Wasting Josh Hoopes’ Time Over His Wizard Scam

Special thanks to Alistair, Bleeding Cool writer, who strung this along so much.

Bleeding Cool had repeatedly covered the story that comic industry conman Josh Hoopes was scamming young creators for hundreds, thousands of dollars, by posing as a non-existing Wizard World executive called Greg Garwood. This time, however, we decided to go all the way. This was the scam that Josh posted on a number of Help Wanted sites…

Wizard Magazine seeking out new comic ideas for publication around Christmas

As we are just starting to release info regarding this new event we won’t be advertising in Wizard Mag until the end of Nov to hopefully start getting getting the first set of issues out by Christmas.

How this works is… You send us your best idea.. basically a synopsis for us to judge withing the first few min, to see if it’s worthy of us publishing and marketing.

Then you have two options…. One is to assemble your own team, of course at no cost to you, or hire on one of our professional artists for your book at a reduced rate. How does this work? Simple we cover the rest of the cost, plus publishing the first run of 30k books plus advertising in Wizard mag. So option two is a bit of an investment, but if you think your story warrants one of the best season pros out there then it’s probably worth.

You can go for the minimum which is 10 pages plus cover or all the way up to a 3 part mini series of 24 pages a piece!! Be sure to include your full name, a little bit about you where you live, Etc……

This is a huge opportunity for the right person, creator who has always wanted to get there story out there…….

Naturally, Wizard denied it was anything to do with them. Alistair emailed “Greg” and then it went quiet. Until he sudenly got back in touch.

Alistair:

Hi Greg,

Good to hear from you again. I was wondering what happened there!

Anyway – I’ve got some questions about the rights that I’d keep and what you’d be allocated and the revenue that I’d receive once the 30k comics are published. What are your terms?

Also, I did have an artist, who’s also really great at lettering and colouring attached, but the other day I accidentally slept with his girlfriend, so I’m not sure that he’s gonna want to be in on it now.

I have a great story though! It’s like Watchmen but with sentient dinosaurs. What’s really original about it is that there is loads of foreshadowing of the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, which is like the giant alien squid in Watchmen, but it’s a great tragedy how they didn’t actually manage to pull together as a race, and let the mammals take over, instead of like how at the end of Watchmen the world comes together. Which means it’s actually quite deep and meaningful and important. The meteor is brought to earth by an Ozymandias analogue dinosaur who, through studying astrology, learns how to reverse it, to make the earth affect the solar system, rather than the other way around. Rorsharkasaurus is actually a type of Megalodon shark too, who is evolving to walk on land – (raw shark! get it?). The twist though, is that the dinosaurs get wiped out – OR DO THEY?! Because there might be potential for a sequel, set in the modern day and if this does well I don’t want to rule that out, so need to leave the ending open.

I really think that this could even have great movie potential. As
it’s a first time thing though, I think that it could easily be done in ten pages, which was your minimum, right? Because it it turns out I will have to pay an artist, I’ve got some precious family heirlooms I could sell, but I’m not sure how much they’re worth, so it might be sensible to go in easy and at the minimum level, at first. If your plan is to distribute 30k copies through Wizard, then I’m sure I could get this back easily though, right?

So – let me know what the next step is, and whether you like my idea!

I like it! Okay, I hate it. Anyone would. But Greg would have to think differently if he wanted to scam Alistair.

Gregory:

Thanks for getting back to us.
I will give you a quick run down of how this works.
First we need you to send us a synopsis of your story in Word Doc. no more than one page.
If you are given the go ahead we send you a NDA Doc to sign and date.
Then you have the option as stated to assemble a team… Artists
Colorist, Etc………
Or you can invest with us into one of our professional seasoned artists whom have worked for Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse.
We already have two people whom have signed up with that plan for 2 24 page books. The advantage is you will have a pro gracing the pages of the cover and the interior pages… the more people will see and buy your book and the better chance you will be offered a mini series or an ongoing series…. Which in turn can lead to a movie deal and toys.
So let me know what you think and send us your best story!
Talk soon, Gregory Garwood

Alistair:

Okay. Sounds cool.

I’ll send over a synopsis tomorrow.

Tell me more about the artists you’ve got and the options available.
How does that work?

Gregory:

OK how it works…… Normally these artists make a page rate of $500 per page. So we, (Wizard) Have agreed to pay part of that fee which is around $350 per page and the creator owned story holder, (You) would be responsible for the rest, which translates to a reduced page rate of $150 per page at a minimum of 10 pages plus cover. This money is reimbursed after 30 days plus what ever profits have been made from the initial run of the book… Whether it’s a 10 page intro to your story or a 3 to 6 part mini series of 24 pages a piece…. so it would be more like an investment, that would probably bear fruit shortly after 5 times over. That’s why many are already going with this plan as it’s a for sure. As far as artist, I already know whe have a few that are donating there skills… like Ryan Ottley, Jim Lee, John Romita Jr, Greg Capullo, just to mention a few……
Look forward to seeing what you got!
Take care, Greg

That’s right folks, Jim Lee is part of this deal. Despite being an employee and exclusive of DC Comics. So Alistair sent Greg his symopsis. Get ready for your eyes to bleed. How will Greg react to this creative monstrosity?

