the copyright law -- which was plainly wrong -- he thought that he owned it, but I don't think he cared.
I think he looked at all of his properties. I don't think he cared whether it was copyrighted by somebody else or not. If he thought he could get away with it, he wanted to sell it.
And I believe Jeff Rovin was also involved in that -- in selling Rex Havoc because there's an interview where the two of them are slapping each other on the back and saying that there are big things coming from Warren and that they just sold an option to Rex Havoc to Dreamworks Animation.
Q: Okay. Were you aware that I had dealings with Dynamite Entertainment pertaining to Vampirella Archives? And that's on page four.
A Yes.
Q: Were you aware that I pulled the infringing material out of the marketplace --
A: Yes.
Q: -- specifically Vampirella Archives, Volume 10?
A: Yes, you told me about that.
Q: Were you aware that Dynamite Entertainment's attorney was Michael Lovitz?
A Oh, I did not know that.
Q: Are you aware of any agreement between myself and Dynamite Entertainment?
A: No, Ben.
Q: Okay. If we can hand the exhibit marked R, TX0007-179-063 to Mr. Stenstrum.
THE WITNESS: Okay. Got it.
BY MR. DUBAY: Are you familiar with this document?
A: Yes, this was the -- that was the copyright notice for Rex Havoc that my lawyer got for me.
Q: Was your lawyer, Michael Lovitz?
A: Yes, he was.
Q: Is this the corrective filing or supplementary filing for the "1984 Magazine," Issue No. 14, made under your direction?
A: He said that it was necessary to do this, so I said, "Sounds good to me." I don't know that I made any sort of particular directive because I don't know enough about copyright law to make sort of – I don't -- I don't know.
He went about -- he told me that he was going to do this and I said, "Great. Sounds good to me." I've been having trouble in this area so --
Q: If I can draw your attention to the copyright office notes.
A: Copyright office -- is that the same document?
Q: On page two of the same document.
A: Okay.
Q: The copyright office notes, "Regarding author information: Ideas not copyrightable, authority 17 USC 102(b)."
Do you know why they made this decision?
A I haven't a clue.
Q: Thank you, Mr. Warren -- excuse me, Mr. Stenstrum.
MR. DUBAY: If we can hand Mr. Stenstrum the exhibit marked S, the Gmail, "Daddy and the Pie."
THE WITNESS: Okay. Got it.
BY MR. DUBAY: Q: And this is just to -- because I did exhibit it and you indicated a moment ago that it was Jeff Rovin who orchestrated the sale of Rex Havoc to Dreamworks; is that correct?
A: That was my impression. I do not know the details.
It was Jeff and Jim Warren, they were both being interviewed and they -- I don't know which one of them told them that Rex Havoc had been optioned. I suspect that Jeff, being more Hollywood smart than Jim Warren, was probably used by Jim Warren to sell these properties that he had just recently gotten back from Harris.
Again, that's all just conjecture on my part. I have no absolute information on that.
MR. DUBAY: If we can hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit T, Gmail, "Hello."
THE WITNESS: P?
MR. COX: "T" as in "toy."
THE WITNESS: "T" as in "toy." I'm sorry, I got it. All right.
BY MR. DUBAY: I know this is a body of emails, but do you recall this string of emails?
A: Yes, that's when you first contacted me. You were wondering -- you wanted to connect with me and later on we got to talking about Bill's stories and you had some plans in mind.
You had picked out a couple of stories and you were going to -- I don't know if you were completely clear what you were going to do with them.
I felt kind of bad for you because I know that all of that stuff had just been kind of thrown in your lap so I -- I wanted to help you.
Q: Thank you. How long did you work for Warner Bros.?
A: Warner Bros., off and on, it's hard to say exactly because Hanna-Barbera was bought by Warner Bros. and then I went back to Warner Bros.
If I want a number of years, it's really off and on. I worked around the beginning of the century when Hanna-Barbera became -- Hanna-Barbera was bought by Ted Turner, Ted Turner was part of Warner Bros., and I was there for a few years and then later on I went back to Warner Bros. to work on "Freakazoid."
And then later on I came back to Warner Bros. on some Scooby movies.
Q: On page three, if I could draw your attention to that.
A Page three, uh-huh.
Q: Did you understand that Bill and Budd own "The Rook" outright?
 A Well, since I left, yes, that would make sense.
Q: To the best of your knowledge, was there a signed contract between Bill and Jim Warren to that effect?
A I don't know. I have no idea.
Q: Do you know what Bill's agreement with Jim Warren or Warren Publishing was?
A: What his agreement was?
Q: What his agreement was pertaining to "The Rook"?
A: No, I don't.
Q: Were you and Budd, as original owners, intended to be beneficiaries of this agreement that Bill had with --
MR. COX: Objection; calls for speculation. No proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: I didn't quite understand the question, Ben.
BY MR. DUBAY: Were you and Budd originally intended to be beneficiaries of an agreement between Bill and Jim Warren pertaining to "The Rook"?
MR. COX: Same objection.
