Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hart Fisher


THE INDY HUNTER INTERVIEW WITH HART FISHER

Welcome to the InDiY Hunter interview here at the League! Greetings, I'm The InDiY Hunter, and with me today is Hart Fisher, once named, “The Most Dangerous Man in Comics.”


IH: Hello Hart. Thanks for joining us. It’s an honor.

Glad to be here.

IH: When Hero’s Illustrated once did a list for, “The 100 Most
Important People in the Comics Industry”, they “christened” you with
The title of, “The Most Dangerous Man in Comics”.
Do you think that label was fair-play?

You kidding me? I danced a merry jig when I saw I was even on that list, let alone tagged with that moniker. What a perfect name. It suited me to a T. The big corporations don’t play nice & they don’t play fair, so neither did I.

When I started Boneyard Press my role models were Dan Madsen at Northstar & Stephen Bissette with his work at DC & Taboo. I wanted to break new ground like they did. I wanted to charge out there and do the best damn horror comics in the industry, so the label they put on me stuck and I couldn’t have been happier.

IH: In today’s landscape, comic industry wise, is there anyone you
Would say is the Most Dangerous Man/Woman in Comics?

Unfortunately, no, no one has risen to fill that label. Nobody.

When I was doing comics no one called me, or my readers, nerds.

Now… Now it’s the definition of what it means to be a comics reader. To me, that’s sad. Boneyard Press did controversial rock’n’roll outlaw comics. So did Verotik with a bonafide dark metal legend behind it, Glenn Danzig. Chaos! Comics brought the metal & the attitude to comics & some dark fun. Hell, we even had Rickie Rocket, drummer of Poison, with his own publishing company.

Where are the publishers like that now? Where’s the rock’n’roll?

Nowhere to be seen man.

Back In The Day..


IH: Hart for those that may not know you yet and are new to the world
Of comics, Indie/Mainstream, or otherwise, what is your history with
the medium?

I grew up reading comics, devoured them since I was five years old. I began drawing my own books with my friends right from the get go. I published my own comics in high school & sold’em to my friends.

Watching my childhood friend, Dan Madsen, build Northstar from the ground up, debuting Faust, it really put the bug in my head that publishing comics could be done. Mark Beachum convinced me that it could be done and that owning your work instead of slaving away on someone else’s was the ONLY way to go.

So in 1991 with a loan from my grandpa Elmer I started up Boneyard Press to publish my first title, Dark Angel. Working in comics was a dream come true & also a serious eye opener in the face of what a nightmare the actual business of publishing could be.  I started Boneyard Press from my basement apartment in Champaign Illinois while finished up my art degree at the University of Illinois.

Boneyard Press started the careers of John Cassaday, Gerard Way, Stephen Elliot, Duncan Rouleau, Albert Holasso, William Harms, did the first independent intercompany horror cross over with Razor vs. Dark Angel, published the first Russian comic in America with Rectum Errrectum, published the work of Mike Dianna AFTER it was banned from Diamond and ruled as obscene by the United States Supreme Court at great personal risk to myself & my staff in the pages of Flowers on the Razorwire.

I killed the founders of Image in the book Kill Image (which had the wives of Tod, Jim & Rob all scared shitless that I was comin’ for them for real). We pissed off Howard Stern with the Howard Stern Vs. Rush Limbaugh book, Rush gave me a thumbs up on the air for my Rush Limbaugh Must Die book.

My staff & I faked my death for April Fool’s day 1998; we almost got my obit run in Wizard. The Comics Journal tracked it down & blew out the joke the day before April 1st, hell, the cunts at The Comics Buyers Guide called my boss at the ad agency I worked at to try & get me fired. Literally. Lucky for me, my boss was in on the joke & thought it was pretty damn funny.

Most folks outside of the industry know me for the Jeffrey Dahmer books I published and the media circus that went along with the lawsuit. Or they might know me from co-authoring “A Taste of Cherry” with Christian Moore for Verotika #4 and the bust that followed at Planet Comics in Oklahoma where the book is legally obscene material to this day.

You can find most of my talk show appearances on my youtube channel ( www.youtube.com/crimepayshart ) from shows like Larry King, Jerry Springer, you can see a young Garry Way in the audience on The Sally Jesse Raphael Show, E on OJ, clips of me kidnapping the editor of Hero Illustrated out of his office, footage of the protest march at my home in Champaign & the SWAT truck that was there, all kinds of crazy stuff.

It was one helluva ride that I was lucky enough to survive.


IH: …And industry wise, who have you written for?

Boneyard Press, Caliber, The Comics Journal, Chaos! Comics, CFD, Hero Illustrated, Fan Magazine, Verotik, Chanting Monks, Asylum Press… That’s just off the top of my head. I’d have to really think for everything I did with the indie guys.

IH: When would you say was your most gratifying time in the comics industry?

