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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Terry's CBO Christmas Speech

Terry asked Frank who had to ask me -Jerry- but here is what I will call the CBO Christmas Speech. A few people on US comic forums I was IM-ing knew about Black Tower but had no idea about the problems. Stevie69 -"WTF -he should be publishing in America!"  Well, I keep telling him that.

But here we go......

I think that I really need to explain why if Comic Bits Online continues at some point in 2017 things will have changed.  Everyone who claims to be a regular should know this but I’m making it my “mission statement” for the coming year.

From the mid-1980s on, via Zine Zone/Zine Zone International/The World’s Comic and Comic Bits and finally Comic Bits Online, not to mention my various long-lived Yahoo groups, I have supported the British Small Press and British comic creators.

I promoted female creators at a time when, unbelievably, they were seen as something of a novelty.  I have fond memories of the number of people who criticised me for “being female creator biased”. Yes, I was and am.

But I also pushed and promoted creators and books I thought really deserved it. When I took the step of becoming a comic creators agent in the 1980s/1990s I had enough knowledge to know who to see and how to get in and see them and present projects as well as art. 

I also helped creators who were being ripped off by UK publishers –at one of the last UK Comic Art Conventions (UKCAC) two writers who were not being paid explained what was going on. The publisher involved was there on that day so I introduced myself and  “explained the situation” –the writers were paid that day. There are a few stories like that because creators were always the ones being ripped off and, it may have given me a “reputation” but for the right reasons.

I helped, very heavily and, if I have to be truthful here, with a little of my own cash, promote the UK comics invasion in the US –the Small Press ‘invasion’ in a big way. If you really know your comics history then you can go straight to the US comic trades and find, amongst other things, the articles I wrote.

While two British artists were biting their nails because DC comics had not gotten back to them to say whether they were going to be artists on two books, I contacted DC as their agent and both artists got the good news ahead of time. “Hungry artists I have helped out” –would be bragging.  However, through meetings and talks with management and editors, a few artists got their break into comics and some moved on to DC and even Marvel and are still going today.

I could run off a list of names but for one reason: those people are dead to me. When I got one artist his big break into US comics in the early 1990s the last thing I expected when I walked up to him and said “hello” at a Bristol comic event was to be cold shouldered.  Two feet away from me and he looked and walked on “big time creator now”. It did happen with other creators on two occasions.  You might think I’d learn a lesson.  A couple of creators have said they got breaks via my work which was nice.

But, all of this was coming out of my own pocket, expense-wise (a lot of expense), so I must have made money back at even the low percentage agreed on with creators when I took them on, right?  No. Not one single creator paid back a single penny. I think only two even said “thank you”.

Yet still I promoted the UK Small Press, UK comics and creators and events year-in-year-out from 1984-2016. I can tell you only six people in all those years said “thank you” for the behind the scenes help or for promoting their books and, despite what you might have heard, yes, a lot of books reviewed on CBO do lead to a peak in sales as companies have noted themselves.

I have advised comic companies outside the UK and put projects together which were used successfully but there was no mention of my involvement.  Importantly, there was no payment. I don’t have a fortune to hire lawyers in countries where the lawyers drag things out because it makes them more money. I move on.

When I was/am the victim of abuse on UK comic forums or blogs or even at events, do the people who have benefitted from my help in the past ever say “That is not fair” and cite their own cases? No. I have even found these creators simply agreeing because they do not want to “rock the boat” or become victims of the UK comics trolls –the “nice guys” of comics.

The small comic events that I helped promote –free of charge- do they say thank you? Once. Could I get tables at any of these events to sell my own books? No. This has all been covered on CBO before so let’s not go into it again but the organisers are cowed by the, uh, “nice guys”.  You are blocked from events then you cannot sell your books.

I promote other peoples blogs, or did –creators and events. Did any of them do like-wise for CBO or, more especially, my books like I did for them? No. Just Google a search and you’ll find that the reviews and mentions (comickers and organisational) are all from outside the UK.

When these ‘friends’ heard that I was having a very bad time financially did they think “He did me a favour in the same situation –I’ll mention his books”? No. In fact they all simply deleted me from friends lists because I am no longer useful to them.

There are two exceptions and I will not mention their names as I’m sure that it will embarrass them no end!  But two people –one a Small Press creator who actually owes me nothing, offered financial support.  That is appreciated more than I can express, however, I did turn the offers down (probably because I’m dumb) but the morale boost was better (?) than the money.

I have an online store with nine pages and 90 books. That is where I prefer my money to come from.

At the moment I have no idea what will happen for the rest of 2016 let alone 2017. Frank will post this and then I leave it at that.  If –if- CBO continued at some point in 2017 it will be different.  No more “Terry can you do me a favour?” or “I really need to promote this book/event –can you do me a favour?”

To those who have supported CBO by leaving comments in the past or genuine publishers (there are one or two) –Thank You

To the back-stabbing, two-faced creators, publishers and event organisers who took all the free help and promotion (and more) that I gave and turned their backs on me or stabbed me in the back. Fuck you

But to all genuine comic fans why have visited CBO I do appreciate it but I wish a few more of you would leave an occasional comment.  Hopefully see you in 2017.

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