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Thread: How To Get Paid By Zenescope

  1. #1
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    Default How To Get Paid By Zenescope

    Earlier this year, Bleeding Cool reported that comics publisher Zenescope had been having trouble paying certain comic book creators. Well they just paid one of them. After they were forced to by a collection agency. And, for thirty percent, that agency is willing to do the same for your Zenescope debt.

    Comics colourist Garry Henderson reports;
    Well it only took almost 4 fucking years and a 30% fee to a collection agency, but I FINALLY got the rest of my money from Zenescope.

    How those fucks can still stay in business with the constant problems they have with paying creators is beyond me. I'm not the only person that's had that problem with that company, I'm just the only person that isn't scared to say shit about it in an open forum.

    If you decide to work for em after reading this, thinking to yourself "Maybe things are different now." then you deserve all the stress and ulcers that come your way. I've talked to way too many people in the past asking if I'd recommend them working for Zenescope and told them to avoid at all costs. They would do it anyway thinking things would be different for them only to tell me months later that Zenescope hadn't paid them either.

    They'll constantly waste an asston of money attending conventions, yet can't make sure their artists are paid in anything resembling a timely fashion.

    I'll say it again: Four. Fucking. Years. And I still lost money by having to pay a collector to go after their asses.

    When I first started working for them, they paid on time for the first few books I worked on, and then the money stopped coming. They'd feed me all kinds of bullshit excuses. Being a naive little newbie at the time, I'd buy their excuses and agree to do another project. Eventually it got to the point where they were asking me to do 2 more 4 issue minis as well as continuing on Grimm's, while owing me over $11k for past work. I finally woke up and told them I wouldn't do another book until they started making some payments.

    I owed flatters a ton of money because of the Zenescope fuckfest. I had to work a 4 issue mini for another publisher and use every penny of that project to pay my flatters off. It wasn't even until last year when I finally started seeing a little bit of daylight financially.

    Hell, it was so bad at one time that I told Zene to send me a shitload of comps to sell at the Dallas Con in exchange for writing off a couple of the smaller open invoices. They happily agreed to that, and then acted like they were doing me some huge fucking favor by including variant covers.

    Fuck those guys and their shitty little unimaginitive asses. They can all tongue punch my fart box.

    An edit for people asking about the collection agency thing.

    If you can wait it out, there will probably be another group collection thing set up in Feb. If you're owed, and it's well past due, then by all means feel free to jump in. It will cost 30%, but that's taken after they collect the money. If you want to join in, simply send me a note titled Zenescope Collection. From there I'll get all the info from you to pass on to the guys handling the collection, and they'll get in touch with you. Again, that'll be in Feb. If you want to wait until later to send me a note "Just in case they do pay", that's fine. Just don't be scared to go after what is rightfully yours because of some fabled blacklist.
    He later clarifies;
    Yeah, it was huge pain trying to get my money out of them. I honestly did try to work with them on it. I told them to just send me a $100-$200 a month until it was paid off, and I'd be happy. They did that for about 6 months, and then they just stopped making payments for over a year. After a year of the runaround I started getting a little vocal about it on message boards and whatnot, so they started payments again. Then they stopped again. After another 6 months or so of the runaround, I got a lot more vocal about it. When I started outing them on film sites every time they made some announcement about one of their properties being bought up by Hollywood, they started sending me emails saying "We're trying to work things out with you, but you're making it difficult by posting that stuff. Go delete all your comments and we'll pay you." It was bs, because they hadn't even been replying to my emails, so I told them "Pay me, and I'll go delete it and shut up for good." Never saw anything, so I said fuck it and sent a collector after em. It cost me a little bit of money, but putting that thing to rest was worth it.

  2. #2
    Zen Master of Cool ShinAkuma666's Avatar
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    Message to Zenescope: I will not buy another TPB or HC from you until this creator and the other ones wich are owed money are paid IN FULL.

    How will I know ? Easy, Rich always keeps up with that sort of thing, get your sh!t together and treat people with respect.

    I am very dissapointed by this because while I might not be one of your core reader tha gets everthing you publishes but I own quite a few of your books; Se7en, Wonderland, The Waking, Neverland and some of the Grimm Fairy Tales TPB.

