It's kind of sad that I haven't been on here in forever, but someone sent me a link to this and suggested I possibly had a lot of info that others don't.
Reber wrote:I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure Bluewater is like the 4th version of Tidal Wave Studios. Tidal Wave went bankrupt and I'm almost certain they didn't pay creators towards the end. There should be a couple guys on this board that would know. After it went bankrupt it was sold to Debbie Bishop's company and then Darren Davis worked for her on the same properties. I think it was a loophole not to have to pay out. I can't seem to find any of the press releases where the company went under or when it was sold. Like I said I could be wrong. The company definitely has a flakey history though.
That is correct. He owed tens of thousands of dollars to the artists that did the books as far back as when the books were published under Image Comics. It was never sold to Debbie's company -- he used and abused his friendship with her, and later tried to rip off a book that she had created with Andy Park (The Fairies of Bladderwhack Pond). His children''s books that were published in 2006-2007 also contain artwork he cut out from the comics that artists did for him from 2001-2005 and used without their permission, nor were they given royalty for the usage.
There are a lot of PR articles about the company's supposed achievements. The action figures were supposed to happen as far back as 2006, and never did. The owner keeps bad press from coming out about him because he uses a lot of artists who are 1) from a foreign country 2) usually aren't english-as-a-first-language and 3) he threatens all the others.
I've been on the receiving end of harassing phone calls and threatening emails (including ones with a fake, non-existent lawyer attached to them -- I checked). Why? Because I was advising friends of mine who were new artists being singled out by him to use and abuse, not to work for him. I told them all the details and behind the scenes stuff I experienced as I inked 3 books and 3 covers -- and was dragged to publicity events because I was the ONLY artist within an hour of him -- and had to put up with him harassing me for free favours, etc. The guy threw a bitch fit at me when I refused to put *FREE* promo images ahead of my paid commission work, a week before SDCC one year, when I was suffering from food poisoning and trying to get my portfolio done.
I was a newbie inker when he singled me out to work for him in 2006. My ink tests? He had me ink a pinup and an incredibly horrible comic strip which he then went behind my back and had printed in his local newspaper. Hey anything he can do to get art for free right?
All that crap he spouted about Alias not paying him and blaming them for not being able to pay his artists? Absolute crap. The creators were responsible for paying their artists from the beginning, and creators did receive payments from Alias if there were profits. I knew the then-owners of Alias personally. The sales numbers he would use to entice artists to work for him were usually more than 4-5 times the ACTUAL sales numbers of his books, and while the books were published under Alias he used that to place blame elsewhere but him. So artists would say "well hey, we sold that many books there must be a profit" and he would stutter and claim that Alias never paid him.
The year that I inked for him, he bought a new SUV and moved he and his boyfriend from a very nice, expensive looking condominium into a house. While his artists were waiting for payments. I never saw a dime. My persistence in trying to get a payment from him only led to the above mentioned harassing phone calls, and the email threats that ended in my email being blocked by him after he told me "you can always ask me for the sales numbers I don't hide things like that".
Screw contracts -- I showed them to a lawyer and he laughed. They were the equivalent of a "bar napkin agreement" and usually the artist wouldn't get a copy back signed by him. Which rendered the artists helpless in legally pursuing him. On top of that, he was purposely using artists from Central and South America because they couldn't sue him from all the way down there.
He also tried to claim an entire project creation as his own when it was created by entirely other people. A writer created an entire series, and with a penciler they also designed all of their characters. They withdrew the project after discovering a press release of upcoming titles where he claimed their book was CREATED BY him. Not them. Him. He had absolutely nothing to do with it. For months they had to deal with harassing phone calls from him multiple times, and he went so far as to threaten the writer if he didn't "hand over the script."
Chamba did work for him -- but only if he was paid up front. So he received payment in the beginning -- I don't know if he did later on since I haven't spoken to him about it since he started the book. I believe some of the pages were printed using low res copies of his work though, because the images were obviously pixellated (I flipped through a copy I found in a shop bin).