Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hub Comics Screws Independent Local Artists

I met James Welborn a few times - at a zinefair, a convention, and at Hub when I was in the process of self-publishing and promoting Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy.  He was very nice to me (always) and agreed to not only take my graphic novel on consignment, but to give me a 75-25 consignment deal (since I was paying $18 a book to print them through comixpress.com, 50-50 consignment was really designed for comics, not graphic novels, and no one would likely buy an unknown artist's graphic novel at $36 or more.)  James and I wrote up a contract for him to take 5 copies, sell them at $25 and pay me $18.71.  (This is the same agreement I set up with Million Year Picnic, New England Comics, and Pandemonium Books.)  He sold those on consignment, and another 5 on the same arrangement, and then took another 5 on consignment on the same arrangement.  I dealt with him and the manager for a couple years under this arrangement, visited their store as a customer, and recommended them to friends as one of the two best stores in the area for an independent creator to deal with (MYP being the other, in my experience).

Then James committed suicide.  I knew him only through these handful of interactions, so I didn't attend any memorials.  I was saddened, sent my condolences to the manager and the staff, and didn't even email to check in on the consignment books for over a year out of some vague sense of tact? good will? embarrassment?, I don't know.  When I touched base several months ago about the books, I got no response.  I followed up a couple weeks later and again a month later, and got no response.  Then I stopped in and the same manager was there and assured me that he had forwarded my emails on to the new owner, who was trying to locate the books.  They didn't know where they were and they were still going through James' stuff trying to locate them.  Two months passed without a word.  I emailed them again and followed up with a call the next day.  He said that he'd see the owner later that day and he'd follow up on it.  Here’s our email interaction (w/out greetings/signatures):

Dan: I'm still waiting on word about the five graphic novels I had at your store on consignment - Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy. Please call or email me in regards to this. It has been several months since I started inquiring.

Hub: Well, we can't find them. We'd prefer to give you store credit for them, but we'll give you cash if you'd like. I'm out tomorrow, but back on Friday and Saturday, so I can settle up with you then.

Dan: Well, I appreciate your efforts to track them down and your willingness to honor the contract. I honestly don't know if I'd make that much in store purchases, but considering your best efforts to make good, I'd be happy to take half in cash and half in store credit. The amount due is $18.71 per book, at 5 books is $93.55. We can call it $45 in cash and $48.55 in credit if that works for you. Sound good?

Hub: I'm afraid we can't go that high. For consignment books we pay half cover price. We were selling your book for $15. We can offer you $37.50, the price of five books at $7.50 each, which I can offer you in cash.

Dan: Actually, the contract we negotiated had you paying me 75% of the $25 at which you were selling my book. You sold two sets of five at that price and paid out that $18.71 per book, and this was the third set of five that you were selling under the same arrangement. You were definitely not supposed to be selling them at $15, or at least not supposed to be paying me less than the $18.71 per book (which I assume means you wouldn't have been selling them for less than that).  The book is a 190 page full color graphic novel that cost $18 per book to print through comixpress. We had discussed how it would never sell at $36 - the standard consignment model was set up for smaller cheaper comic books and the 75-25 arrangement for this covered my cost, made it affordable for consumers, and left you with a $6.29 profit per book - higher than you'd likely get from most consignment comics. I can bring in the contract to show you. But, I'm also not trying to be contentious here; just trying to set the record straight on the pricing. I can also appreciate that you likely did not sell all five books and so you are likely taking a loss here.  I can accept the 37.50 in cash and take the rest (56.05) on store credit. Or if that's really putting you in a difficult spot, I'd be willing to take the whole 93.55 on credit - I'm sure I can get some stuff i've been wanting and some birthday presents and bring this whole thing to a resolution.

Hub: I'm sorry, I ran it by the owner. Hub is under new ownership and can't fulfill your contract with James. All I can offer is the $37.50, which we'll have on hand for you. I apologize for the inconvenience.