Wow… I’d say all of it. I got to live out a lot of dreams in comics. I’ve read’em since I was a little kid & loved’em… I couldn’t pin it down to anyone time or place. I loved meeting the fans, discovering & working with new talent, the brand new smell of that first box of books hot off the presses…

I loved it all. I only left ‘cuz there’s no real money in it.

IH: What are you up to now?

I’m taking over horror.

I’m going to own the genre of horror the way Disney owns kids.

Just like my venture into comics, I’ve been lucky enough to have serious industry professionals take me under their wing & school me for the corporate boardrooms of the television industry. This group of advisors & industry professionals includes one of my old mentors, the blackest of the black himself, Mr. Glenn Danzig. Glenn has been an immense help, a guy who’s given me a lot of good advice & who’s opened up his vaults to allow us to play his uncut music videos on American Horrors.

Launching American Horrors has been VERY different than launching Boneyard.

Let me put it to you this way… I didn’t go looking for a home for my horror channel, American Horrors, it came looking for me. I was head hunted. I was personally drafted by the crazy billionaire, Alki David, to launch the world’s best uncut horror channel, American Horrors, on his online cable company FilmOn.com. I’ve been working with FilmOn & Mr. David ever since. I even did a couple test episodes of a broadcast horror series for Mr. David’s production company. Working with Mr. David has been an eye opener & an education all in itself.

Now that the original American Horrors has been on the air for over a year and is running smoothly, I’m focused on our lineup of original programming and its 2nd season. American Horrors has the BEST original content of any horror channel on the air today. We’ve got new episodes in post for True Crimes (with the legendary crime author Burl Barer & Don Woldman hosting), The American Horrors Intermission (an interview show hosted by me), Flowers on the Razorwire, our flagship show American Horrors. I’ve signed up an entire slate of online series to run on the channel. The crushing Zombie series by the King Sisters, 8.13 and Woody Mecke’s horror movie review show Fright Asylum, we’ve got our own exclusive feature films getting ready to be released on DVD this summer (Carrion, Client 14, Deep Seeded, The Garbage Man, Ironhorse).

I’ve been signing up talent like Zach Green & Richard Powell, Annette Martinez, Chris J. Miller, Joe Vigil’s kid Jeff Vigil, Slam Dance veteran Tony Nitolli and so many more great indie visionaries to create short films for American Horrors.

You want the absolute best in horror? Real Horror for the People? You come to American Horrors. Anyone in the world can find us at www.filmon.com. (direct link: http://www.filmon.com/#American-Horrors) for FREE!!!!

The Real World Horror Revolution is here and the Revolution will be televised on American Horrors, 24/7.

Lawsuits, Dispositions, and Legal Worries Oh My!


IH: There’s recently been a legal dispute about the use of the word(s)
Super Heroes and it’s variations, between an Indie creator and the
Biggest two Comic corporations that exist. Independent comics
publisher Ray Felix has been told that the words “SuperHeroes”, is an
infringement on a trade-mark owned by Marvel and D.C.
What was your reaction when you first heard the news?

I got very, very, very angry.

IH: After gestating it a bit what are your thoughts now? Have they
changed? Remain the same, or have they mutated into something more?

Where was their lawsuit when I wrote “Evil Ernie vs. The Super Heroes #2” or it’s first book? Do they plan to sue a newspaper when it uses Super Hero to describe something? This is a big, big issue that they want people to just roll over for them.

The more I’ve researched the legal merits of DC & Marvel’s supposed ownership of the term Super Hero, the angrier I’ve gotten. I grew up getting ganged up on in Chicago’s south side. It infuriates me when I see the bullies gather to attack a solitary smaller guy. That’s what’s going on here. Since DC & Marvel are the same size, with giant corporate parents, they’ve decided it would cost too much to fight each other over this, so instead, they’re going after someone they think will be an easy victim.

The law states that you have to have a hold on the mark and that your mark has to be active in the areas in which you want to hold it. So where’s the comic titled “Super Hero”? Where is the pen or pencil called a “Super Hero” pencil? Or any of the other products they want to own the term in? They don’t have products with those terms in them in the marketplace.

In order for you to own the trademark your mark has to be active. In use. For the products it’s registered for. You can’t just lock down motor cars for 50 years. You have to release these products.

Then there’s the issue of they claimed they owned it for 30 years but never flexed on the mark before. In order to own the mark you have to protect the mark, the more people who use the mark without a response from the TM owner, the weaker your hold on the mark.

That’s why they chose a small publisher with little legal resources to fight this suit. They chose the weakest easiest victim they could, like a true bully.

IH: What do you say to the people that are of the opinion that
Marvel/DC are just protecting their brand, it’s just business?

Anyone who says it’s “Just business” tells you a lot about their moral fiber and ability to stand up for their rights. It’s wrong and it’s illegal.

It’s not business. It’s an illegal tactic to grab a phrase from the common vernacular. This isn’t their phrase just like Droid wasn’t George Lucas’s. It’s a regular term in regular English. You can’t trademark the term Stop Sign or Sci Fi, I mean, why do you think the Sy Fy channel changed the spelling of its channel name?

