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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Never Deleted Emails And The Day Marvel Comics Was Buried

Here is something that has been stuck in "Draft" (no, not the wind coming through the door and window type) for a good while.  Get it out the way because I can't imagine wanting to write anything this long in the next month.

The point was, at the time, to show why comic fandom was dying.  No printed fanzines just a lot of comic message boards and forums where anonymous little trolls ruled because moderators were too scared to act or in on the whole deal (a few UK comic creators have described these people as being "the UK comics Mafia").  It did not help that morons were also in charge.

You want to express your opinions on comics get your own blog (don't allow comments) or video blog and make it worthwhile just not your own version of "Nasty to get viewers".

I had to search out some info on Comic Forums I moderated for SBC (Silver Bullet Comics -a BIG thing on the internet back then) in the mid 2000s and came across a batch of memory jarring emails -I told you I keep EVERYTHING!

Hey, do this. It'll get you exposure.Your work will be seen by a lot of people AND you get into conventions for free???  Wowzers!  Trouble is, walking up to a convention door and saying "Silver Bullet Comics -free entry!" does not get you in.  I was young (ish) and innocent.  Embrace the fandom!!!


I am the Senior Feature Editor at Silver Bullet Comicbooks (unpaid) and I was wondering if you would be interested in doing some unpaid interviews? It gives you a chance to talk to some of your favorite creators and gets you in to conventions for free. I know you enjoy writing but I was unsure if you read any current comics. Also Phil wants you with us too."

I have the emails when the SBC editor (a great fella) got "the panics" when Warner put Marv Wolfman up for interview over the then new Superman Returns movie for which he had written the novelization.  How did that turn out? Read The Hooper Interviews to find out because the online interview vanished years ago (deleted).

I have emails in which I detail facts regarding comics publishing and events that were going to happen within the industry.  The response emails: "That seems very unlikely" and the "I don't think you understand how the comics industry works -that just cannot happen!" Rejection of news item after item followed by the "You were spot on" ones later on.

A really pissed off email I sent about being told that arrangements had been made (two years running) to be on SBCs Bristol International Comic Expo's "SBC The Panel". I wasn't. It turned out the 'boss' had decided everything in his head and not told anyone.  First year there was no room on the panel and the second year there was no panel. SBC's "UK Editor" hadn't been told anything. Hey -this exposure was not getting me anywhere!

"...gets you in to conventions for free"

There is my correspondence regarding the fact that a new editor at SBC got the job because he was a pushy friend of the owner and knew nothing about comics, however, he thought the title "Editor" made him cool.  Two years into my stint there I was having complaints about old items and how I "Spellt a lot of words wrong" (I write nothing about that line) and I pointed out that I was English and spelt things correctly but he insisted I go back and alter words like "Colour" to "color" and "tonight" to "tonite"(?!). I said "No".  SBC was not paying and I was not editing old items -I could not as I had no access to editing online anyway.  Then, apparently, I was "too friendly" with the people I was interviewing.

" It gives you a chance to talk to some of your favorite creators"

Then came crunch-time when an interview he had decided he could not do ("I'm far too busy") I did and wrote it all up in 24 hours (the deadline was the reason he could not do the interview because he was a dumb ass).  My non-American spelling, my friendly attitude and banter with the interviewee and much more really offended the editor.

So, I'm a writer. I have a good IQ. I thought about my response. Something witty and cutting that Oscar Wilde would approve of.  The 'Editor' telephones me (!!) and starts with "I'm going to have to chew you out over this" and I interrupted with: "Allow me to save you the time. I quit. F*** off." Oscar would have cried!  Then emails trying to get me back to SBC and even trying to get a couple people I knew there to persuade me back. Nope.  The worst part, as the emails remind me, was that these acquaintances were taking this crap but decided to just let it happen.

What happened to SBC again?

This one was...uh, "fun"...

Then another comics friend persuaded me to take over a couple online comic message boards as a moderator. The people behind it ran a whole string of them.  All went well, then (guess?) a new boy popped up and told me I was not doing my job by editing messages that had been posted 1-2 years before I even joined.  Then I was told I needed to "dedicate at least six hours a day" to the forums which would "have" to included new message board topics that "No one has ever thought of before". 

One was an Alpha Flight message board so I tried the "Which Golden Age Canadian character would you like to see join AF if it were possible?" Two days later I got "NO!!!! YOU CANNOT ask that sort of question!!!! This is about Alpha Flight!"  I explained it to him.  I was told no one cared or knew about Canadian GA comics because "they were all American anyway" (now that is stupidity and ignorance on a rope).  I was told to "Start deleting messages but leave the relavent (sic) ones up" to which I had to ask for an explanation -what were "the relavent (sic) ones" ? It made no sense. Heard nothing back so decided to look for any message board topics that had gone cold over the last year.

I could not log on as Moderator.  Moderator log in code had been changed. I sent an email.  Nothing. Then, after a week of messages piling up I got a message from 'the boss' telling me that he had suspended me for a week to let me "stew and think things over" as he was unhappy I had not logged in six hours a day each and every day and had not come up with what he considered new never-before-asked questions and subjects for SIX message boards -I thought I was moderating two but he had decided I had to moderate six and had not told me.  I pointed out that he was treating me like paid staff and over worked paid staff -was he paying me now?  I contacted the actual owner of the message boards and found the, uh, problem man was a friend of his and he was pushy and insisting everything was done his way but the owner admitted he was too worried to tell the man he was going too far. So I quit -again, the problem man emailed me four times trying to get me back and even offered me three other message boards to handle "but you'll need to show more initiative in future". So I showed initiative and told him where the message boards could be put.

I decided not to ever get involved in comic book message boards again as a moderator.  I found out that, unfortunately, most UK comic forums as well as a few outside the UK were simply populated by very nasty people -a good few working within comics.  US comic creators attacking comic forums, members and much else have been documented well enough.