End correspondence. So. They arbitrarily, illegally, and insultingly changed the terms of our contract (illegally changing the sale price AND the commission percentage) and then claimed that the contract itself was invalid because it was with prior ownership (James) and didn't apply to current ownership.  But when he took over ownership, he took on debts as well as assets, or he should have returned the merchandise under consignment contract or taken responsibility for inventory lost  They lost $93.55 of my inventory (which had a razor thin profit margin) and offered me a take-it-or-leave-it settlement of $37.50, which had no basis in reality.  It is absolutely a breach of contract, but more importantly, it's a callous slap in the face to an independent artist who was attempting to work with them on a good faith basis.  At no point did the owner correspond directly with me.  I know this sounds like spiteful sour grapes, and maybe it is partly.  But. This is no way to treat local independent artists or any honest business person.

I rejected their illegitimate offer.  They can keep their dirty money.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Spreading Spreading Santorum

What? What's this? A Lazarus sighting in the blogosphere? Is VTK back? No, sorry. VTK is pretty much dead and perhaps I'll do a proper eulogy at some point, but as I predicted somewheresometime down below, microblogging killed the radio star. I just post everything on Facebook and twitter now.

But. (or Butt, I should say.) I just want to do my part in keeping this link at or near the top of a "Rick Santorum" google search. Linking is loving, folks. So, that's done.

And like the wind ... vtk was gone again ...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Invisible Man

As an expectant father, I've been thinking a lot about genes these days - what I may be passing on to Spaghetti Rocket, good and bad. In preparation for the arrival of our first child, Beth and I bought a fancy new camera with which to document the new tot. I fooled around with it to teach myself about all the functions and the above photo is one of the zoomed in pictures that I captured. It is of my multi-colored beard. I was well aware of the "reds", the dark browns, and the whites in my calico jaw-warmer. What I was not aware of was the clear, jelly-like, invisible whiskers (inside the green rectangle). Am I part Invisible Man? Is it possible that Spaghetti Rocket will be an invisible baby? While there are clear advantages, it would seem that there would be more disadvantages. Think of all the money I could have saved on philosophy classes searching for my existential void. All along, the emptiness was right under my chin. I hope Spaghetti Rocket gets his/her transparency traits from Beth and not me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boston ARTchives - Ready to roll (for real this time)

Sorry about the confusion a few months ago, when I said that we were ready to roll, but in fact, we were not ready to roll. Now, we really are ready to roll! At present, we have 9 artists lending 10 pieces each, so our collection is at a robust and diverse 90. Check it out. We are now accepting subscribers for 2011. Read more about us here and how to join us here. Here's a few samples of the art you can borrow and hang on your very own walls:

Dan Nolan's art

Bea Modisett's art

Ellen Crenshaw's art

David Sturtevant's art

Catalina Viejo Lopez de Roda's art

Karl Stevens' art

Anthony Apeso's art

Sean Flood's art

And our first non-2-D artist, Jeremy Ogusky's art

Experience the thrill of being a collector without the prohibitive expense and storage concerns. Experience the satisfaction of being a supporter of local arts in a new and exciting way. Become a member today!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Note to media

Note to media: at least one person is going to die because you're covering this koran-burning cult crackpot 24-7. Afterwards, that person will no longer be alive. Just because Freedom of Press entitles you to be reckless if the market dictates it, doesn't mean you should be reckless. Just don't cover it. Here's the model: crackpot runs on the field at a ballgame and you turn the cameras away and don't cover it. Everyone begins to think it's less amusing and more of a game-delaying nuisance, he doesn't get as much attention/adulation = less crackpots run on the field. Then you can stroke yourself about how you took the high road and people feel better about themselves for choosing you over your media competition.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Like Father Like Daughter

It's a proud moment for the Cash family. Years ago, the father became a subject of Dan Nolan art. This week, the daughter joined him, when artist Dan Nolan did a portrait commission for The Progressive magazine.

Johnny Cash painting:

Rosanne Cash painting:

(and thank you, dear VTKountry, for indulging my web-search, word-placement, shameless self-promotion, marketing post)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Boston ARTchives - Ready to roll!