THE WITNESS: We were going to be partners three ways with "The Rook," yes. Bill was going to do the first story, Budd was going to do the next story, I was going to do the third story and we could continue to leapfrog.
Why that didn't continue to leapfrog with Bill and Budd, I have no idea. It seemed to me that Budd only ended up doing three or four stories and Bill, for whatever reason, did the lion's share.
BY MR. DUBAY: Well, did Bill hold your interest and Budd's interest in trust in his dealings with Warren?
MR. COX: Objection; vague and ambiguous. Calls for a legal conclusion. No proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: There was no paperwork, Ben.
MR. DUBAY: Okay.
THE WITNESS: Not between us, not between the three of us.
BY MR. DUBAY: If I can draw your attention to page six?
A: Okay.
Q: Were you very much impressed with my tenacity and dedication and my principles and sense of fair play with dealing -- when dealing with new comic companies: Dynamite and Dark Horse?
A: You've lost me. Could you speak up a little louder, please.
Q: Absolutely. On page six --
A: On page six.
Q: -- were you -- were you very much impressed with my tenacity and dedication to my principles and sense of fair play?
A: Oh, yes, absolutely. Yeah, you were a tiger man.
Q: Thank you. Was "The Goblin" produced at The Cartoon Factory that you were a partner of?
A: No, that appeared much later. Bill had told me about it in passing that he had this new character and he told me about how it would suddenly appear when he lifted up his hand, but I had nothing to do with it.
Bill had -- that was strictly Bill's property. I don't know what sort of arrangement he had with Jim Warren. But as far as creation, I know that he wrote it. He wrote, I guess, all of "The Goblin" stories and Lee Elias, I think drew it. I don't know if there was any arrangement between him and Lee Elias.
Q: If I could bring your attention to page seven?
A Page seven, got it.
Q: The very top seems to be a prior inconsistent statement to the one you just made.
It says, "I do not" -- or, "I do not know what Bill" -- you know what? I think I read that wrong -- "what deal Bill had with 'The Goblin'." Do you know if there was a contract on "The Goblin"?
A: No, I have no idea.
Q: Also, on page seven, did James Warren steal Rex Havoc?
A In my opinion, yes.
Q: I'm going to draw your attention to page seven through nine?
A: Through nine, okay.
Q: In your opinion, do you think that Jim Warren would have qualms about lying on the stand?
A: Do I think he would have qualms about lying on stand?
Q: Correct.
A I do not know the man. I have no idea what he would do. I wouldn't put it past him, but I can't say one way or the other whether he would or not.
Q: I'm going to draw your attention to page nine, the email dated Friday, February seventh, 2014 at 9:12 p.m. in the top paragraph?
 A: I did say that. Well, there you have my estimation of Jim Warren.
Q: I'll restate my question only because there's a follow-up question and I wanted to make sure I got you right.
Do you think that Jim Warren would have qualms about lying on the witness stand?
MR. COX: Objection; calls for speculation. Improper opinion.
THE WITNESS: It says here specifically, "And Jim Warren, in my humble opinion, will have no qualms about lying on the witness stand." That is my opinion and I'm entitled to it.
BY MR. DUBAY: I asked you why. Why do you feel that way?
A Why do I feel that he would lie, is that your question?
Q: Yes, it is.
A: My impression from Bill Dubay was that he was less than honorable. One of the tenets -- one of the things -- the truisms I remember him saying -- and he had many stories about Jim Warren and he -- there was a truism that Bill told me. He said, "Listen, Jim Warren will never give you your final check. If you give your notice, you are not going to see your final check."
And that is why I did not give notice that final week because I needed that money to get on a bus to get to California and Bill has always made it clear to me that Jim Warren is not an honorable man.
Q: Thank you.
If I can draw your attention back to Exhibit M and we're still on page 155, which is the bottom right corner of page 155.
            Okay. I'm sorry, what page?
           Page 155 --
            155, I have it.
           -- of Exhibit M.
            I have it.
           And were you an editor for one month, at the very bottom of the second --
A· Yeah, that's about -- that's about how long I was, yeah.
Q· Okay.
MR. DUBAY: If we could hand Exhibit U to Mr. Stenstrum titled "Warren Presents," No. 14 Catalog.
A· Exhibit what?
MR. COX: Exhibit U.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: And there's only one question I have here. It pertains to the date that "Raiders of the Fantastic" was published.
A· Uh-huh.
 Q: Is it true that it was published on August 25th, 1981?
A: You would know better than I. I don't know. That sounds -- that sounds about right. That was shortly after the release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Or wait a minute. In 1982?
Q: '81?
A: Because it took time for it -- I saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in '81, so it would have taken time for it to be published. What is the publication date on that? November 1981? Wow, he would have really had to knock that out fast. I guess he did.
I was still -- yeah, I was still -- no, I had left by the end of July. I wasn't there.
Q: The end of July is when you quit; is that correct?
A: Yes.
Q: Okay. And the date of publication --
A It says --
Q: -- August 25th, 1981?
