Tag Archives: check the date

I Can Finally Announce It! YAY!

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I’ve been dropping hints at the last two conventions I attended (at my panels and at my booth) that I’ve been given a once-in-a-lifetime gig, rebooting one of the most important “Golden Age” characters in comics.

Now I can tell you.

It’s arguably the MOST important character in all of comics’ history, the one that started it all.

The Yellow Kid.

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Yup.

The first comic strip character in history is finally getting some attention in this land where comics are finally king.  Not only a comic book relaunch from IDW, but a Hollywood relaunch as well, with a major motion picture due out this August.

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Back in the waning days of the 19th Century, a cartoonist named R. F. Outcault single-handedly invented the comic strip with a series of continuous stories told in illustrated form.  The series was called “Hogan’s Alley”, and it featured a precocious Asian fellow, charmingly named “The Yellow Kid”, who literally wore his thoughts on his sleeve.

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Here the “Kid” is seen hanging around with Outcault’s other major comic strip creation, “Buster Brown”.

The strip ran for years in New York, it even created the first copyright and intellectual property lawsuit about a pop-culture character when competing newspapers used teh character without permission.  It’s where the term “yellow journalism” comes from.

But now he’s coming back as a major Warner Brothers film, a WB animated TV series, and a comic book miniseries from IDW.

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I haven’t really started yet, but I’ll be writing and providing covers for the series, with a fairly new artist named Pavel Martin providing the interiors for the first three issues at least.  Pavel’s an ex-bootcamper student of mine I recommended for the project and I’m thrilled to be working with him professionally.  I think he’s really ready.

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Some of Pavel’s early sketches.  The skateboard wasn’t our idea, that comes from the TV people, he’s going to have a skateboard on the show…. so you have to forgive us for that.

I’ll post new artwork and the cover for issue #1 as soon as I’ve finished it.  It’s pencilled and inked, but I’m in the middle of colouring it right now.  You’re going to love it.

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After a hundred and twenty years, it’s about time!

After working on characters like Batman, The Simpsons and the Avengers, it’s really an honour to be working on the character that literally started it all.

I won’t let you guys, or R. F. Outcault’s legions of fans down.  I promise.

Ty the Guy OUT!

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A couple of Yellow Kid appearances from his heyday to whet your appetite!

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What an irrepressible scamp he was.  I hope we get to give him a proper name.


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URGENT: Ty needs money TODAY!!

So…

Ty made some mention of his plans for Easter Sunday. While the rest of us were eating dinner and watching movies with our families, Ty was off with a group of new friends protesting at a makeup company against their use of animal testing. Ty had seen photos of the rabbits they used and was particularly horrified.

Ty says the turnout for the protest was low, and Ty being Ty, he thought they needed some “street theatre” to make it more interesting. (If you’ve ever planned an event with Ty, you know how often he suggests that someone call “the news stations, email all the pop culture blogs!”). So Ty decided to literally make it look like a show and had constructed a backdrop for the protesters to stand in front of. I think the original plan was for people to give speeches in front of it–but someone set one of their signs on fire(trying to make a dramatic point). (Ty says logic seems to have disappeared at that point as it made no sense to burn the signs with their messages on them)

Anyway the backdrop obviously caught fire (I think someone had minor singeing of their pants), and when the people arrived trying to control the protesters, they tried to drag everyone away from the backdrop and to knock it over and stomp out the fire. Ty, enraged, thought that the police were destroying the protest and trying to stop them from it. He tried to grab the backdrop and drag it away from a couple of officers and in the process, he accidentally elbowed one in the face.

Ty has been arrested and is currently facing a number of charges. I’m a little overwrought and can’t concentrate very well, so I keep getting them mixed up. I know “assaulting an officer” is one–but I’m having trouble keeping track of the others. I have to get Ty a lawyer and get him out on bond (? I think that’s the expression? on bail?) so he can teach his class tonight. (A couple of the protesters told me that he was loudly shouting that he couldn’t be locked up as he had a class to teach.)

The amount of the bail is substantially out of our means. We’ve had to borrow money from a couple of relatives, but they want to be paid back almost instantly (Ty being arrested hasn’t struck them as very responsible, and they’re particularly shocked by the charge of assault against a police officer). As well, we need to be able to pay a lawyer. (Some of the protesters were part of the G20 protests, and advised Ty that he actually needs a decent lawyer).