Hi Greg!

Here’s my synopsis below. Let me know what you think! I really hope you like it! I’m getting some money together for the art so am really looking forward to seeing what a great artist can do with this.

Here it is:

Synopsis for Comic

In a World… where intelligent reptiles have evolved an advanced society that parallels our own, someone is murdering the few brave sauropods that took it upon themselves to maintain law and order. This world is one in great tension. There is foreboding about the changes to come to this world. The mammals are coming and they are seen scurrying about in the edges of the pages, occasionally looming ominously, even though they are tiny.

We open on an anthroporphic dinosaur flying out of a window, but as we pull back we see that the window is like a termite hill, a building assembled from the very earth itself, in tune with nature. Then, the scene changes to another, oddly patterned walking megalodon shark dinosaur, whose skin tones are constantly changing in a chameleonic camouflage type style – which has to look super cool, by the way – investigates the scene.

Then, the scene changes to another dinosaur, who is working in what looks like a laboratory. This dinosaur is blue and translucent. He’s related to jellyfish, probably. I’m not sure how to explain this yet, but we’ll work something out. So long as it looks awesome, that’s all that matters. He’s working in a lab on what could be a great discovery. (We don’t know this yet, but it’ll be fire!).

When the dinosaurs gather to engage in a ritual cairn building, to bury the first dinosaur that was killed, the blue see-through dinosaur’s experiments are accused of killing other dinosaurs by means that they don’t understand, but they’re afraid it’s to do with his experiments into fire, because they sort of look burned. The blue dinosaur then decides to fly off into space, because he’s actually got wings too and is a sort of proto-pterosaur. The other dinosaurs then figure out that it was actually a different dinosaur, one that they used to hang out with, Ozymandisaurus, who’s behind everything. He’s already found out how to create fire and is planning to give it to the mammals, so that they can be a threat that the dinosaurs can unite against. But there’s also an asteroid coming, and some of the dinosaurs, with super-good vision can see it coming from space, and they tell stories about it, but they don’t know what it is, so they say it’s the black thing-in-the-sky.

When the shark dinosaur threatens to reveal Ozymandisaurus’s plan, he tells him that he’s already given fire to the mammals – BUT! In the big twist, the black thing-in-the-sky hits the earth, but sadly and ironically, instead of uniting the dinosaurs, it wipes them out, and the small mammal creatures now have fire too!

I’m pretty sure we can do all this in ten pages.

Gregory:

I we have to hoestly say. Apart from a few minor wrinkles. You have a solid story there. We think we can give you a green light on this and. Send you out a non disclosure agreement. We can also look into an artist for your story since that’s the route you want to go. And the smartest. Also if I remember correctly you are only wanting to do this as a one shot 10 page book right? Get back to us when you can. Greg

So the next step will be getting you a non disclosure agreement nda. Also we will be getting you one of our profssional artists from marvel and dc who will be taking on the story. Did you say you can do 10 pages plus cover? The artist work at a reduced rate as we compensate them with the rest of the money. Your only responsibility would be for $150 per page at 10 pages plus cover. Once that is out of the way we will be giving you a contract to look over and sign. Sound good? Let me know if you can do that then we can get you on board asap. Greg

Alistair:

Okay, cool… but can’t we find a slightly cheaper artist who’ll work for the $350 per page? That seems enough to get even someone really good.

Gregory:

The cheapest we have is around $350 per page, but would still be $100 per page, black and white for 10 pages plus cover.
That was more to give you a general idea, but it’s pretty close to what we are looking at price wise.
Best, Greg.

Alistair:

Okay. Cool. Send me the paperwork and I’ll see about getting the money together.

Gregory:

OK Alistair… go ahead , look this over and sign.
Also if you can please give us your full name and contact info.
After that we can deel with payment and getting a professional artist on the book.
Greg

NONDISCLOSURE AND NONCOMPETITION AGREEMENT

The following sample nondisclosure and noncompete agreement language can be included within an employment contract or used as a stand-alone agreement for employees working without a general employment contract. Always have an attorney review such contractual language since the requirements of an enforceable noncompete agreement can vary greatly from state to state.

1. This Agreement is entered into on this 28 day of October in the year 2012, by and between Alistair CKPSmith (Employee), whose home address [REDACTED], in the city of Farnham, county of Surrey, state of England, and Wizard Magazine__________(Employer),_________ whose business address is_____________________, in the city of _New York _______________________, county of_________The United States of America _____________________ .

2. Nondisclosure. At all times while this Agreement is in effect, and after the termination or expiration of this Agreement, Employee shall refrain from disclosing to anyone outside of Employer’s business any of Employer’s customer lists, trade secrets, and other proprietary or confidential information.