 A I don't know when it was. I can only read it. It says, "November 1981," but the dates are always ahead. August -- that would seem too soon to me.
 Q: If you look eight lines down on this exhibit --
A: Eight lines.
Q: -- for registration, but under that you have "Date of Creation" and the "Date of Publication."
A: Date of creation?
Q: Which is 1981 and then "Date of Publication."
A Oh, do you -- this is -- this is something entirely different, Ben. These were -- these were just a few pages that I added that were never published before that -- see, Bill hated Rex Havoc.
He hated it with a passion and he always wanted to cancel it.
And finally, he said, "I want you to cancel it and I want you to kill off Rex Havoc." Well, I wouldn't do -- I wouldn't kill him off, but I said, "Okay. Look, I will do an epilogue," which is just a couple of pages, "and we'll have Abel Laxamana do it and then you can put it at the end of the final story."
Well, he didn't use it then, I don't believe, and he saved that instead for the – the reprint issue. And that's when I believe it was published for the first time, but those couple of pages had nothing to do with the other four stories.
Q: If I can draw your attention back to Exhibit N, and that's the "Warren Presents," No. 14, November 1981 --
A: Uh-huh.
Q: -- cover and page five?
A: Yes.
Q: Mr. Stenstrum, what sort of lead time would be necessary on one of these magazines? If it were dated November '81, when would it have been published?
A It would have been published -- let's see, the newsstand date, if that's November 1981, then I believe you would go back -- it was probably -- probably early September.
 Q: Early September probably.
Q: Is it possible that it was August 25th, 1981?    
A: It is possible, yes.
Q: Okay. And just to reiterate, you quit at the end of July of 1981?
A: That's correct.
Q: Okay. Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: If we could hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit "V" as in "Victor," "The Rook," No. 11, October 1981, cover, title page.
MR. COX: The witness has Exhibit V.
MR. DUBAY: Thank you. Are you familiar with this issue?
A Yes, this is the one that was -- it was -- oh, I guess I did do some editing on this. I remember this. I thought it was "Creepy" and "Eerie." But, no, it was -- was it "Eerie"? I guess it was "The Rook." I don't know. I do remember this -- did I actually do any editing on this? I don't know. But I did rewrite "Uncle Zorro" for Bill. He had sent out a synopsis for "Uncle Zorro." He wanted -- there was -- perhaps, you know who he is.
It was somebody in his life that apparently was fairly wealthy and he had hoped that by writing the story "Uncle Zorro" that his uncle would think kindly on him in his will. And so Bill had written the story and I believe the artwork already existed, so the artwork was done from a synopsis and then I -- Bill said, "I don't have time for this. You know, you go ahead and do that." And I -- you know, I must have -- I must have had something to do with the editing in this because I did not get paid for this "Uncle Zorro" story.
I got paid for editing the issue. I got $1,000 for, I guess, this one and there was another book. I'm not sure if it was "Eerie" or "Creepy." Maybe it was -- I don't remember. I don't remember.
There was -- there was a second book. I ended up with $2,000.
Q: So you did perform editorial duties on this magazine?
A: I'm -- I'm guessing, yes, I probably did.
Q: Thank you. Who does the title page credit as "The Rook" creators?
A· The title page -- I'm sorry.
Q· The second page on the exhibit.
A Are you talking about the indicia?
Q· The indicia. Well, it says "The Rook" created by?
A: Oh, yeah, it says "The Rook" created by Bill Dubay and Budd Lewis. Sure. That makes total sense.
Q: Was this -- sorry about that. Was this issue published by Warren Publishing Company?
A: Yes.
Q: Was this issue produced at The Cartoon Factory?
A: I believe it was. That's where I was doing my editing on the two books. We had all of Bill's tools, his drawing board and we could do a lot of work there -- a lot of art production work.
Q: So to be clear, in October of the 1981 or at the time that this issue was produced, it was being produced at The Cartoon Factory by you and Bill; is that right?
A: By me with assistance -- by Bill with my helping him, yes.
Q: Is The Cartoon Factory located in Connecticut?
A: Yes.
Q: To your knowledge, were any other comic magazines produced at The Cartoon Factory and published by Warren Publishing Company?
A: Well, I imagine he did work for "Creepy" and "Eerie" and "Vampirella." I don't know if that -- if it was "Famous Monsters." I think Bill Maholley did all of that in the city. But, sure, Bill did a lot of the production work out in The Cartoon Factory out in the guesthouse there.
Q: Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: If we could hand Mr. Stenstrum the Exhibit W, "The Rook," No. 11, Public Catalog Copyright Data.
THE WITNESS: Got it.
MR. DUBAY: I appreciate you being a champ and a trooper. We're almost done.
BY MR. DUBAY: In this document I am looking for one -- was "The Rook," No. 11 published July 21st, 1981?
A: July 21st, 1981, I see it.
MR. COX: Objection; foundation.
BY MR. DUBAY: You are an editor of "The Rook," No. 11 as you previously testified. Would you know what date it was published?
A No, no. Ben, I wasn't around there that long.