So, I’ve been able to talk to Ty briefly and he has agreed, unhappily, to let me sell off pages he’s never made available before. I’ve found the box with all of the #1 covers from the various incarnations of Batman Adventures, (Batman and Robin #1, Gotham Adventures #1 etc) and I will be putting them up on eBay (or possibly taking email offers through Ty’s email). Ty has also said I can put up his original Kirby page (from Mister Miracle) and the original Watchmen page (from Issue 5 I think?) as well. If I find anything else interesting, I may put those up as well–the bond is five grand, and I don’t know what a good lawyer costs these days.

If you’re interested in any of this artwork, or you have any suggestions for other pages of his that I can auction, let me know in the comments.

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printed-coverSo, as I said, please leave me a message in the comments or send an email to Ty’s email–I’m trying to keep the phone free as I’m waiting for Ty to have a chance to call me, and for several lawyers to get back to me.

Keiren

 

Saying Goodbye to the Bunny.

It’s a strangely bitter sweet time today, as I announce the retirement of the Bunny character from this website.  But it turns it out, it’s for a VERY good reason.

Well, good for me and my family, anyway.

Long time readers of the blog know I’ve had a lawsuit running against the Beanie Baby people going on for fourteen years now, involving their unauthorized use of my trademarks and character likeness with their “Nibbler the Rabbit” character, first introduced in 1998.

This is "Nibbler", introduced in 1998 by Ty Inc. (the Beanie Baby people).

I’ve owned and used the “Ty Bunny” character since the late 80s,
and have been vigorously defending the property, sometimes at great cost to myself.  My friends have been with me as this case has gone through three rounds of appellate courts, each one reversing the previous decision like it was a game of tennis, all the while keeping a HUGE chunk of my money tied up in this litigation.

Brief history, in case you didn’t know it:  The “Ty-Bunny” character first showed up in 1987 in a comic book called “Critters”.

That's not the bunny, that's Teddy Payne, a stuffed bear who plays rock and roll.

The comic came with a flexi-disc single featuring two songs, one performed by myself and one performed by Alan Moore.  The story that went with the music single was called “A Right to the Blues”.

Written and drawn by yours truly, inked by Anthony Van Bruggen.

The rabbit was a minor character, he tended bar in the story and only showed up in a few panels.

Like up there, for instance.

But soon he started appearing as my “alter ego” in comic strips and stories in various publications all through the late 80s and early 90s.

Here's an appearance from DC Comics' "SHOP TALK" in 1996.

AND, far more importantly, below is the Ty-Bunny stuffed animal toy I sold throughout the 90s, at conventions, personal appearances, and through mail order ads in the back of indy comics like Critters, starting in 1994.

We sold a total of fifty-six of these. I still have a box or two of them in the crawlspace of my house.

Why this all matters, is that I had to get a registered trade mark on the character, design and name “Ty Bunny” when I sold these toys across interstate lines at American conventions.  I registered the trademark in 1994, and have copyrights going back to the eighties.

But Ty Inc.’s “NIBBLER” came out in 1998, four full years after I had registered the name and logo.

Which they clearly infringed, intentionally or not.

It’s not my fault that the Ty-Warner corporation (as it was known at the time) didn’t do due diligence on the trademark, but I own it, and still do.

Which means you cannot sell "Nibbler" or "Baby Nibbler" seen above, released in 2001, without my permission.

We’ve been fighting back and forth about this for literally 14 years, and finally, finally FINALLY, I got the cheque that’s been due me for 11 of those years, by courier on Saturday.

I’m not allowed to disclose the amount, but it’s worth more than my house.

So, yay.

There's just one teeny catch...

One catch, though. I’m no longer allowed to use the Tybunny character here on the blog.  It’s part of the settlement.

This is something I fought for a long time, but the cash amount is remarkably generous, all things considered, and I’m willing to live with the terms of it. We’re talking high-ish six figures.  That’s non-trivial to my family, and goes a long way to paying off the bills I’ve run up fighting this, with a little left over to make it all worth it.

It doesn’t mean I’ll stop doing my Bun Toons, I just won’t be allowed to use the rabbit any more. I’ll find a way around it, probably something squirrel based, or perhaps I’ll do more with Cows.

But this will have to go.

Monday: I’m buying myself a new car. My first out-of-the-showroom-car in my life!

My mother is crazy happy about this. Apparently, now, I’ve amounted to something, because I can pay off my mortgage and my VISA card in one day. I’m just happy to be out of court after all these years. It drains a person.

I’m probably not going to move, I’m just going to pay off the house, and get the garage insulated. Might even buy a cottage property. Too much to think about today.

I’ll miss the rabbit, but I won’t miss handing the bank my mortgage payment each month.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Stick around for more news on the NEW mascot, starting next week!

Here now, your LAST Bonus Bunny Moment:

I'll miss the little rodent. It's been a fun ride.