Darren G Davis is the publisher of Bluewater Comics, who have come in for considerable criticism of late, whether for not paying creators, asking creators to sign work-for-hire-back-end contracts, and much more, there have certainly been some disgruntled folk involved with Bluewater, who specialise in biographical comic books that, once upon a time, sold large numbers.
One of those who complained about non-payment is one Jaymes Reed who had a creator-owned line of biographical comics about comedians published by Bluewater. And below is a copy of a letter he has just sent to ComiXology, after discovering that Bluewater are using ComiXology to sell the very books that he withdrew from the publisher after claims of not getting paid.
To Whom It May Concern,
Hello. My name is Jaymes Reed. I've written many comics over the past several years, but my main business is 'DigitalCAPS: Comic Book Lettering by Jaymes Reed'. I currently letter for Avatar Press (Crossed, George RR Martin's In The House Of The Worm), Capstone Publishing (Sports Illustrated Kids book line) and many others.
Over the weekend, a friend pointed out to me that Bluewater Productions is selling some products via your service of which the copyright belongs to me and they do not have permission to sell my series on your service. The series is called "COMICS" (a biography line about comedians of all sorts).
There were four paper published issues I wrote/lettered and paid for the production of 100% that were originally published by Bluewater for me, but then I left their company due to non-payment and took my series with me… since I created it.
Following my departure, he produced MORE issues of my series (Sam Kinison, Monty Python, a collection of my previous four books, along with a short Eddie Murphy bio) with a new [horrible] writer, again without asking my permission, and he also changed the copyright information in the new books to reflect that it belonged to Bluewater, which is false. I can prove the original four biography publications we produced beginning in 2011 (George Carlin, Lucille Ball, The Three Stooges & Saturday Night Live) were copyright Jaymes Reed [me], and I can also point out which books I'm talking about and/or scan the copyright indicia from each original publication and send them to you to show they acknowledge, at least at one time, that I was the owner of the series.
I want my series REMOVED from Comixology completely, and I am hoping this email to you does the trick. Honestly, I've had my fill of Darren G. Davis/Bluewater and his [ALLEGATION REACTED] operation that is notorious for non-payments. I'm one step away from just blowing my money on an attorney to do something about that guy, so I hope you can do something about this ASAP.
Keep the Vision,
At the time, Davis seemed to have washed his hands of the books saying "We are sad to see the COMICS line go and wish Jaymes the best with them. They are solid books with a lot of legal problems waiting to happen. We have had issues with ALL of his titles because of copyright infringement. From the Lucille Ball estate, The Three Stooges, George Carlin and more. All of them had legal content issues and Jaymes does not understand the concept of copyright infringement – and we tried to help him with it. Doing biography comics is not an easy thing to do and there are a lot of legal issues with doing them. I have seen the pages from the upcoming WKRP book and it is has so many legal content problems."
None of those legal issues seem to have emerged however. And they don't seem to bother Davis anymore, as he seems happy to publish the titles.
I screencapped these images yesterday. By the time it came to write this article however, the listings had been removed by ComiXology, though they declined to give any official comment. This one remained for a while however,
Until it too was taken down. Jaymes tells me that "this cover was not allowed to be used according to the artist, so I did not plan to use it…. The whole series was dedicated to my mother following her death, but this one was particularly dedicated to my mother… even stars her and her family when she was a little girl as the narrator of Lucy's life. Darren asked me once to re-release it and call it "TRIBUTE," but I said no, which he doesn't know the meaning of."
Darren G Davis declined to respond to any of the major allegations, though he did say on this last point "That conversation never happened. The Tribute line of comic books – has not been running that long as a full series", something Jaymes refutes saying "I don't care what he denies, the shifty bastard. He asked me to re-release it with a new cover, just as he has done. But I would not reprint that cover because Rob Baumer, the artist of Darren's TRIBUTE cover, was not paid and got mad because his Carlin cover was never used, so he asked for me not to use any of his work. So I reprinted the book under my Levity monicker and had a new cover done. Just didn't call it TRIBUTE"
Jaymes plans on publishing two new titles this year, based on WKRP and Redd Foxx, but would like to clear this matter up first…