3. Noncompetition. After the termination or expiration of this Agreement, Employee shall not engage in competition with Employer for a period of _______ years, within the following geographic area: _________________________ [describe area covered by noncompetition agreement, using city names, square-mile radius descriptions, or other geographic parameters].

4. Competition defined. Competition means working for a company engaged in, or engaging in self-employment in, the Comics [describe business]; or providing services similar to those provided while employed by Employer to any person or business that was a client of Employer during Employee’s tenure. [Alternatively, this provision may be confined to prohibiting only the same type of work that Employee performed for Employer, for a competing or self-owned company conducting the same business as Employer.]

5. Damages. In the event Employee breaches this agreement, Employee agrees to pay One Billion Dollars as liquidated damages.

___________________________________ ___________________________________

Employer Employee

That’s right folks. A bloilerplate NDA without any of the company’s information filled in, with a Wizard logo. Notally unenforeable, but just to be sure, Alistair signed with Jimmy Savile’s signature.

Alistair:

Thanks. I’ll get it back to you ASAP. Can you send me over the version with your details and signature filled in too so I can sign that version? Okay to print it and sign it and scan it and send it back or do you need me to post a copy with my signature on back to you?
Really sorry man, but my printer’s not working, so what I’ve done is take a picture of my signature and paste it in. Hope that’s okay.

Gregory:

Next we need to get the deposit for the artist who will be assigned to your story.

Alistair:

Who’s that going to be? How does this bit work?

And can you send me back the contract with your info? Just for my records and so I can claim back taxes etc.

Alistair:

Hi Greg,

I hope you’re okay and haven’t been caught up in the hurricane
frankenstorm thing. I’m not sure which areas of the USA are which. San
Diego is right near New York, right?

Well, I hope everything’s alright and we can move on with this as soon
as possible. Let me know what to do next.
Hi – what’s the status of this? Will you be sending over your version of
the contract that I signed soon?

I really want to go ahead, and I’ve got some money together for a deposit
now.

Thanks,

Gregory:

Ill have that for you this afternoon. If you indeed have the money ready for the artist you can deposit the amount said at accountings@rocketmail.com

Alistair:

How do I do that?

Gregory:

You need a paypal account

Alistair:

Oh, okay. I have one of those, but it’s not linked to the account I’ve got money in. Can I send if via BACS or mail a cheque?

Gregory:

Sorry paypal only.

Alistair:

Okay, I’ve tried that but am not sure it went through. If it didn’t, I may need to set up the other account. I can get it to you quickly via BACS though, as I can do that from my workplace’s accounts system. Doesn’t your accounts dept use BACS or IACS? Maybe I could get in touch with them direct? Would it be via the Business Affairs contact on this page? http://www.wizardworld.com/contactus.html ? Is that the right guy?

Gregory:

It went through.. but was only 4 cents.

Alistair:

Oh.
That’s weird.
It must have taken all that was in the other account, but not defaulted over to the one with money in then, for the rest of it. Did you see my message about BACS? Should I contact your accounts guys? Or do you want to keep it simple and I can mail you a cheque or money order?
The accounts guys would know what to do though, right?

Gregory:

This has to go through me and it has to be paypal. You would have to chose the amount to send. In this case you only put in 4 cents. If you can’t do this then we will have to terminate the agreement.

Alistair:

No, I put in £175. Here’s what my receipt says:

Payment Sent (Unique Transaction ID6ED95691TA630823B)

8 Nov 2012 Payment For Gregory Garwood Unclaimed …

-£175.00 GBP

Related Transaction

Sent to:
Gregory Garwood (The recipient of this payment is Verified)

Email:
accountings@rocketmail.com

Amount sent:
-£175.00 GBP

Fee amount:
£0.00 GBP

Net amount:
-£175.00 GBP

Gregory:

Don’t know what to tell you. You have a working paypal account which is what we are using for this. If you can do it great. If not then we can part ways. Also the amount was far more than 175. It supposed to be $100 per page for 10 pages. Doesn’t sound like this will happen. If you can then let me know.

Alistair:

I thought you wanted a 10% deposit. I figured that for 12 pages, plus cover, converted to dollars from pounds, that was about right.
I can definitely do this, but will need a different payment method, as I can’t link the other account to paypal.
Can I just call up the accounts guys? I’m sure it would be pretty easy for them to do via BACS – or I can mail a cheque.
I really, really want to go ahead with this. I know that the world needs my story and it’ll really help me break through.

Gregory:

Ok. Let me explain this one last time. First of all I never quoted you a 10% deposit if there was to be a deposit then the minimum would be 50% also like I said that the transaction has to be done with me and through paypal. No check. No money order and no b to b. If you can’t follow these guidlines then we wll be terminating the agreement. Thanks.

Alistair:

Okay, well, this is really disappointing for me. So near… yet so far…I’ll have to take my story elsewhere then. But if you can figure out a different payment method, then I’d love to procede.
What could have been…

What could have been indeed…

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