Sunday, November 15, 2009

A publish without a contract is copywrong

Years and years and years ago, I was a high school student, or just out of high school, and was excited whenever one of my meager drawings got published. This one fanzine editor and publisher wanted to run one of my drawings, but there was a caveat: she wasn't going to pay me and she was going to keep the copyright and publish it anytime she wanted to. She was pushing herself to be my agent. Now, don't get me wrong, she was the agent to at least two of my artistic mentors in the area and she was publishing and printing a lot of their work. I just had a few small problems with what she told me:
1: No contract
2: No payment, not even a single copy of the magazine for my portfolio
3: who asked her to represent me?

Seriously. Who asked her? I don't remember ever asking her to represent me.

Now, all the information in the above about her ownership of my copyright came out after she had published it. She wanted more images from me, specifically ST:NG characters because it was mainly an ST:NG fanzine. I didn't want that. I wanted to explore my larp character's history and write my own stories.

When she told me she owned the copyright and after she refused to give me a copy of the fanzine (I was going to have to buy my own copy!) I told her that the copyright was MINE and unless she paid me for it, (free copy? hmm? is that too much to ask?) I wasn't going to let her publish anymore of them.

She never did give me a free copy and never got to publish anymore of my artwork.

The picture was later published by another fanzine who happily gave me as many copies as I needed or wanted. I would have been happy with that publisher printing my work except that he was not interested in being my agent, but would accept any submissions I ever gave him and always happily gave me at least one copy.

This is Aylen M'Khose. Race, unknown. Definitely a telekinetic/telepathic race. In the image below, she had the ability to turn into a mermaid, but if that was a racial ability or from the medical doctor's magic sick bays, I forget. RPG from a long time ago, where all my notes are now lost to 20 years of life.

Aylen M'Khose

The story represented here is about how she was (from left upper) rescued a friend while in mermaid form, attacked a Romulan, was assaulted, killed someone, and was stuck on an away team she didn't want to be on (bottom two panels). The centre panel represents a period about 75 years after the smaller panels (ST:NG uniform vs ST:SFS) and how she was sent back in time on Vulcan to early in the Vulcan development. That's mount Seleya in the background. She couldn't return to her time and lived out her life as a hermit on Vulcan, staying away from the primitive Vulcans so as not to interfere. NOT! She did die in Vulcan's past, but not after having at least one child, whose descendants probably did not survive all the wars Vulcan had - I didn't want to explore that idea. She had another child before she went to the past, T'aysha, who was raised on her homeworld and came to Vulcan early in ST:NG time to Seleya and found her mother's emblem in the dirt.

The star Aylen wears on her forehead represents her family crest. Not that high up in the family hierarchy, but still among the nobility because of her abilities. When T'aysha found the emblem, the knowlege that her lost mother was truly dead overwhelmed her. T'aysha, herself, was half human, and therefore had limited telepathy/telekinesis, but her psychometry told her exactly what happened to her mother while she wore the emblem. The grave that was excavated nearby was one of a none-Vulcan female, but was badly deteriorated. Where it would be a breeze on Aylen to lift something the size of a shuttle, T'aysha could barely lift a phaser. Aylen was a "long distance" telepath and only needed to touch minds once with someone to be able to hear them, T'aysha was a line of sight telepath. None of Aylen's people enjoyed showing off their abilities because of one side effect: hunger. Use too much "push" and they got ravenous, yet if they didn't use their abilities, they would atrophy.

Aylen was my "superhero" ST character. T'aysha was more reasonable. One was created when my life was in chaos and I needed a superhero to help me live it, and the other was created after the worst of the chaos. I killed of Aylen M'Khose in the stories I wrote during the day simply because I had no need for her any longer. It's the Star Trek universe - if they had at least 3 different versions of male immortal godlike creatures, why not a female one who shows restraint?

Aylen M'Khose eventually morphed into a different genre's and lost the M'Khose. I'll post more on that version of her later.

I was 17 when I came up with Aylen M'Khose and the original of that image has a nasty bit of writing on the back. I had submitted a copy of it to my art teacher in the Grade 12 Art Portpholios class and he wrote my grade on the back. I think it was an A+. The teacher wanted us to do something that took at least 20 hours to do. I was over 30 when I handed in the copy. He also demanded to see the original and I showed him. I used technical pens and (shudder) permanent ink at the time because that was all I had.

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