It’s sickening what DC & Marvel are trying to do, just another tactic to drive the little guy out of business.

IH: You’ve had your own experiences with Marvel and the courts haven’t
you? If you don’t mind reminiscing, what happened and what is the
state of relationship between you and their House of Mouse today, if
any?

Once upon a time in the early 90’s there was a branch of Marvel called Marvel UK. This branch, run by Lou Bank, was publishing a title called Hells Angel. The motorcycle club of the same name sued them for trademark & copyright violations. When they won their case, Marvel UK changed the title to Dark Angel, a book & character I’d been publishing since High School.

You could say that I had help in my suit with Marvel from the Hells Angel’s motorcycle club’s legal wing. I got a hold of the lawyers, all club members, behind the Hells Angels win. We spoke at length about their case. With their advice under my arm I made my decision- I hired a lawyer in Champaign Illinois & we sent Marvel a cease & desist notice.

Marvel’s reply to our cease & desist was to threaten me with a counter suit alleging that my book “The Thanatos Syndrome” was infringing upon their purple super villain Thanos. If I pushed to enforce my clear legal rights, they would counter sue & bury me.

That made me very, very, very angry.

I knew their suit would be frivolous & without merit. Our book was based on a Greek myth about death. Theirs was a silly super villain character with no title of his own.

Bullies don’t like a real fight. I chose to fight. They decided to cancel the infringing title.

I won.

IH: Have you met any other Independent Publishers/Creators that have
had similar experiences? Either yours or Ray Felix?

Right off the top of my head, even before I tangled with Marvel, they pulled a bully tactic like this with Dan Madsen at Northstar (the original publisher of Faust) over Tim Vigil’s space opera “Omega”, which due to Marvel’s cease & desist notice over their latino hero character “Omega”, was changed to “Omen” and did not perform to expectations of the publisher. I believe it is due to the title change.

I also remember a publisher, well within their fair use rights of parody & criticism, did a series of shirts & materials mocking “Starbucks” with their “StarWhores” parody. I do not know what happened, or if they went to court over it. I just remember them getting’ shut down in the same manner and the same half assed coverage in the media about it.

Big corporate titan puts all it’s weight into suit with indie penniless creator because they’re humorless & greedy.

IH: Your battle with Marvel even launched its own clothing line. How’d
that come about and are there any pieces of clothing left?

I created & released the “MARVEL CAN SUCK MY COCK” t-shirts as a public statement about their business policies of the time (designed to drive small publishers out of business) and send a very public message about these policies in a very public manner.

The mainstream media has never properly covered Marvel’s role in absolutely destroying the direct distribution market for comics. It started with their stated plans to pull their comics out of all comics stores & create their own “Marvel Marts”. Their first step in this plan was to purchase the 3rd largest distributor in the business, an east coast company called Heroes World.

This started an exclusivity war that destroyed all other distributors except for Diamond. Funny thing is, every time we lost a distributor, we’ve lost customers that have never come back to the table.

When I got into publishing, a bestselling book could run for a million copies, much of that collector madness, but still, much higher print runs than a bestselling title today that moves a hundred thousand copies.

Since Marvel had clearly started their ambition was to wreck the competition, drive us out of business, I made the “Marvel Can Suck My Cock” shirts & debuted them at the San Diego comicon. I sold over 100 shirts in one day, selling the shirt off my back twice.

This little publicity stunt lead to six new pages of legalese added to San Diego’s contract vendor contract, a contract I would never sign. Marvel was FURIOUS when I published the Kill Marvel book, but they went bat shit nuts at San Diego Comicon with the shirts, they even sent a guy outta their booth who physically assaulted me. Big mistake for HIM, very embarrassing when I put him in his place…

But if you want the story of THAT confrontation you’ll have to ask Gary Guzzo...


Legacies are Viruses….


IH: Do you think your efforts to stand up to a larger corporation who
pretty much owns most of the sand box may have inspired other
Independent creators to get into this field? What do you think if at
all your own Independent Publishing legacy has left up this date?

Legacy? If I have a legacy it’s a simple one.

Go through the homes of members of Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Obituary, Necrophagia, Misfits, Marylyn Manson and look through their bookshelves… You’ll find my work.

What does that tell you?

IH: What would you like it to say, when all is said and done?

Everything I set out to do, I achieved beyond my wildest dreams. As a kid, I had no idea my love for comics would lead to a career like this one. I’ve broken serious talent in music, writing, art and even fucking politics.

What I would say is this: The more you repress those kids, the more they will seek out enablers of their talent like me. You cannot stop me. You cannot ban me. Stab me in the face a thousand times… I will rest… then I will rise. We will go on. We will ascend.

That kid you think is all washed up at the starting line? That’s my kid. He’s out there, waiting to be molded into something strong, something hungry. I want you to take a chance. I want you to dare to fall flat on your face, then rise up, try it again.