Q: I understand. The date on the October -- excuse me, the date of "The Rook," No. 11, is that October of 1981 and that's on Exhibit V?
A: Number 11 it says October '81 – created 1981. Okay. That makes sense.
Q: So when would that have been -- so when would that have been produced if it was -- had a publication date of October of '81?
A It would have been produced -- oh, gee, I don't know. I can only tell you -- hang on for a second.
Q: Just to remind you you testified --
A: Just a minute, Ben.
Q: Of course.
A: I was an editor officially for one month, but I probably worked for them a month, possibly two before that in a -- in a different capacity. I was sort of helping them out because Bill was trying very hard to edge out Chris Adams. It's been 40 years. He was trying -- he wanted Chris Adams, the editor, to be gone and that was the reason he brought me in, but he couldn't do it immediately.
He had -- he wanted to keep Chris around so that he would -- there wouldn't be a big disruptionin the books and so it seems I was out in New York longer than I thought.
But as the actual editor getting a paycheck, I was -- it was $16,000 a year and I think I only got two paychecks. I just remember that officially being editor, I was there for only a month.
But I seem to remember having been there beforehand because Bill was trying to figure some way of getting rid of Chris Adams. And so my apologies, I was there longer than I thought I was.
Q: So if "The Rook," No. 11 had a cover date of October of 1981, is it possible that it was published or hit the newsstands in July -- the end of July, such as July 21st, 1981?
A: Yeah, yeah, because I was working in Bill's guesthouse and -- oh, that's why that makes sense.
So, I wasn't working on a -- I wasn't working on salary. Bill had given me these two books so that I would have money to stay in New York and he says you can have -- you'll get $1,000 each if you do these books. So I wasn't on salary, but it would give me enough money to -- to stay around and so I did these books before I became editor.
Q: Okay. Mr. Stenstrum, if you can look at page 156, please --
A: 156?
Q: -- of Exhibit M.
A Okay.
Q: Did Bill hire you take over editorial duties of certain titles of Warren Publishing Company?
A Yes.
Q: In that month that you testified that you were editor --
 A Yes.
Q: -- were you having problems with Bill --
A: Yes.
Q: -- over his reluctance to release control of the books?
A Yes, very much so.
Q: Did you quickly become frustrated with the situation?
A: Yes.
Q: And were planning -- were you planning to quit as a result?
A: Yes.
Q: Did you tell anybody?
A: No, I wouldn't see my last paycheck if I told anybody.
Q: Thank you. Did Budd Lewis tell you that Harlan Ellison was suing the company?
A Yes, he did. Well, no, no, I don't know that Harlan Ellison -- he only said that Harlan Ellison wanted to talk to me about the situation and it was from Harlan himself when I talked to him in August that he seemed quite determined to take legal action because he had his lawyer in there to – to take my deposition.
Q: So prior to your conversation with Harlan Ellison, he had not threatened to sue the company. Is that what I understand?
A: I am not aware of it. I am certain that it was boiling up in his brain, but I'm not aware of any specific intention to sue.
Q: Until you spoke with him in Southern California?
A: Well, I knew that there was -- I knew we were in trouble and that's why -- and I should revise that.
It is possible that Budd did say something about a lawsuit. I knew we were in a lot of trouble and Bill knew that we were in a lot of trouble and that's why he -- he wanted to avoid a lawsuit. I don't know that anything had been talked about up to that point, but he was very scared.
Q: Thank you. In 1977, did Bill Dubay approach you and Gerry Boudreaux about adapting some stories?
A: For, yes, "1984 Magazine." It wasn't called "1984." It didn't have a title then. He said there's a science fiction magazine that he wanted to put together and he finally – we had been talking about that for a long time. We had all -- Bill and I had been talking about putting together a science fiction magazine over at Warren for a long time. We had horror, we had war, but we didn't have science fiction and Jim Warren apparently was reticent. He didn't want to do it. He didn't think that was going to be a seller but Bill did manage to finally talk him into it.
Q: Okay.
A And then he got a hold of me and he got a hold of Gerry Boudreaux and I don't know who else he got a hold of.
Q: Do you know why Gerry Boudreaux chose Harlan Ellison's story "A Boy and His Dog" to adapt?
MR. COX: Objection; foundation.
THE WITNESS: As I understood it -- no, I -- you know, I can't say. It would be conjecture on my part.
I know that he was friendly with Harlan and there was a time that Gerry Boudreaux stayed at Harlan Ellison's house for a few weeks while he was -- I think maybe after he first moved to California.
I do not know the chronological order of -- I know that Gerry Boudreaux knew Harlan Ellison and he promised Bill that he could get the rights to it and Bill became -- I think understandably upset when he was not able to and yet he had been paid for the story. He should have paid Bill back for not -- since he couldn't get the rights, but he did not do that.
BY MR. DUBAY: Q: Do you know by the time Harlan Ellison rejected authority to adapt the story, was the script already sent to Alex Nino?
A The script was sent to Alex Nino when?
Q: Do you know if it was before or after Harlan Ellison rejected Gerry Boudreaux' position?