    Was also going to get The Waking 2, Grimm Fairy Tales omnibus, Irresistible, Sleepy Hollow, just to name a few.

    Theres so many great publishers out there that it wont be hard for me to spend my money on, and I know other readers will do the same.

    I will not contribute to a company that stabs his employees in the back like that, no way ! So please, get your act together !

    And for people who are owed money, speak up ! Your not getting your money back by staying silent on this injustice no matter what the company might say.

  3. #3
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    Good.

    Creators / employees need paid. No faith in Zenescope after this. This shouldn't have happened in the first place, and I've been hearing about it for a while. Is Rick Olney involved at Zenescope?


    With Tolerance For Same Tactic Here As Over There...

    Marq

  4. #4
    Dean of Cool University FilmBuffRich's Avatar
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    They can all tongue punch my fart box.
    I need to find a way to work this phrase into conversation today...

  5. #5
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    Exactly the same thing happened to me when I worked for Zeno.
    I got the runaround, and it took almost a year to get paid for the work I did.

  6. #6
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    There is nothing more that I'd like to see from the comics industry than to see THIS company pay off their outstanding debts, stop making comics and close their doors. I know that's not really going to happen on it's own though. The people who have been burned (like Garry and myself) need to speak up so that others can avoid it. The people who have been buying their comics need to STOP, so Zenescope can't do this to anyone else. It took a little over a year to get all my money, and I was owed $4k, less than half what Garry was. Before I took on work from them, a single creator who I know from conventions warned me that they've had issues with getting payments. I did a little bit of searching and found only ONE article that really talked about the situation with them from 2-3 years prior, that had since been retracted, saying they had gotten their shit together. So I took on the work thinking things had changed. I even did so at a lower rate than I typically work at because "hey, it's published work!" and I figured it'd help get me out there. I was put onto a 48 page book, the first in a 3 part mini-series and busted my ass to get it done, even sacrificing a large amount of sleep and hours at my full-time job.

    The contract that I had signed said I'd get paid 30 days after publication, which was supposed to be about 60 days for the books I was on (the books DID get published on time). I finished the first book and they wanted me on the next in the series right away, so I didn't think twice and jumped on, excited to have more work. I live in the Tri-State area, and we were hit by Hurricane Irene near the end of my run on book#2, so I was without power for over a week and got delayed. The editor on the book gave me a bit of attitude about it, (like there was anything I could do about the situation,) but I worked so hard when the power came back that the pages were only 5-6 days late. By the time I had turned everything in, I was about a week away from my first payment being due. I was lucky enough to start hearing the stories then. I was even contacted by the late Dave Hoover (this was 10 days before he passed away) who told me that they owed him $6K for all his work on the "Charmed" series they did and how hard it was to get the money. He URGED me to not take on more work from them. He even went as far as to say that if CBS wasn't part of that deal, he'd still be owed that money, which I now am sure is a fact. So the day before my payment was due, I sent off an email. Then I started getting the run-around.

    "Hi Chris,

    I'm sorry but I'm still waiting on the funds to be able to send a payment. You're on my list to pay as soon as possible."
    I contacted them a few times a month and always got back the same response. They asked me to work on a 3rd book, 2-3 weeks later, but I declined having not received payment for the first one yet and hearing a couple more stories pop up. I was lucky enough to get my first payment in full about 3 months late and it took another year of hounding and allowing Rich to use my name in an article to get the payment (in two installments, 6-7 months apart) for the second book. After that article I also got a passive aggressive email by the president of Zenescope FORWARDED to me from another employee:

    Dear Chris,

    As you may know Rich Johnson released an article on August 13th detailing our cash flow problems and inability to pay some artists on the work they have done for us. We assume the intent of this article was to help the artists that have approached Mr. Johnson get paid. Unfortunately this article did not improve our cash flow , make any money magically appear in our bank accounts, increase our sales or most importantly convince the companies that owe us money to pay their bills. The result of the article has actually made our cash flow position far worse. Many artists are demanding to be paid immediately on invoices that are not yet due or refusing to work at all without being paid up front.