I then did work for a few news sites.  Everything I wrote was referenced and checkable. But allow me to quote that paragraph again: "I have emails in which I detail facts regarding comics publishing and events that were going to happen within the industry.  The response emails: "That seems very unlikely" and the "I don't think you understand how the comics industry works -that just cannot happen!" Rejection of news item after item followed by the "You were spot on" ones later on."

I'm dumb.
Image result for Disney buys Marvel comics
So, I was a header on an old email.  Here you go:

Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 7:50 AM
To: Terry Hooper Super Hero News
Subject: [Super Hero News] Marvel Sold to Disney

Terry -OK you were spot on when you wrote the piece last year sorry we never published but now its official.

Disney to Acquire Marvel Entertainment
Worldwide leader in family entertainment agrees to acquire Marvel and its portfolio of over 5,000 characters

Acquisition highlights Disney's strategic focus on quality branded content, technological innovation and international expansion to build long-term shareholder value

An investor conference call will take place at approximately 10:15 a.m. EDT / 7:15 a.m. PDT August 31, 2009. Details for the call are listed in the release.

BURBANK, Calif. & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Building on its strategy of delivering quality branded content to people around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:MVL) in a stock and cash transaction, the companies announced today.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney on August 28, 2009, Marvel shareholders would receive a total of $30 per share in cash plus approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own. At closing, the amount of cash and stock will be adjusted if necessary so that the total value of the Disney stock issued as merger consideration based on its trading value at that time is not less than 40% of the total merger consideration.

Based on the closing price of Disney stock on Friday, August 28, the transaction value is $50 per Marvel share or approximately $4 billion.

"This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories," said Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney."

"We believe that adding Marvel to Disney's unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation," Iger said.

"Disney is the perfect home for Marvel's fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses," said Ike Perlmutter, Marvel's Chief Executive Officer. "This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney's global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel's properties.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Marvel have each approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, effectiveness of a registration statement with respect to Disney shares issued in the transaction and other customary closing conditions. The agreement will require the approval of Marvel shareholders. Marvel was advised on the transaction by BofA Merrill Lynch.

Investor Conference Call:

An investor conference call will take place at approximately 10:15 a.m. EDT / 7:15 a.m. PDT today, August 31, 2009. To listen to the Webcast, turn your browser to or dial in domestically at 800-260-8140 or internationally at 617-614-3672. For both dial-in numbers, the participant pass code is 51214527.

The discussion will be available via replay on the Disney investors website through September 14, 2009 at 7:00 PM EDT/4:00 PM PDT.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of nearly $38 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

About Marvel Entertainment, Inc.

Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a library of over 5,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in licensing, entertainment (via Marvel Studios and Marvel Animation) and publishing (via Marvel Comics).

Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain statements in this communication may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements relate to a variety of matters, including but not limited to: the operations of the businesses of Disney and Marvel separately and as a combined entity; the timing and consummation of the proposed merger transaction; the expected benefits of the integration of the two companies; the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical fact. These statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Disney and Marvel regarding future events and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Neither Disney nor Marvel undertakes any obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  a.. legal or regulatory proceedings or other matters that affect the timing or ability to complete the transactions as contemplated; 
  b.. the possibility that the expected synergies from the proposed merger will not be realized, or will not be realized within the anticipated time period; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; 
  c.. the possibility of disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; 
  d.. the possibility that the merger does not close, including but not limited to, due to the failure to satisfy the closing conditions; 
  e.. any actions taken by either of the companies, including but not limited to, restructuring or strategic initiatives (including capital investments or asset acquisitions or dispositions); 
  f.. developments beyond the companies' control, including but not limited to: changes in domestic or global economic conditions, competitive conditions and consumer preferences; adverse weather conditions or natural disasters; health concerns; international, political or military developments; and technological developments.
Additional factors that may cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are set forth in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Disney for the year ended September 27, 2008, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on November 20, 2008, under the heading "Item 1A-Risk Factors" and in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Marvel for the year ended December 31, 2008, which was filed with the SEC on February 27, 2009, under the heading "Item 1A-Risk Factors," and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by each of Marvel and Disney.

Important Merger Information and Additional Information:

This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval. In connection with the proposed transaction, Disney and Marvel will file relevant materials with the SEC. Disney will file a Registration Statement on Form S-4 that includes a proxy statement of Marvel and which also constitutes a prospectus of Disney. Marvel will mail the proxy statement/prospectus to its stockholders. Investors are urged to read the proxy statement/prospectus regarding the proposed transaction when it becomes available, because it will contain important information. The proxy statement/prospectus and other documents that will be filed by Disney and Marvel with the SEC will be available free of charge at the SEC's website,, or by directing a request when such a filing is made to The Walt Disney Company, 500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-9722, Attention: Shareholder Services or by directing a request when such a filing is made to Marvel Entertainment, Inc., 417 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016, Attention: Corporate Secretary.

Disney, Marvel, their respective directors and certain of their executive officers may be considered participants in the solicitation of proxies in connection with the proposed transaction. Information about the directors and executive officers of Marvel is set forth in its definitive proxy statement, which was filed with the SEC on March 24, 2009. Information about the directors and executive officers of Disney is set forth in its definitive proxy statement, which was filed with the SEC on January 16, 2009. Investors may obtain additional information regarding the interests of such participants by reading the proxy statement/prospectus Disney and Marvel will file with the SEC when it becomes available.

The Walt Disney Company
Zenia Mucha
Corporate Communications
Jonathan Friedland
Corporate Communications
Lowell Singer
Investor Relations

So I had enough of this messing about and I quit all that and decided to concentrate only on my own blog.  Comic Bits Online.  That went well.

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