A: I believe it was after, yeah. As I understand the chronology, Gerry agreed to do an adaptation of "A Boy and His Dog" and Bill said fine and Gerry had promised him that he could get the rights and so Bill was fine with that. And then I guess he went to Harlan Ellison and Ellison had a shit fit and he had put in emergency calls to Bill at his house and told him, "Don't you dare publish this."
And then he put that -- as I understand, he just threw that into the slush pile and that's – I had heard about that from Bill and he was -- I just remember him being very angry with Gerry Boudreaux because he had told him he could get the rights and he didn't get it.
With me it was different because, even though he didn't get the rights, I told him ahead of time, "Listen, if you do not get the rights, you still got to pay me," and he agreed, so there was no fuss between us as far as that goes.
And that script -- Gerry Boudreaux' script went into the slush pile and it probably stayed there for a little while. And again, it was -- it was the whole problem of Alex Nino drawing so fast and going through scripts so fast that he just ran out of scripts and it was out of sheer desperation that he gave Alex Nino the script that he thought he could change later so that it would not appear to be a plagiarism.
Q: When the art was received from Alex Nino, did you agree to rewrite the story?

A: After some pressuring from Bill, yes.
Q: Did you rewrite the story?
A: Yes, I did.
MR. COX: Objection; asked and answered.
BY MR. DUBAY: Did you figure that if anyone could change the thing out of something that nobody would recognize, you could probably do it?
A: I believe that was my statement in an interview or something. That sounds familiar, yes.
Q: Is this why you agreed to rewrite the story?
A: That and to help Bill because Bill was stuck now with some 12 pages of very expensive Alex Nino artwork.
Q: Was Bill's direction intended to be plagiarism?
MR. COX: Objection; no proper foundation.
THE WITNESS: No, we wanted to -- again, we wanted nothing to do with plagiarism. We were trying everything we could to avoid having that sort of a problem.
MR. DUBAY: I understand.
BY MR. DUBAY: Earlier you testified that the editorial responsibilities for the "1984 Magazine," Volume No. 4, you testified that an editor may rewrite the script. You testified that an editor may rearrange the panels. You testified that an editor may cut the panels to what would become the express version. Did you do these things on "Mondo Magilla"?
A: Yes, I believe I said that.
Q: You did all of these things?
A: Of course.
Q: And you were assistant editor for "1984 Magazine," No. 4?
A No, I was freelance at the time. I was in Minneapolis.
Q: Mr. Stenstrum, you testified earlier that you were assistant editor for Volume No. 4 of "1984 Magazine"?
A: And I believe I said that that was just a title that Bill gave me. There was no money involved. There was no -- he was being grateful and -- for my help, but I had no -- I was making no money doing that. I was not in a real position. He just put that in there because he thought that I would appreciate it.
Q: You testified just a moment ago that you performed editorial responsibilities, such as rewriting or cutting the panels or rearranging the panels. So you performed editorial responsibilities on the story; correct?
A Yes, I had to. I had to do everything I could to hide that damn story.
Q: So you acted as both writer and editor of that story; is that correct?
A: No, I acted as a rewriter that did a hell of a lot of rewriting and I told Bill what I was doing. I got permission from him ahead of time because I didn't want to cut up the artwork without his permission.
And then all of that was sent out to Dubay who edited -- you know, I don't think he would have made much in the way of the changes -- but the final editing was him.
Q: Did Bill Dubay ever make any changes to your scripts?
A: He made a couple of -- maybe a word or two early on when I was first starting out and then after that he knew I would raise holy hell every time he made a change and I wouldn't let him and I -- actually, I felt a little spoiled because he – I pretty much got to do whatever I wanted to do and I enjoyed the work. The money was horrible, but I enjoyed the work and Bill pretty much left me alone.
Q: So Bill would have left you alone if you were rewriting the story and arranging the panels to create a new expression that would not be plagiarism?
MR. COX: Objection; compound. No proper foundation. Calls for speculation.
THE WITNESS: He would have appreciated anything I did to make it no longer look like the Harlan Ellison story.
BY MR. DUBAY: Who was it that was trying to save that damn story?
A: I was the one that was trying to change that damn story so that there would be no legal ramifications later on.
Q: Well, who caused the work to be discovered?
A: I believe I mentioned earlier about The Comics Journal writer that Dubay had asked to make articles about his magazines and it was the writer who discovered it, the writer of that article.
Q: But Bill wasn't trying to hide it by looking for exposure to that magazine, was he?
A: No, he was shocked. He realized he had made a huge mistake. He had just -- it was like he opened up a vault accidentally and a skeleton fell out. He -- that was not his intention.
He was looking for publicity for the books. He was not looking -- the last thing he wanted was any sort of a lawsuit.
Q: I understand. Who was it that didn't disguise the story quite enough?
A: I didn't disguise the story quite enough.
Q: Do you feel that you could have made the creatures moot or any other changes to make the story less recognizable?