    We are currently working with our advisory and legal team and looking at the various options that will amend our current situation. We are confident that we will emerge from our current cash flow problems and fully intend to pay all artists that have open past due invoices. We do expect that it will take until some time to fix these problems and do not anticipate they will be resolved until well into the 4th quarter of 2012.

    We do sympathize with any artist who has over due invoices with us and again our intention is to take care of those as quickly as it is possible with respect to the current state of our business.

    Sincerely,


    Joe Brusha
    President
    Zenescope Entertainment
    That line I bolded is the important one. It's where you can see the veil of "professionalism" crumbling. First of all, I had emailed him directly on more than one occasion, you'd think, given the situation I'd have gotten a direct response. No. It was sent to me from the "Administrative & Accounting Assistant". It also comes with the condescending and accusatory subtext that tries to imply that I am the one responsible now for not getting paid. These are the games they play. I primarily hadn't spoken up because I was more concerned about them playing more games with the money I was owed than I was about my reputation. When I stopped caring about that, I started talking. I decided that if it meant giving up the last 25% of what they had owed me to see them put out of business it was worth it. JUST so they couldn't do it to anyone else. Since I was lucky enough to receive my final check, I feel responsible in keeping people informed so that they don't make the same mistake that Garry or I did in trusting them.


    EDIT: I should clarify about the Dave Hoover thing since I've seen some confusion as to what I meant. He did not specify the time frame in which his incident occurred to me, but did say that he eventually got his money. He didn't imply that he was fighting them up to the time he contacted me. He did say that it was a lot of work to get it from them though and that he doubted he would have had, had CBS not been involved (Charmed is their property, licensed to Zenescope for the comic).
    Last edited by Chris Shields; 12-17-2012 at 08:59 PM.

  7. #7
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    I had been joking about Rick Olney being at Zenescope earlier. Now I'm actually wondering.



    With Tolerance For Scams...

    Marq
    Garry Henderson and cjones77 like this.

  8. #8
    Exceedingly Cool The Last Ronin's Avatar
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    I'm glad he exposed them, and that he got his money.
    It's a shame that more artists don't expose the bad eggs in the industry, it would stop a lot of other artists getting screwed.

  9. #9
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    Why isn't there a general boycott of Zenescope by comics pros?

  10. #10
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    Getting paid late at first wasn't really that bad. You really do want to believe that they're having all the financial troubles they were tossing out for excuses. You try to give them the benefit of the doubt. But then you're sitting there trying your damnedest to make ends meet because you don't have that money you were owed.

    While yer enjoying your 1 bag of ramen noodle a day diet:

    Zenescope's wasting cash going to EVERY convention.
    They run contests a couple of years in a row paying for a round trip to SDCC to some random girl who had nothing to do with the creation of the comics.
    They rent a bar and host a party at Philly and give away cash prizes for cosplayers.
    They pay their cover artists before they even think about considering paying the interior artists. While that doesn't sound all that bad, keep in mind they're paying top dollar for their covers, and they had countless variants for each issue. And the thing that really sticks in your craw regarding the cover artists is when you have guys like Ebas saying shit like "If you aren't willing to sacrifice for your art, then you need to quit and become a dishwasher." Easy to say when you're the one getting paid.

    All the while, you're trying to remember if you had beef or chicken ramen the day before.

    I was working on an issue of GFT the December before I quit working with them. One of the editors had mistakenly sent me an email with the deadline for a different book. That book was due in mid January. My book was actually due late December, but I didn't know it. I end up catching the flu towards the end of December. One of the editors calls me and asks me where the pages were. I tell them they're not colored, I had the flu, but it wouldn't be an issue since I still had 2-3 weeks to get the book done. They tell me no, the book is due in 3 days. Fuck me. Since it's so late, they won't be able to find another colorist to do it in time. So I colored the book in 2.5 days, while I was sick with the flu. It took them almost 3 years to pay that invoice. "Sacrifice for your art" my ass...

    The Dave Hoover thing pisses me off to no end. Hoov was a friend. Those jizzbuckets should be ran out of business just for the shit Dave had to go through.

    I'm gonna stop now before I keep getting myself worked up. Fuck those guys.

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