You can win. You can beat them. All the haters & their mouths full of fail.

I beat them. I lived my dreams. You can too.


IH: Are you involved in any comic creating now?

I’ve been hired to write some things but nothing that’s hit print yet. I’m waiting to get artwork back to finish a script up for Clint Scott his new Splatter Saint book. He pays, the character is fun to write, I'm eager to see it hit print.

There’s a great deal of fans & artists who want me to come back, but right now, I'm more interested in pulling creators out of comics & bring them into TV & movies.

I’ve been talking to publishers about bringing my poetry back into print and expanding the Poems for the Dead series into 3 volumes, including hard cover limited editions. So far we haven’t come to a conclusion about how to do this or scheduling.
IH: If not, do you plan to? What would it take to get you back in?

Money. You pay me to do a job like a merc, or I come back with enough money in my war chest to bring the pain to the corporate powers that be.

When I come back, I’m comin’ back like Jesus Napalm Christ.

I’m comin’ back like walking fire.

IH: You weren’t exactly excited by the pairing up of The House of
Ideas and the House that Walt built were you? Is it fair to say you
saw less than positive omens from Disney’s acquisition of Marvel?

I knew the lawsuits & bullying would rise to an all new level of shallowness with Disney owning Marvel. If you follow history & know anything about how they handle Trademark law and intellectual slavery of their employees… I knew it was going to be tremendously bad for Marvel and the industry as a whole.

You think this “Super Hero” suit is bad? You thought “Marvel Marts” were a bad idea? Or Marvel starting the Distribution Wars with it’s acquisition of Heroes World & the lives that action ruined… Guys…

When it comes to Disney Darkness coming to comics via Marvel… Strike up that Darth Vader theme and get ready… You ain’t seen Nuthin’ Yet.

The evil empire has come and they’re gonna strike deep into the hearts of creators everywhere…

IH: What are your thoughts on D.C.?

You know, every artist out there should consider one thing when working with a giant corporation… The guy you like who’s negotiating the terms of the deal with you, the guys you might work with, they’re not going to be there at that company forever & companies have a way of acting psychotic, doing whatever they feel inclined to do when it would bring them bigger profits.

Look at Alan Moore, look at Jack King Kirby, look at Frank Miller… All titans in their day, all made promises by deviate sodomites who fucked them over every way they could in the name of a dollar. Have you read about the pressures DC placed on associates of Alan Moore and how they used their hiring & firing abilities to pressure Alan to sign a bad deal he refused to sign over The Watchmen, even if they hurt his friends, literally?

That’s who your signing with. The Devil. DC, Marvel, Disney, all satanic ghouls cut from the same cloth making their living on the imaginations of great men they screwed into the ground.

Start your own company, create your own legends.

Then stand by them.

IH: What about the comics industry in general?

I checked out of comics years ago. I don’t read anything. I don’t follow anyone. I just keep track of some of my friends in retail & creative. I keep track of sales figures, the state of the industry, what sells, who I want to work with in film.

IH: Do you read much these days?

I read books. Haven’t read comics much in years… Shit writing, crappy generic coloring, I don’t know, I haven’t seen or been shown anything that’s really excited me that’s worth the cover price they charge now except for some of the Verotik tradepaperbacks.

I’m an avid reader though. Most of my focus is research for my business goals, loads of hard boiled crime fiction, horror books, and biographies of folks like Lew Wasserman, the Warner Brothers, Roger Corman, The Fog of War… I’m interested in Empire & how Empire is built.

IH: Outside of comics you’ve found yourself involved in some
interesting court cases. O.J. Simpson and the Miller Brewing Company.
Results may vary, but what the fuck happened?!

OJ Simpson sued me when he attempted to Trademark OJ. It was my own fault really. I was the dumb ass selling the books on the courthouse steps during the trial, even went right up to Robert Shapiro and slapped a fistful of books into his chest at the court.

So OJ hit me up thinking I’d be easy, like the Dahmer people did. WRONG MOVE. I settled out of court with him, with me on the winning side, giving up nothing.

As for Miller Brewing, they hit me with a Cease & Desist Notice over my Jeffrey Dahmer: Milwaukee’s Best t-shirts. Since I used a slightly modified logo I took directly from a case of Milwaukee’s Best I didn’t feel it was an important fight, I walked away from that. Some friends of mine bootlegged the hell out of that shirt anyway, so what did it do for Miller?

Nothing. The shirts went viral & underground. Kids wanted them MORE.

I’ve been dragged into a legal battle between Nancy Collins & Chaos! Comics because I worked for both Verotik and Chaos & Nancy’s a greedy talentless cunt. She sued Brian Pullido at Chaos. She said Brian stole his character, Chastity, from her, her character Sonja Blue in the Sunglasses After Dark series.

A truly bullshit case that I got pulled into so she could allege that I helped Brian “steal” his character from her. Total horseshit based on her greed to rip a piece offa Brian when his company was running strong. I mean, Brian’s no saint, but this suit was shit and I was/am furious I was ever brought into it. It went nowhere so the dummy, Nancy, made an enemy of me for nothing.