A: Yes. Again, I believe I said that – that I could have made the character not speak and perhaps that would have been a better way of hiding it, but these two characters were together for 12 pages and needed some sort of dialogue between them because at several panels they are obviously looking at each other and speaking to each other and I had no way of avoiding it. I didn't make him telepathic as he is in the Harlan Ellison story. I made him speak with his lips.
Q: Who chose what changes to make?
A: I chose.
Q: Now, did the Harlan Ellison lawsuit have anything to do with your quitting?
A: No, I'm sorry, it feels I'm repeating myself constantly here.
Q: You testified earlier --
A: I said earlier that I had planned to leave anyway and that the whole Harlan Ellison thing happened around the same time. It had nothing to do with it. I would have been out the door that same -- well, I thought was going to be Friday, but Thursday I got my check and that's when I bolted.
Q: I apologize for the redundancy. Earlier you testified on two separate occasions that you quit because of the Harlan Ellison lawsuit. Perhaps you clarified that later.
MR. COX: I think -- I think, Ben, he talked about that the fact that the Harlan Ellison lawsuit arose, led to a rupture in his relationship with Bill Dubay. I don't think that he specifically said that it lead to him quitting.
THE WITNESS: Absolutely not.
MR. COX: I think you might be confusing those things.
MR. DUBAY: And it's very possible. I just wanted to bring that for clarification. It wasn't my intention to be redundant. My notes indicate some things and now you are stating another -- but that's completely fine. I just wanted to make that clear for the record.
BY MR. DUBAY: Now, did contact Harlan Ellison by phone before or after you quit?
A: After. Bill would not let me near the phone and I was not going to use a Warren phone. Rumor was that the Warren phones were bugged and I was not going to call from there. So when I got my last check, I went to the bank, I cashed it and I went over to Grand Central Station, I went to a pay phone and I called Harlan then.
It was about three or four days after his initial getting a hold of Budd Lewis, who then contacted me right away.
Q: You mentioned earlier that you learned that Harlan Ellison was trying to reach you while you were sitting next to Bill?
A: That is correct.
Q: But were you in the Warren offices at the time?
A I was in the Warren offices and he had sent -- Harlan Ellison did not know where I was. For whatever reason, he did not contact me directly. I think that he was suspicious of any sort of calls going to Warren directly. I don't think he wanted to talk on a Warren line, so he sent the message through Budd Lewis.
Q: Were there any pay phones in the building, around the building that you could have walked to?
A: Believe me, I was looking for them. I didn't find them and Bill was hovering over me the whole time, so I literally could not get to a phone.
Q: How did you get to the office every day?
A: Bill and I drove together. Then we got onto the train together.
Q: Did you get off at Grand Central Station?
A: You know, I'm not sure. That's it – I don't quite remember if we got off already or -- probably there was -- it could be -- it was probably Grand Central Station. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember that, yeah, yeah, because I remember the signs with trains and so on like that, yeah.
Q: Were there telephones at Grand Central Station?
A: There's plenty. I told you I eventually used one.
Q: Could you have called Harlan Ellison at any time prior to the date that you phoned him after quitting?
A: Could I have called Harlan Ellison after I quit?
Q: Did you -- prior to quitting could you have phoned Harlan Ellison?
A: No, because Bill would not leave me alone. He was never out of my sight. He was waiting for me to call Harlan Ellison. He wanted to eavesdrop on our conversation.
Q: And then you gave a deposition to Harlan Ellison's attorney a week after having quit; correct?
A That's correct, I -- I stayed in New York for a couple of days. I was talking to Neal Adams who was a great guy. I was really in the depths of depression and he was a nice guy. I went up to his office. He said, "Listen, you know, come back tomorrow." And I said, "Well, jeez, I was going to head back to California." He said, "Oh, no."
So I stayed at Holiday Inn for a day and then I came back and Neal and I had a nice conversation and he was really nice and he just sort of the settled me down. And then I got onto a bus with whatever belongings I was able to get on -- carried by myself at the guesthouse. I left about half of them behind. And I took a bus to California. It took, I believe, 54 hours. Not a lot of fun, but it was all I could afford.
Q: So you didn't contact Harlan Ellison from October of 1978 to July of 1981 until after you had quit from Warren Publishing Company; is that correct?
A That's correct.
Q: Now, did you write the plagiarized story of the freelance writer or was that as a systematic --
A: Freelance.
Q: Now, were you at least complicit in the plagiarism?
MR. COX: Object --
THE WITNESS: If you call it plagiarism, yes, I was complicit.
BY MR. DUBAY: Did Harlan Ellison file a lawsuit against you?
A: I believe I was named, not only me, but Alabaster Redzone and I believe Bill Dubay and Jim Warren.
Q: When you say you believe, did you have --
A: I was told that -- I was told that by Harlan's attorney. I never saw the papers.
Q: Okay.
A: I was never subpoenaed. I was never given any papers.
Q: The only reason I ask is I could not find anything between Harlan and Bill, that's why I ask, so you heard that from Harlan's attorney. Do you recall who Harlan's attorney was?
