We were lucky to be received at Continuity Studios by Mr. Neal Adams for an interview. He donated us his time and he spent two hours to tell us stories; because, as he told us, he loves to tell stories, to write stories, to draw stories…
What is your studio actually producing?
We are producing animatics for advertising, we do some storyboard, I the X-Men Marvel animatic, it’s like the featuring film, we did the animated storyboard for Amazon.com for Zombies and Gladiators. We sort like of little scattered but they’re still people doing aromatics still people doing animation we have this monkey character that we’re doing for Dan & Yogurt, that we do you know three or four animations at year so I have regular advertising clients they’re not as regular as they used to be but I have some people that are faithful to the studio. And we also do very good job…
I’ve seen in the recent past that in advertising it seems that comic book style its’ working well…
Well I’m doing two ads now in this way and there are no harder than doing a comic book page $10,000 each. Like doing ten pages or twenty pages. So the advertising still pays better than the regular stuff.
And probably for them this is still cheap.
But not only that, they get to work with an icon, they get to work with Neal Adams. Not bad,
I just wanted to make you a few more questions on more two passions you still have. One is your hard work for creators rights.
I won. They argued, they fought with me. I won. That’s it. Done. I win. Sorry, you were wrong I was right. You know why I am right? Because I do my homework.
They are arguing with me about the return original art like… like: “we bought it”…
…the right to publish it…
Yes, the right to publish. If you buy the artwork you put up on the wall. But then you can’t publish it. And if you put it up you pay sales tax. Did you pay any sales tax? No? So… you’re holding it illegally. That’s not good.
What did you say once: how many characters do you know that were created by publishers?
So that whole argument, that whole debate, that whole thing was really for the whole field because they spend this problems with illustrators… I mean publishers would keep Norman Rockwell paintings. Norman Rockwell? Really? Line their walls with Norman Rockwell paintings? They don’t own them. It’s stupid.
And because Norman Rockwell or his heirs were so nice and stupid they let it happen and yet the future and this really comes relative to the future if you realize that in time these things will become popular people will buy them and sell them it doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s idiotic and that’s what they were doing: giving them away. Do you mind if I put this on the wall, do you Norman? Oh, no ho ahead. Excuse me? Stop this conversation. Rewind. You don’t mind if I put this on the wall? Yes I do. It belongs to me. That’s the conversation that should take place. Well, it takes me long time to teach artist to have that conversation but it’s ridiculous that they didn’t in the past but you do need to teach artists to stand up for themselves and to say the things that they have to say and unfortunately they didn’t so I thought them.
I will talk to publisher… like we are to get royalties. Why should you get royalties. You do you comic books, we sell your comic books. They are not like books. You call them comic books. I mean, maybe you do it in wrong, but you call them comic books so they are books. No they are periodicals. Well they are books that came out periodically but you know are you saying they are magazines? Yes they are magazines. No they are not because 2/3 or more of any magazine is supported by the advertising. You’re selling the books based on the work of the artist of the writer.
That’s good; I like so what.
I’ll tell you what, why don’t we do in this way… Instead of like attacking you for doing everything wrong… we’ll forget that… what if an artist and a writer work to collaborate on a comic book and let’s just say it sold more than you expected to sell. What you mean? Well, how many comic books would you expect to sell of a given title? Oh, differs. Noo, just pick a number, any number.
Start with 100.000. Is that good? Oh, yes, that will be good.
70.000? Well, you know, something around there. So anything that is above that is gravy. Yes, we’ll make a profit. Well, is there a number you will be happy with. You know, like 100.000; what about 150.000? So let’s just say you’re happy at 150.000. Let’s just say an artist and a writer worked very hard to do a project and it sells 500,000 copies. Do they deserve a little piece of it?
What if they sell a million copies? Do they deserve a little piece of it? Oh, well I suppose… But they are not gonna do that. Anything above that they deserve a little piece of it.
Does that make sense to you? Because then you are gambling on a sure thing will never sell that so you’re fine but if they do you make this much more money to want to make money.
You know what buddy? All you have to do is look at the contract of the book publishers. That’s how they do it. Simple as that.
Well, you know that you are printing on the letterpress presses
What are letterpress presses? Well, it’s the oldest style of printing that exists; your telephone books generally used to get printed that way but not anymore because they went up in quality. Well, what do you mean? It costs money to print another way. No it costs more money 20 years ago. Not actually, not now. We are printing out Continuity printing on this better paper it costs the same as your paper.