Greedy stupid people do greedy stupid things.

IH: You’ve even had to fight for your right to Wikipedia no?

For a time the Wiki Gods literally declared me “Not Notable” from their own mouths. Then they used capricious stretches of their rules to keep knocking down an entry on myself & my own work.

The way to deal with outlaws & the counter culture in the digital age is to ignore it; pretend it didn’t exist & scrub it out of any online digital tombs. Since these new kids don’t look past the screen, they miss a lot of stuff.

The folks at Wikipedia that had a problem with me, god only knows why, they even started pulling me from references in other people’s entries. It turned into an online war of my supporters trying to infiltrate past their censors, until a true journalist came forward to right things. A real honest to god gutsy journalist who wanted to set the record straight.

For that, yes, I am indeed grateful. Unfortunately, there’s still no official entry on Boneyard Press or American Horrors.

IH: What could other corporations with deep pockets trying to get into
The comic business learn from the way Marvel has handled their
"relationship" with Independents?

I would tell them to not play nice. Don’t be fooled. Fight to kill.

You’re dealing with sodomites & liars. Go to war and be sincere in your desire to win, carve yourself an audience. If these giants had their way, you would not exist except to fill their yokes pulling their carts.

So go for it. Fuck them. Make your mark without guilt or fear.

IH: Besides employing numerous talented writers/artists and other
people, is there anything that the Big Two ARE doing right anything
positive that you can see, when you survey the landscape?

They’ve both done a tremendous job in taking their visions to the big screen & translating that excitement onto the big screen. I mean, I grew up a “Make Mine Marvel” maniac. I know those characters at DC & Marvel in & out. I’m enjoying the various movies & TV shows immensely. I fuckin’ LOVED The Avengers kickin’ ass in 3D and Joss Whedon got the characters & team dynamics DOWN. Great job Joss! I’m happy to see my childhood heroes make the jump to the big screen.

The sad thing is that they are unable to translate that excitement of the big screen back to the comic’s retailer. They’ve done a terrible job of making sure their products are placed at affordable prices in places where new readers can come into contact with them.

Where’s the Value 3 Packs at the drug store? Comics at the 7-Eleven? Books a kid could actually afford with his/her allowance? Where a kid can buy it on their own? They don’t know anything about growing their market, only strip mining it.

As these comics publishers have gone more corporate I’ve found them making the big corporate mistakes, customer service, customer value, they forgot all that. If they had a clue they’d make products for the market, putting their comics into literacy programs for prisoners like Boneyard Press did, donating their products to battered women’s shelters, families at risk shelters, you know, like Boneyard Press did.

You have to reach out & GROW your market instead of penning it off & stripping it to the bone.

Other Odds, Interests and Endings….

IH: How long have you been an MMA fan? I’m a big Ronda Rowdy Rousey
fan and a supporter of Women’s MMA in General.

Funny you should mention Ronda…  I was at UFC 157 keeping an eye on her little sister for her mother, Dr. De Mars. We just kicked ass on the Spirit Lake Kickstarter campaign raising $$$ to develop a computer game to teach kids math. Ronda’s family ROCKS. I’m a big fan of her and her family. I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. De Mars, a Judo pioneer, immensely.

As for me… I’ve been a martial arts fan since I was a little kid reading Master of Kung Fu & Iron Fist. I saw the very first UFC with the other instructors from my Tae Kwan Do club in the early 90’s and we were ALL floored by what we saw. That’s when MIXED Martial Arts came onto my radar.

I’ve been a major fan ever since and yeah; I wanted to thank Dana White, thanks for saving the UFC. There. I said it.





















IH: How long have you been rolling?

I first started my martial arts training in hard striking styles in 1987 where I got to train with world Wu Shu champions, the Ho brothers, who did loads of in costume stunts in the Teenage Mutant Ninja live action movies. The U of I was a real hot bed for martial arts. I got to train with guys from the Olympic Tae Kwan Do team, some professional kick boxers & ruffians. I loved it.

When I moved to Los Angeles I found my way to Gokor & Gene LeBell’s Hayastan Academy, sometime around 1996 or ’97, that’s when I started rolling on the matt. Training there, becoming friends with Gokor & Gene, that’s another lifelong dream come true. Bill Superfoot Wallace, Roddy Pipper, the German Olympic Judo Team, Benny The Jet Urquidez… so many amazing martial arts minds have come through their doors, so many champions… It’s an amazing place to get to train, amazing instruction.

I’ve been out of training for a few years. I had to take a break to take care of my wife during her fight with cancer. Now that she’s kicked cancer’s ass I’m back in the dojo bumpin’ & bruisin’ & having the best time.

IH: I just read up that you’re from Champaign Illinois. That’s about
an hour and a half from where I live now. How do you like my home town?
Of SoCal?

Life in Los Angeles can be pretty amazing.