A: You know, I was trying to think. It was either Donaldson or Phillipson. I do not know his name. That you'd have to ask Harlan himself.
Q: Would a successful plagiarism claim by Harlan Ellison have been a good thing for an aspiring writer or a bad thing?
A Oh, hell, no, I don't think see how plagiarism could help any writer.
Q: Were your motivations to contact Harlan Ellison to settle your beef with Jim Warren?
A: No, it had -- the fact to do with Harlan Ellison was a -- he was tenacious and he had – when he didn't get any call from me after a couple of days, Budd Lewis called me again at the office and said, "Harlan Ellison is wondering why you are not calling him." And I said, "I can't get to a damn phone. Bill is hovering over me one hundred percent of the time. He wants to eavesdrop on the conversation."
So I was not able to -- but in answer to your question, no, it had no particular beef with Jim Warren or Bill Dubay. It had to do with just coming out and being truthful about it and not lying like they wanted me to do.
MR. COX: Let me interject. Ben, how much long do you think you've got here?
MR. DUBAY: Not very much longer.
MR. COX: Okay.
MR. DUBAY: Not very much longer at all.
MR. COX: Okay. Good. Let's go then. Let's power through.
MR. DUBAY: Take a look at page 189.
MR. COX: Of what exhibit?
MR. DUBAY: Of Exhibit M. I appreciate your patience, Jim.
THE WITNESS: 189. Okay. Uh-huh.
BY MR. DUBAY: The second column, three quarters of the way down.
A: Uh-huh.
Q: Earlier Jim Warren attributed responsibility for everything coming out of Warren Publishing Company, specifically "1984 Magazine."
MR. COX: Would you hold for a second. I hasn't found it. Page 189 and where are you here?
MR. DUBAY: It's the second column, three quarters of the way down. You know, let's just say the final four statements that start with "Jon."
THE WITNESS: Okay. What about it?
BY MR. DUBAY: What I'm asking is: Who was responsible for everything coming out of Warren pertaining to "1984 Magazine"?
MR. COX: Well, objection; no proper foundation. Calls for speculation.
MR. DUBAY: He was an assistant editor so --
MR. COX: That will be your argument. I understand.
MR. DUBAY: Okay. You can answer the question.
BY MR. DUBAY: Who was responsible for everything coming out of Warren Publishing Company?
A: Obviously the boss is. The boss is responsible in any company.
Q: Who is Bill Dubay's boss?
A: Jim Warren.
Q: Was everything that was produced at Warren Publishing, did it have Jim Warren's stamp of approval?
A No. I imagine there were some stories – I know there were some stories that Jim Warren didn't like. He didn't like my story of the super abnormal phenomenon survival kit because he thought that it made fun of Captain & Company.
Q: Are you aware of any agreement that I have with New Comic Company?
A: No, you never told me.
Q: Are you aware that New -- exactly. Okay. Are you aware that New Comic Company has reprinted several of your stories that originally appeared in "Creepy" and "Eerie" magazines?
A: Oh, sure.
Q: Who claims the copyright for those works?
A: Well, I still do. I am not going to chase them down for every little comic book story. That's not worth the money chasing them down. If it turns into something worth it, then perhaps I will find out for myself. I am not a hundred percent, again, certain about copyright law myself, so the last thing I'm going to do is to throw thousands of dollars at a lawsuit for which I'm not completely positive myself.
Q: Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: If we can hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit X titled "NCC Gmail."
THE WITNESS: I have it.
BY MR. DUBAY: Is it true that it's your opinion that I am a legal -- I'm like a legal archaeologist?
A: That I called you a legal archaeologist?
Q: Correct.
A: That sounds like something I would say, sure.
Q: Is that a "yes"?
A I -- I can't say for certain, but that sounds like something I would say, yes.
Q: Would you like an opportunity to review the document?
MR. COX: If he did, he did in the document.
THE WITNESS: Is it in here?
MR. COX: No, he's talking about this document.
THE WITNESS: Oh, I'm sorry, I'm looking at the wrong thing. I'm sorry, I'm looking at the wrong thing.
MR. DUBAY: That's okay.
THE WITNESS: Where is it?
MR. DUBAY: On page three.
THE WITNESS: Page three?
MR. COX: Three.
THE WITNESS: I'm sorry, there is no three.
I've got two pages.
MR. COX: Okay. Then I'll give you the one that has page three on it.
THE WITNESS: Okay. On page three. What am I looking at here?
MR. COX: Where you call him a legal archaeologist.
THE WITNESS: Oh, there we are. Yeah, you're like a legal archaeologist. Sure, yeah, I said it.
MR. DUBAY: Thank you.
Can you hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit Y, "Warren Communications Corp Bankruptcy Transcript."
THE WITNESS: Got it.
BY MR. DUBAY: Have you ever seen these transcripts before, Mr. Stenstrum?
A: Did you send these to me? They look vaguely familiar. Or perhaps I found it on some sort of a comic book site.
Maybe Bill, himself, sent them to me. I don't recall. They do look familiar.
