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Sunday, 8 July 2018

There Are No "Real Friends" In Comics: Remember that

I find it odd that when old colleagues get in touch they tell me things they should have told me 30 odd years ago.

In the last few months I discovered that an artist I worked with (now deceased) and who I acted as an agent for and got plenty of paying work through my efforts (no, he never ever paid the agreed agents percentage of 7%) well, it seems that on several occasions after I told him that I was meeting a certain editor or publisher about getting work for myself....he contacted them and offered to do the work for less and even told outright lies about me.

A colleague and a friend I had thought.

I know on two occasions I caught people out doing this but gave them the benefit of a doubt -but they still went on to do the same.  People I had known 20-30 years.

I got a message from someone who used to work as an assistant editor at Marvel UK in the 1990s. At one point he stated that he was sorry about the way I had been treated over an editor's job. It's worth recounting the story as an example.

In the 1990s I had spoken to Paul Neary who was Marvel UKs Editor-in-Chief. He thought that I'd be perfect for an editor's job that had become available.  Went the 200+ miles to London to the Marvel offices, met him, chatted and he said "You're the chap we need".  Great. Panic over having to sort out a move to London but once the letter arrived asking me to come in the following Tuesday it was all set in motion. On the Monday I spoke with Neary by phone and he said he'd run me through things.

I left Bristol at 0600 hrs the next day and the coach (come on, I couldn't afford the train!) arrived in London at 1100 hrs and I walked from Victoria to Marvel's offices (HOT day, too).

I smiled at the receptionist and explained why I was there. "Mr Neary won't be back in the office until Friday" I was told.  I showed the letter and explained I had talked to him the afternoon before. No, he had gone off on a planned business trip.  So another editor turned up and took me to his office and I was told the editor's job had gone the week before!

This may have led to the infamous incident we'll not talk about.

So, 200+ miles back to Bristol, out of pocket on the travel expenses (that I was told would be reimbursed) and, basically, flat broke (there is a common theme in my life!).  Never a letter or call from Neary.  That was it and I learnt that the editor's job went to someone else a week after my visit!

Not the first time I was messed about like that. It seems, however, that things were going on in the background. I had told a writer and an artist, who knew each other, about the job offer and it could mean more paying work coming there way. Despite the fact that my getting an editor's job at Marvel UK could mean more paying work it seems that my two friends quite literally killed my chances by telling outright lies and much more about me.  Had I been told of this at the time I could have easily shot down every accusation...but the duo knew Neary apparently so who was he going to trust?

There are other stories but they are of no interest to anyone other than as a warning to "trust no one in comics". I couldn't care less as it was almost 30 years ago.  Those two 'friends' were cut off a long time ago. Anyone from the 'good old days' contacts me now I start by stating "I'll talk but I do not want to hear what anyone said or did behind my back decades ago". Conversation killer there!

Work by yourself for yourself because in comics and other media those smiling faces of 'friends' are normally there to distract you as the knife goes into your back.


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