You can bump into almost anyone at any time out here. Great bars, great food, cool bands every night, I mean, if you want to get out & mix it up, you can do it big time.

I got to discover Gene & Gokor’s world out here. I got to work with crazy maniacs like Glenn Danzig out here, drink & party with my heroes, it’s a crazy wonderful place fearful dream crushing/empowering place full of contradictions & opportunity. I’ve lived many dreams out here right down to having one of my favorite Howling Werewolves buying me drinks at a local bar.

Life’s pretty good for me & it’s getting better every day.

IH: What is there to do out here and so far I can’t find a good
Chinese or Korean BBQ joint. Any Suggestions?

In southern Illinois? Ahahahahaha…,. Good fuckin’ luck on that one. It was hard enough finding a decent pizza in southern Illinois.

IH: Do you think they should make a Hart D. Fisher action figure? If
so, should the variant have a black t-shirt with white print on it
giving a message?

Jeax Janovsky made me a “Hart Fisher” action figure that had combat boots, black nails (back then that’s all I painted’em, now that I’ve met Gene, it’s pink) and a black t-shirt with the Boneyard Press starvin’ baby logo on it… it was based on a Malibu Ken Doll…

That really made me laugh & I’ve got it by my desk to this day.

Thanks Jeaux! Hell ya we need a Hart D. Fisher action figure.

IH: Anything you’d like to plug? Anything coming down the line we
should be on the lookout for?

On the writing front, I’ve got a new short story in The Masters of Taboo (Unearthed Books), new poetry in Men in the Company of Women and upcoming The Panty Drawer (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House) and I’ve got my collected writings from leading true crime blog In Cold Blog coming out this summer under the title “An American Horror Story” which is about the real life violence behind the scenes at Boneyard Press and my decade long quest to keep a sex crimes killer behind bars.

People are going to have to reconsider everything they think they know about me after they read this book. I pull back the curtain and reveal all the rape, murder and pain I kept from the public during years of publishing.

Getting hired to write for In Cold Blog changed my life. Truly. I was able to come to grips with some very difficult events in my life and the violence in it through my writing for In Cold Blog. This book collects those writings & expands upon them.

It was through this writing that I met Daun Richert-Slagel, the only surviving victim of the Happy Face serial killer. She’s become a real believer & she wrote a very moving introduction to “An American Horror Story”. Talking with her, reading her intro, it’s helped me bury a lot of personal demons. It’s going to haunt people in a way they’re not expecting.

Believe me. 2013 is going to be a big, big big year.

IH: Thanks again Hart, brutal truth isn't always easy to come by.

-Indy Hunter

March-2013


And feel free to continue the discussion over at the League boards!



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mourning stone


Empire of Stone is here!


It's no secret we here at the League are huge fans of the poetry. But Empire of Stone is some of the best, along with Josh Brown and illustrator Trent Westbrook, he creates familiar yet fresh, complex fantasy world, mired deeply in a lifetime study of history and myth. Intimate portraits of epic battles, full of mystery, magic, fleeting triumphs and tragic loss on a grand scale. This is a completely awesome book. Your ears will ring with the sounds of combat, you'll breath in the smell of stale blood on the field of battle and lament the passing of a kingdom you never knew.

From the publisher, "After centuries of constant war the dwarves have outlasted every invader until now. Orcs and most other races have joined forces to crush the dwarves of the Empire of Stone.   In epic poem and narrative prose, the story of the last stand of the Empire is told. Illustrated throughout, this work is epic and violent; it is a story of a conflict to end all conflicts."

Authored by Josh Brown, illustrated by Trent Westbrook, cover design or artwork by Jason Moser, edited by Dara Syrkin.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mute point

THE INDY HUNTER INTERVIEW WITH RAY FELIX:

 

I’m the InDiY Hunter and welcome to our second interview here at the League! Today we have embattled comics creator Ray Felix with us! Ray Felix is founder of the independent comic book company Cup ‘O’ Java Studio, publisher of the comic magazines, God: The Second Coming, O.D’s Helpful Hints, The No-1 Anthology, the comic series A World Without Superheroes

 

IH: Hi Ray, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
IH: So, if you don’t mind? Tell us a bit about the book your
publishing that’s got the Big-Two Comic book Corporations in a fit.
“Superheroes”, right?

RAY: The comic that they gotten their panties in a knot about is “A World Without SuperHeroes”  Its a comic that deals with time travel,  identity, history  and spirituality.

IH: Your world has them?
Yes and no.  My heroes aren’t heroic.  No one gets saved.
My heroes are military heroes who are advertised to the public as heroes but are in fact not nice people.  The main character which is a homeless veteran thinks he’s a super hero but really is driven by a secret selfish motivation to control things by using his time warping ability.

IH:  So It’s a world without SuperHeroes. Okay I get it now. But…your
title on the cover…It has the word “SuperHeroes” in it right?
Someone’s got a problem with that?