Q: Do you recall what the total claim for the bankruptcy claim was? The total claim or total outstanding balance of the claim?
A: Are you talking a dollar amount?
Q: A dollar amount. Just because you indicated you were familiar with them or you had seen them or --
A It looks familiar. I do not recall any of the details.
Q: Okay. Thank you.
MR. DUBAY: If we can hand Mr. Stenstrum Exhibit Z, Gmail, Warner Bros.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: Do you recall this chain of emails?
A: Let's see, oh, yeah, yeah. Hey, this – I had some good ideas. You didn't use any of them, but I got some good ideas in there.
MR. COX: Is there a question?
THE WITNESS: Yeah, what -- what is the point, Ben?
MR. DUBAY: There's a question to follow that. I just wanted to make sure you were familiar with them before I begin my questioning.
THE WITNESS: All right.
BY MR. DUBAY: Have you worked for Warner Bros. in the past three years?
A: Have I worked for Warner Bros. in the past three years? Yes.
Q: Is New Line Cinema a division of Warner Bros.?
A: Is it now, I don't know. I don't know.
Q: Did I express my opinion to you that Stephen King had also ripped off Al Hewetson's "It"?
A: I vaguely remember that. Honestly I didn't pay much attention.
Q: Isn't it true that "It" holds the greatest box office receipts for New Line Cinema under the Warner Bros. umbrella?
A: I would have to look at my Hollywood Reporter to find that out.
Q: Isn't it true that "It" is the seventh highest box office receipts in Warner Bros. history?
A: If you say so. I don't know.
Q: Isn't it true that Warner Bros. is releasing a sequel to "It" in 2019?
A: That I believe is true.
Q: Are you or have you been involved in this project at all?
A: "It"?
Q: "It"; correct?
A No. No, sir. No.
Q: Thank you. When you found out about this lawsuit, did it seriously piss you off?
A: Lawsuit?
MR. COX: Which lawsuit are you referring to?
Q: This lawsuit that I'm referring to is Dubay versus King, et al.
A: Oh, the one that you filed against Stephen King?
Q: That is correct.
A: No, it didn't piss me off. I just thought it was insane.
Q: I would like to draw your attention to Exhibit No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 produced by defense counsel. These are my final questions. Mr. Stenstrum, you testified earlier that you did not discuss any specific time travel title. Did you ever discuss -- Savage with Bill or Budd?
A No, no.
Q Did you ever discuss any other titles that you exhibited here today with Bill or Budd?
MR. COX: Look at Exhibit No. 1 and then you can talk about it.
THE WITNESS: No, I don't think so. That doesn't ring a bell. No, I don't believe so.
MR. DUBAY: Okay.
BY MR. DUBAY: You testified earlier that you did not have any of these time travel exhibits in your possession at the time you participated in designing the captions for "The Rook."
Did you have anything with Doc Savage in concept for "The Rook"?
A No, and my reference was simply my memory. My dim, dim memory. I remembered very well what Rod Taylor wore and I remembered that hat from an old TV show. I certainly remembered Paladin.
Beyond that -- again, we didn't have Google back then, so it was strongly from my memory.
Q Okay.
MR. DUBAY: Then I move to strike exhibits one, two through four and all testimony related to the exhibits because the witness testified that he never discussed any of these time travel works or Doc Savage, but still Bill Dubay and Budd Lewis. Nor did he have any of these works in his possession at the time that he participated in designing the Rook's costume.
MR. COX: Your motion to strike is --
MR. DUBAY: That will complete my motion to strike.
MR. COX: Okay. Your motion to strike is noted.
MR. DUBAY: Thank you. That will complete my examination for today.
MR. COX: All right. I have no questions. Let's agree that the original of this deposition will be forwarded to the witness at his residence address as given at the start of this deposition; that he will have 30 days within which to review it and make any corrections that he deems necessary; and that if he does make any corrections, he will notify -- he will send them to me and I will undertake to notify you promptly upon receiving notice of any corrections.
I further propose that we stipulate that a certified copy of the original may be used with the full force and effect of an original from and after 30 days if we do not have the original available.
MR. DUBAY: Can you restate that, Vince?
MR. COX: Sure.
MR. DUBAY: I just want to follow-up.
MR. COX: Sure. The idea is that the transcript is going to go to Mr. Stenstrum. He's going to have 30 days to review it and make any changes. He's going to notify he of any changes, but as sometimes happens witnesses don't actually notify you of any changes and sometimes they don't even return the certified copy to you -- or the original to you and so what you do then is you don't throw away the deposition, you use the certified copy with the full force and effect of the original. That's the procedure that's followed if witnesses don't send you their -- their original. For example, I haven't received --
MR. DUBAY: That's the typical process -- that's the typical process, I stipulate to that.
MR. COX: Great. Thank you. It is. All right then. We can close the record. Thank you very much, Ben. Thank you, Mr. Stenstrum.


Comments

Ben DuBay said…
For the record, I have no idea how you were able to obtain these transcripts.

Thank you for the kind words though. Ben DuBay

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