Fanboy Rampage: James Stokoe Pulls Out Of Sullivan’s Sluggers, Mark Andrew Smith Strikes Back (UPDATE)

Sullivans_Sluggers-bookBiggerSullivan’s Sluggers was originally solicited as an Image Comics book by Mark Andrew Smith and James Stokoe.

It disappeared, then returned as a Kickstarter project which was very successful. Possibly too successful, as Mark Andrew Smith found himself with plenty of overseas orders that he’d forgotten to factor in overseas shipping.

So promises about making the book Kickstarter-exclusive went by the wayside as he printed up many more copies and sold them to stores, in an attempt to raise the extra revenue to pay for all the overseas shipping stores. He made a number of mistakes and recently ran another Kickstarter to sell copies and raise money for the shipping expenses for thousands of heavy oversized hardcover books.

Naturally he received a lot of criticism,

I can’t be the only person who thinks this is a gross misuse of Kickstarter to sell extra stock and correct a mistake in shipping cost? Why is this a Kickstarter project with a $1 “goal” instead of simply selling the stock/correcting the error via a simple online store?

Especially when people realised that the artist, James Stokoe, the draw for many who donated money, hadn’t received any royalties for the extra sales. It was never presented that he would, it was always a Mark Andrew Smith project and Stokoe was paid to draw the book out of Andrew Smith’s pocket, but it was a work for hire gig for Stokoe. And with the second Kickstarter, Stokoe decided to speak out.

He insists that he is fine with the deal he got on the book, but obviously aware that people thought that buying the book would support him financially when that wasn’t the case. Which is why he is asking the writer to take his name off any further Kickstarter or Sullivan’s Sluggers product or promotion. Basically, he’s just had enough.

It’s not so much what he says but what he doesn’t say.

First off, I want to make abundantly clear that I’m in no way involved with the direction of either of the Kickstarters, or any other other outlet where that book is sold. The Writer and myself had briefly talked about working together on the KS, but due to some disagreements, I decided to remove myself from it completely.

There’s been talk on my behalf about fair compensation from the KS earnings, but I have to say that it personally doesn’t bother me. I have been paid what I was contracted for, and I’ve been very content to keep my nose out of anything involving the book post-Kickstarter. In other words, there’s really no reason to be offended on my behalf. I’m doing fine. I understand that some backers may feel mislead in that they were supporting me financially by backing the book, and for that I apologize. There was very little I could do once the ball started rolling in that regard, shy of shitting on the whole parade.

Lastly, I’ve asked The Writer to remove my name from any future Sullivan’s Sluggers related product. It’s not a book that I feel good about endorsing, and I’d prefer not to be associated with it any longer.

Especially in that final section;

I wish The Writer all the best in getting out all the remaining books to the backers in the quickest and most ethical way possible. I’m sure he has no intention of stiffing anybody on their orders, and I’m positive that you will receive your book at some point if you have not already.

It feels like there are hidden “or else”s all over that last paragraph. I have yet to receive my copy.

UPDATE: James Stokoe doesn’t mention Mark Andrew Smith’s name once. Smith doesn’t afford him the same luxury and has hit back saying;

I hired James Stokoe for Sullivan’s years ago starting in 2009, and then he’d go missing for months and months at a time, one year turning in about 8 pages total.  8 pages in one year!

I was foolish enough to bet the house on Sullivan’s Sluggers with Stokoe and things didn’t go at all to plan with the schedule.  That said, I’ve been trying to make the tastiest lemonade from three years of James Stokoe lemons.

My life fell apart and took all kinds of turns because of Stokoe’s pace with the book.  It was fuel for the fire of me getting divorced in Korea because of money and trying to turn comics into a career and having prospects other than being an English teacher forever in South Korea.  So I’ve suffered enough.

Stokoe was a grown man, he agreed to do a job for a certain amount like many of you do every day, and took three years to finish that job which was only to deliver art for the book.  He was paid for the job in full.  I offered to pay more but he declined.  I don’t look at him like a brilliant artist but more as someone that built a house for me, finished, and moved on to what’s next. If things went smoother on the book that wouldn’t be the case but they didn’t.

I can understand the sting on his end from the perception that this Kickstarter made a billion dollars and that people think I should write him a check for half of it but this guy ruined my life.  No one cares when books don’t make any money which most of mine haven’t for the past ten years under Image.

Any project that takes three years to get turned in is going to have it’s amount of bad blood.  It was absolute hell for me on my end, and it’s a shame that people continue to make it a hell for me saying that I ripped him off and by spreading the story and other stories that aren’t true.  I paid on the front end for two years of hell, and now his camp has been stirring the pot and causing so much commotion and trouble posting every story of story, most of which aren’t true or have been warped again and again.

Really, it’s like having an ex and they’re not happy and are going to say all of the worst things about you, and get people worked up to try to take sides.

It’s a shame that this laundry had to be aired, because it’s really no one’s business but they’ve done a good job of doing that.

In the past few months have just been nonstop bullying, targeted harassment from his camp, comics alliance doing hit articles (And I’m the only one they’ve done for their Kickstarted reviews to date, 3 of them), and people anonymously on 4Chan posting the worst things that aren’t true and reposting and re spreading misinformation.

It’s Fanboy Rampage time!

UPDATE: The second Kickstarter has now been suspended.

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