DC and marvel doesn’t want any independent comic company  to use the word "Super-Hero".  More so, they are upset because I registered the title of my book as “Cup o Java Studio Comix A World Without Superheroes”.  No hyphen, by the way.  Just as one word.

Why do you think that is?

IH: I have a few people asking, Did you know about the trademark
before you used the words, SuperHeroes? If so, why go forward?
IH: You stated in an article, on Blastr, that you felt your case was pretty strong. Can you go into a bit more detail about that please? 

Yes, I did know that Marvel and DC trademarked the word “Super-Hero”, but they are making claims that they own every variation of the word in every form and language.  Trademark laws do not protect variations nor extend that far.  Its because trademarks only protect the "literal element".  That which is registered, and nothing more.  My trade mark which is registered is “Cup O Java Studio Comic A World Without SuperHeroes”.  Which in no means infringes on DC nor Marvel’s registered mark since I clearly state that these are “Cup O Java Studio Comix”.  Yet, what Marvel and DC are doing is an illegal practice of creating a monopoly over the comic industry and threatening and then pursuing anyone who uses the word “Super-Hero”, within their title of a comic or any other form of media. Even if its a product that they don't produce i.e "Super-Hero" soft drinks.   I had this confirmed with their lawyers, I'm not inventing this. The big 2  will sue you if you have a soda, soft drink, coffee, tea or any other food product using the word "Super-Hero".  Even if they're trademark doesn't cover that usage in the market.  They will find a way to take you to court.  This isn’t a legal tactic, its simply bullying through endless litigation and using 'might over right'.  Technically speaking in legal terms the word itself is "public domain" and cannot be trademarked alone as a word.  "Super -Hero" is a generic term, thus cannot be trademarked.  What determines that a word is generic?  If its published in a dictionary.  Marvel should have trademarked “Marvel Super Heroes” and DC “Dc Superheroes”, but they did not.  Thus, they are again breaking the law and our legal system has failed to act in checks and balances of our trademark law.  The system is corrupt by allowing Marvel and DC to continue going after anyone who wants to use the word Super Hero on a comic book cover.

IH: The Most Dangerous Man in Comics, aka Hart D. Fisher says he’s
willing to come to your defense, speak on your behalf, in court even,
or to your lawyer. What do you make of that?

I’d love to meet him.

IH: Some are also asking if this was a publicity stunt to get more
exposure for your book. While that seems kind of unfair, because who isn’t trying to get eyes on their property, a better question I think…is how do you handle the fallout from something like this?
What do you gain or lose from something like this? 

If that was the case I'd have the book selling through Diamond distributors and not my website.  I don't do Diamond because of there quota for indie publishers to sell 2,500 minimum to stores or else they won't distribute your book.  But that's a whole other ball of wax.  That's not the main issue. 
I’ve been working on this title for 20 years, since college in 1993.  I began the artwork for the project in 1995 and completed it in 1995.  I didn’t publish it because we didn’t have Photoshop at the level it is today and we didn’t have print on demand in those days.  So I worked on other projects until the technology and my art skills improved.  In 2005, I started the project again and started to draw new issues  that would fill in the gaps of the previous plot.  That’s not me trying to get some sales, that’s me committing myself to a vision.  I’ve had relationships and friendships come and go but this book kept me sane throughout the years.  It deserves to be published and to be protected under our legal system.  Also, what most interviewers have not mentioned is that my book was copyrighted since 1995 which Marvel and DC’s lawyers are also trying to repel.  Not just my recent registered mark.

IH: What do you say to those that argue that both Marvel/DC have a
right to protect their brand?  

 Yes and no.  They do have a right to protect their brand which is Iron man, Spider-man, Batman and Superman, according to the court documents.  Not one of those titles include the word super hero nor are they dependent on the word to make sales.  In fact their isn’t a comic called “Super-Heroes” which is a monthly series, so it is plain to see that the two companies are holding hostage without any real reasons beyond keeping other companies  from using it. I’d say that most people are ignorant of the rules and laws of which govern this land and couldn’t even begin to describe the difference between a copyright and a registered mark.  There is a vast difference.   I can only encourage them to get informed.  Knowledge is power, is it not?

IH: Do you think they’re dismissive because in some people’s eyes, we
as Indie creators/publishers are a lesser known brand?   

 I think Marvel and DC are coming at me in overkill mode.  I was charged with 16 infringement of trademark when I only registered for one which in their eyes conflicts.  That would be comics.  I don’t sell video games, costumes, toys or food product with the term “Super-Heroes”, but they threw the kitchen sink at me anyway.  Bottom line, every lawyer that knows and understands trademark law knows, I am within my legal rights to own my registered mark, but I do not “have the cost to be the boss” as B.B King would say.  They have more money so they have the power to win. period.  Rich vs struggling middle class.

IH: If you were in a bar sitting next to one of these vocal-4-the
Big2, and they said, “Go ahead, convince me, I’m gonna keep an open
mind here…”, how do you appeal to their sensitivities. How do we as independent creators really illustrate what it means for  two words that basically classify a whole genre for the medium to be isolated tojust 2 corporations?  