Yes, yes, that’s’ why our printing is better than yours. There’s a Company in Canada they are doing it…
They are schmucks. You don’t have to be brilliant in a room for schmucks.
We use to say that people sometimes pretend to be stupid not to go to war. Sometimes they just pretend to be schmucks….
Well, sometimes is that way.
Well, the point is that when I had these fights with the Companies… I did never had nasty fights.
That’s demonstrated by the fact you are working with every Publisher…
Yes. And Everybody is happy. I smile, I just make fun, than I close the door…
I know the story of you closing the door with Bob Kanigher… 2 Anyway, what do you think is the situation now? Concerning creator’s rights…
We are taking over the world. It’s great.
Marvel and DC are gonna be a**holes. As soon as DC Comics starts to loosen up than Marvel has to loosen up.
And now that DC or Warner made the mistake of putting Jim Lee in charge… who’s a creator, he’s going to make it better for the artist and writer. We have people planted we have spies planted in the companies so they can…
…well there’s also Joe Quesada at Marvel…
Yes, there is also Joe Quesada at Marvel. You know what? As soon as they start getting too bad there’s other publishers and some of them makes some money.
The problem is that the fight is never done. The fight always goes on. I don’t get enthusiastic about winning, I don’t get worn-out, like I finally did that now I can rest. No, I am not like that.
I don’t do that and I tried to train people who I know. The fight is never over the fights is continuous and so you rest you do other things and then when it comes in your face than you wake up and you start making little talks and speeches and you start pushing and pushing and after a while something changes. You can’t assume that people are going to change overnight or company are gonna change overnight. So what you do is to work on it and to find ways to work on it and if you think that it’s ever going to be over you making a mistake. Just keep pushing.
Do you think that what happened in mid 90’s with Image and Legend imprint of Dark Horse, just putting the light on creators it helped a little bit? The fear that Majors that had creators leaving their titles…
There were f*cking terrified. That’s a good condition for them to be. I like them to be just a little bit frightened.
They work better in that condition…
It’s amazing how how much better it is… See that’s why I only smile I don’t have to argue with anybody. In fact I think they are more about me when I’m smiling but when I’m not.
You know, it is a very good situation and I think we’re better in the comic books than most of…. economies is not very good otherwise and we should be writing more and creating more about the economy and learning a little bit more about economics and start entering into comic books. We can make an effort on behalf of civilization and countries and economy by making these things apparent to people… but not taking sides, being aggressive but by talking about the various ways that companies make money. I mean, we don’t do that enough.
It’s time for us in the industry to start fighting difference fights. And also if we are facing bad moments entertainment coming from the comic book it’s still a cheap one.
I think we are in a very very fortunate position and because of that we have a responsibility. You might remember in the first issue of the Batman Odyssey I have this scene with Batman taking into hydrogen car with hydrogen car and drank the water from the exhaust of the hydrogen car. And it was just an incident is just part of the story but at the same time people who read the story will turn to their friends… What’s this thing about hydrogen power? What’s the deal? What’s going on here? (it) Becomes part of the conversation; even people which are reading comic books have brains and they can talk to other people about it… Yeah you know I first read about that in the Batman comics and of the funny thing is that people will come up to me at convention and I’ll meet maybe 100 people but one guy would come up to me and said.. you know that thing with the hydrogen power I checked on the internet and that’s it good you know that we’re talking about that in out company…
END OF PART 3
My Kanigher story: I’m in the room with Bob. I give him my second war story. I did a series of war stories. First war story went just fine. Handed it in, looked at it, that’s it. Brought in my second war story. He starts to look at it, maybe he’s got a little more time, I don’t know. A little grumpy. He starts to correct my art. He starts to criticize my art. I said, “Hold on Bob. Just hold on a second.” So I got up out of the chair, and I closed the door to the room. I said, “I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll have an arrangement between us.” Now you know when you close the door on somebody they kind of go, “Why is he doing that?” Laughter
NA: The thought doesn’t necessarily occur to somebody that you’re going to hit them, but if you close the door, nobody knows. I wasn’t going to hit him, but I said, “Now let’s be real quiet about this, because I don’t want anybody to think you raised your voice at me. You’re the writer. I’m the artist. I’m not gonna criticize your writing, you don’t criticize my drawing.” from here ↩