Further to my last post about the TokyoPop pilot program, I’ve swapped a couple of interesting e-mails with “industry insiders” (who I have not asked for permission to quote, so I shan’t name).
It seems like alot of the ire coming up in this specific case can be traced back to the fact that some folks feel TokyoPop has a very bad track record for exploiting new talent.
Bryan Lee O’Malley has recently posted a number of objections regarding TokyoPop’s default contract for their new Manga Pilot Program.
Firstly the obligatory disclosure that I have a gigantic man-crush on Bryan. Anyone who has ever worked at The Beguiling is automatically cooler than me, but come on – “Lost at Sea”, “Hopeless Savages”, “Scott Pilgrim”!? I have lost this battle already. So I actually was going to limit my comment on this issue to an e-mail to him directly.
But since a lot of other people have started commenting on his original post, especially creators I have huge respect for
[Edit - I owe Lea an apology as this whole kerfuffle started with her post, I mis-read the timing of the posts .. worse - I mis-spelled her name (which she was too polite to point out). How bush league is that?]
(Lea Hernandez, Kris Straub, I’m looking at you) I felt it was important to get some kind of contrarian opinion out there for anyone who might be Googling.
So please take what I have to say from a place of deep respect for some of my favourite creators out there: There are bad screwjob contracts out there. TokyoPop may have a record of bad Original Property Agreements
(of which I can’t comment, having never seen one, or heard anything about one, ever) [Edit - No, their record is pretty bad. See my amended take at the bottom]. However as someone with no particular tie to TokyoPop whatsoever (other than devoting a copious amount of my bookshelf to Shojo titles which-shall-not-be-named) this particular agreement is not one of them.