FunnyJunk attorney Charles Carreon has sued not just The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman, with whom he has been in an Internet battle for the past week, but also crowd-funding website Indiegogo, where Inman set up a fund-raiser to spite Carreon — and, apparently, the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation, who are the beneficiaries of the campaign.
Here’s the Courthouse News Service summary of the filing, posted by Ken at Popehat:
“Trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism. Defendants Inman and IndieGogo are commercial fundraisers that failed to file disclosures or annual reports. Inman launched a Bear Love campaign, which purports to raise money for defendant charitable organizations, but was really designed to revile plaintiff and his client, Funnyjunk.com, and to initiate a campaign of “trolling” and cybervandalism against them, which has caused people to hack Inman’s computer and falsely impersonate him. The campaign included obscenities, an obscene comics and a false accusation that FunnyJunk “stole a bunch of my comics and hosted them.” Inman runs the comedy website The Oatmeal.”
This sounds outrageous on the face of it — who sues the American Cancer Society? — but when blogger Nick Nafpliotis called Carreon and asked why he is trying to shut down the fund-raiser, he responded that Inman and Indiegogo had not filed the proper paperwork, and thus they could just raise the money and pocket it themselves. It’s a fair point, although given the highly public nature of this event, it’s unlikely that Inman would do that. In other words, it’s a technicality. Carreon also took exception to Inman’s public mockery of him:
When most fans think of Dave Gibbons, his seminal work with Alan Moore on Watchmen is likely the first thing that comes to mind. However, the acclaimed artist and writer prefers to look toward the future, even brushing aside a question about Before Watchmen, the sprawling DC Comics miniseries that’s been the topic of so many recent conversations, with a terse, “I have no comment on that.”
During Kapow! Comic Convention, Robot 6 spoke briefly with the legendary creator about his views on digital comics, DC’s New 52 and the state of the industry.
Robot 6: You’re seen as a huge influence, but who excites you in the field these days?
Dave Gibbons: Asking an open ended-question like that is very dangerous, ‘cause invariably I’ll think of people who I greatly admire when you’re not here. I can say in general what I find interesting at the moment are the creator-owned books. I’m really pleased with all the things like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, where people can get finance to do their own comics. The Internet allows people to very quickly build up a large audience. It allows publishing without huge overheads, which is very positive. I love the fact that in today’s comic world, classic work is readily available in brand-new formats, such as the IDW Artist’s Edition series.
Charles Carreon may be a good lawyer, but he has a tin ear when it comes to public relations.
Carreon represents FunnyJunk, which recently demanded that The Oatmeal cartoonist Matthew Inman pay $20,000 or be sued for defamation for complaining that the website permitted users to post his comics without permission. Inman responded by posting the letter on his own site with a series of scornful rejoinders, and then set up an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $20,000 for the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.
His plan is to take a photo of the cash and send it, along with a drawing of the FunnyJunk owner’s mother attempting to seduce a bear, to the owner of FunnyJunk. The Internet reacted predictably, and Inman has raised more than $125,000 for the two causes, while FunnyJunk and Carreon have attracted, shall we say, a great deal of negative attention.
How could Carreon possibly make this situation worse for himself and his client? By whining and acting like a jerk, that’s how. He told Rosa Golijian of MSNBC’s Digital Life that he had to take his contact information off his website (oh noes!) because of the “string of obscene emails” he received.
And then he asked IndieGoGo to terminate Inman’s fund-raiser, alleging it violates the website’s terms of service. That’s right, Inman raises more than $100,000 for wildlife protection and cancer research, but FunnyJunk’s attorney is going to shut him down.
Or not. Inman doesn’t seem worried; he’s more concerned about whether his bank will let him take out $100,000 so he can photograph it with his rendition of the mother of FunnyJunk’s mother and a bear.
One more thing: Sending the owner of FunnyJunk that cartoon may turn out to be a good deed; after all this attention, he could probably turn around and sell it for enough money to hire another lawyer.
Tr!ckster, the creator-focused event that took place offsite last year during Comic-Con International, is planning a return to San Diego. Putting on an event like Tr!ckster takes money, of course, so the creators involved have turned to Indiegogo to raise the $35,000 they need.
Indiegogo works a lot like Kickstarter: You contribute money toward a particular project and get back some kind of reward based on how much you pledged. The Tr!ckster folks are offering some fairly unique incentives that stem from the creator-centric ideas behind the event itself. These include opportunities to brainstorm, get feedback from, and even co-create with, the likes of B. Clay Moore, Doug TenNapel and Steve Niles. For instance, for $300, you can choose a cocktail hour/working session with Ivan Brandon and Eric Canete, who will help you brainstorm and offer feedback over booze. And for $750, Niles will actually co-write a 22-page comic with you. If you’re serious about becoming a comic book creator and have the money to spend, this is a pretty great opportunity. And if you aren’t interested in the creator incentives, they’re also offering things like Tr!ckster T-shirts and a Mike Mignola print.
Tr!ckster 2012 will be held July 11-13 at Wine Steals/Proper, a paired restaurant/pub on J Street in San Diego.
Before he passed away last September, Sparkplug Books‘ Dylan Williams was working on three projects–the graphic novel Nurse Nurse, by Katie Skelly; a new issue of Reich by Elijah Brubaker; and The Golem of Gabirol by Olga Volozova. The publisher is using the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to raise money to publish them.
“These books are of special import not only because they are amazing in themselves, but because they are the last projects on which Sparkplug founder Dylan Williams was working before he died of cancer in September 2011. We are honored to see these through to completion and work with such great talent,” the IndieGoGo page reads.
After over three years and six volumes of comics, Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield‘s Freakangels became one of the highest-profile webcomics to come from a traditional comics industry creator. But while Ellis was an established veteran, artist Paul Duffield was a newcomer who took to the project with aplomb. Now that the series reached its conclusion earlier this year, news of what the artist would do next has been something conspicuously absent… until now.
Duffield is returning to the field of webcomics with his own series, The Firelight Isle,which follows two teens (and lifelong friends) who live in a fantastical world of magic and mythology. Unlike FreakAngels which was financed by Avatar Press, The Firelight Isle is a labor of love for Duffield, and he’s set-up a fundraising campaign for it at IndieGoGo.
The artist plans to commit one day a week to produce the comic, resulting in a weekly update but not of the size of the work-for-hire FreakAngels output of six pages per week. Duffield isn’t formally launching the project for several months, but has set up a development blog to follow his process.
There’s only one page up so far, but Hairy Steve already has a bit of a history: Creators Jamie Smart and Steve Bright lived up to their last names with an indiegogo campaign that has already overshot its goal of $2,000. (The funding levels run from “stubbly” to “hirsute.”) Smart and Bright only have one page up so far, but it has a distinct EC vibe and the promise of plenty of mashup madness. Hairy Steve is, well, a hairy beast, who hides from humans because he finds them annoying but isn’t averse to rescuing them if he sees them getting into trouble. And there’s a whole lot of trouble when he accidentally crushes a zombie’s skull, bringing a plague of walking dead into his city. Smart and Bright say they can pull this story off in 24 pages, which seems like a feat in itself, but it should be fun to watch them try.