There's a fellow who is going to publish a color tabloid of Sunday comics, and he's asked many cartoonists to come on board. I don't know him. If he wants to come forward and identify himself by name, so be it.
It started at the National Cartoonists Society Reubens weekend last month. First, I got many emails, and then he appeared in person.
On the last night of the Reubens weekend, we sat down at a table at the Omni Shoreham and he told me his pitch.
The Sunday Comics Project (I don't think it has a proper name) is going to be big. That's what he told me. The proposed publication would include current syndicate material, some archival comics (old comic strips from the Billy Ireland Library) and new comics from 150 cartoonists.
He went on: There will be a Kickstarter this summer which will begin any day now (Maybe it's already up and running. I haven't looked.) and, if that's not successful, then he will put in his own money. He pointed out the thousands of dollars he spent to be at the Reubens weekend as a sign of his personal commitment to his Sunday Comics project.
He also told me some personal stories from his life, which I won't repeat here. They are his stories. His point in these stories was that he is a good businessman.
He made me angry. I've heard of these Sunday Comics newspapers before. Most recently, a friend tried to launch one in NYC. Anyway, I was angry because his pitch did not cover the absolute fundamentals:
When I asked, I got some vague answers. He kept reassuring me that 150 cartoonists were coming onboard.
And then this:
"There is no money for the first issue," he finally told me.
I told him that coming to a professional cartoonist group's get-together and asking for free cartoons is appalling to me. Is that mean? Well, anyway, that's what I said.
He agreed to email me the boilerplate agreement that the 150 other cartoonists signed. He was going to do that the next day. That was over ten says ago, and I have received nothing.
That night, he told me many cartoonists names that had agreed to do this.
He may be a good businessman. I don't know. What I do know is that he may be able to get an incredible return on investment if he can get 150 professional cartoonists to submit new material for free to his profit-making project, right?
And, like I said, it's nice to be asked. I appreciate that he thought my cartoons would be a good addition and that they have value.
So, again, just to make clear to my friends and colleagues:
I am not part of the Sunday Comics Project.
Related: Harlan Ellison "Pay the Writer"