 I shouldn’t have to. It isn’t any fault of mine that they don’t understand laws in a country they were born in.  It is also not my responsibility to justify my legal rights as an American to someone who writes or draws comics because they’ve placed themselves on a pedestal.   I would advise them to read more, be informed and not pass judgement on others when they have no knowledge of a subject they have no basis to defend from.

IH: Let’s flip this.What does it mean to them the consumer if only two companies in town own the genre category name?  

 It is essentially a loss of freedom of expression and freedom to utilize the English language in order to sell, market and distribute a product.  it also prevents them from protecting their creative works under the term, genre or category of “Super-Hero”.
 The big two are not just defending the word superhero, it is also has countless of cases suing companies over generic terms like, “Omega”, “Thor” “Super Villain”, Super Heroine”, Super Human”, “Superior”, “ Super Soldier”, “Winter Soldier”, “Meta”, “Mutant” and so on.    “Winter Soldier” were real soldiers in Korea and Vietnam that protested those wars.  Marvel did not invent the word but they sure as hell trademarked it.  Hundreds of cases are in USPTO court.  Why? Because thy can afford to.   Corporations beyond “the big 2” are doing this.   Disney for instance sues other companies for using ”Snow White”, The Little Mermaid,” Sleeping Beauty” and all other public domain stories which were by the Brothers Grimm not Walt Disney.  Corporations are trademarking our language and don’t think its just in English.  It’s every dialect they’ve made claims to owning the word “Super-Hero”.  I kid you not. Do your research and discover the truth for yourself.

IH: Some argue, Why not just change the name? It’s the story inside that matters, plenty of other descriptive names for super-powered beings to use?”  
Because if we keep laying down for the little things, then we’ll eventually lay down for the bigger things as well.  We have to stand up and fight like Heroes and be Heroes not just read them. We are losing our humanity and our personal power as a species and we give it away bit by bit.  If you can control the usage of words, language and expression, you essentially can control the mind.

 The most revolutionary corporate trick is for you to click “I Agree”.  Try reading what you are agreeing to sometime and see how many of your legal rights you are giving away to each corporation and downloadable product on the internet.  We are becoming powerless and losing our freedoms to men in suits not terrorist from the other side of the globe.    A lot of teens and twenty somethings will think that I sound crazy but that’s because they don’t know or understand what personal power is.  They’ve never experienced it and its foreign to them.    Many of them have never seen their own near death in a fight, or been wronged by the legal system, or even lived outside of their families and independent.  I tell my high school students that when I was 15 I had two jobs and lived independently renting my own house at the age of 18.  Most of them think it’s insane that I traveled to other states within our own country and outside of the United States.  It’s like a fantastic dream to them.  Their too busy watching reality television that they’ve lost focus on living their own lives.  Stan says it best, “Nuff said”.

IH: If this ends up not going your way and you are forced to remove the words, what will you do?  
DC and Marvel cannot force me by any means to stop using my title.  That would fall under harassment and then it would become a civil case.  They can only win by repealing the USPTO’s decision in approving my trademark and the USPTO will not recognize it as being a registered mark.

IH: Petitions are all the rage these days, from Deathstars…(which I
supposed Disney now owns too), to (legal justice for victims). Would
you sign a petition for a new description of the genre formerly known
as super heroes so that there’s a neutrality allowing all creators and
people to use w/o fear or legal recrimination?  

I think any independent publisher or comic creator who has been warned , threatened or taken to court by Kenyon and Kenyon (DC and Marvel’s lawyers) and have a pair of balls, willing to stand up against the big two will get my support.  We need to find each other and form a class action suit against "the big 2".  More importantly, we should get companies like Image comics and Dark Horse to stand up against the monopoly of DC and Marvel and repeal their trademark over a generic term “Super-Hero(es)”. It’s public domain and should remain that way.

IH: Ray Felix…where do you go from here? Win or lose? What can people
expect to see from you, anything you’d like to share or plug?  

I will continue to publish “A World Without Superheroes” until its conclusion of issue 13 and I will also continue to publish my other titles “Bronx Heroes: Runaway Slave ”, “Bronx Heroes 2.0” and “The Adventures of Baron Ambrosia”.   Also, if you live in the New York or Tri-State area you can check out my tribute to Bronx artists Will Eisner, Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and many more at the “Living in Sequence” comic gallery show at Poe Park in the Bronx and “Bronx Heroes Comic Con 5” this May 4th and 5th.  You can follow us at www.bxhcc.com and www.aworldwithoutsuperheroes.com”.

IH: Thanks Ray for taking the time, and good luck moving forward, PROGRESSING!  

Thanks man, let me know if you need anything else or have concerns.
I need a pro bono lawyer willing to take on this case.
God Bless.

-InDiy Hunter

March-2013


And feel free to continue the discussion over at the League boards!