Experience the thrill of being a collector without the prohibitive expense and storage concerns. Experience the satisfaction of being a supporter of local arts in a new and exciting way. Become a member of Boston ARTchives today

Here's how to join:

Boston ARTchives subscribers select art from our diverse 100 piece collection and hang it on their very own walls. Every four months, there is an art exchange where subscribers return the art to the collection and take home fresh art. At each exchange, subscribers have the opportunity to meet ARTchive's artists (ARTchivists) and discuss the work, the community, the future, etc.

Base Pricing

Boston ARTchives offers two membership levels - single and double, for borrowing one or two pieces of art each four month lending period:

* SINGLE MEMBERSHIP - Borrow 1 piece of art per lending period - $250 a year (3 lending periods - 3 pieces a year)

* DOUBLE MEMBERSHIP - Borrow 2 pieces of art per lending period - $400 a year (3 lending periods - 6 pieces a year)


One of the innovative components of the CSA model is the idea of shared risk. The fate of the crops is shouldered by both farmers and CSA members alike. Damage to art is obviously a concern for artists and subscribers. In order to keep the subscription price low, we've set up the base ARTchives memberships as a you-break-it-you-buy-it model. As long as you don't damage the art, there's no cost beyond the membership price. If the art is damaged while in your possession then you're charged. Some subscribers favor this model.

However, we realize that some people may be uncomfortable with this and would prefer to have insurance coverage. With this in mind, ARTchives offers an optional insurance buy-in for each yearly membership. Subscribers can insure the art they borrow on the single piece membership for $75; double piece members can buy insurance for $150. If none of the borrowed art comes back damaged, the insurance would continue coverage into future years. If art is damaged, an additional insurance payment would be required for membership renewal. We recognize that this sounds like a cumbersome system, but we think it's a fair compromise for members who don't feel the need for insurance, for those that would prefer it, and for artists who are risking their work.

Art purchases

Boston ARTchives is operated by artists, for artists. It's not like gallery representation. Our artists can continue to market and sell their art outside of ARTchives, in addition to selling through ARTchives. However, since subscribers are helping us make a living, we feel you should be rewarded for this patronage. While you are borrowing a piece, you have the right to match the purchase price offered to the artist by any buyer. This way, you can feel free to get comfortable with your borrowed art and take your time deciding if you'd like to make it a permanent part of your collection. Let it breathe on your wall without anyone breathing down your neck.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Group C Scenarios

Here's the ESPN breakdown of the scenarios in which the US can advance in the World Cup:

USA advances with:
(a) Win versus Algeria on Wednesday
(b) Tie and Slovenia-England tie IF England does not outscore USA by 2+ goals
(c) Tie and England loss

Slovenia advances with:
(a) Win or tie versus England
(b) Loss AND USA tie vs Algeria
(c) Loss and Algeria win as long as Algeria doesn't make up tiebreakers*

England advances with:
(a) Win versus Slovenia
(b) Tie AND USA-Algeria tie AND outscore USA by 3 goals

Algeria advances with:
(a) Win versus USA AND Slovenia win/tie versus England
(b) Win versus USA AND Slovenia loss versus England AND makes up tiebreakers on Slovenia

Note: If the U.S. draws with Algeria and England draws with Slovenia, and England scores exactly two more goals than the U.S., the U.S. and England would be even on all tiebreakers for second place. The tie would be broken by drawing lots ... aka, a coin flip.

* Tiebreaker order: (1) Goal differential in all group matches (Algeria is -1, Slovenia is +1); (2) greatest number of goals scored (Slovenia has 3 goals, Algeria none); (3) greatest number of points obtained in group matches between the teams concerned; (4) goal differential resulting from group matches between the teams concerned; (5) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned.

(Only way both USA and England advance is if both win.)

If USA finishes atop the group, they will face the 2nd place team from group D. If they finish 2nd, they will face the 1st place team from group D. Two of Germany, Ghana, and Serbia will likely advance, but the order is up in the air.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010