On Business: Release Form

By | Monday, October 09, 2017 Leave a Comment
I've been backing Kickstarter projects for a little now (since 2011) and the vast majority of them have been comics projects. The handful that weren't were still comics-related somehow. Frequently, I'll back a project at the lowest level that actually includes a physical copy of the book they're trying to publish. Sometimes one of the higher tiers if they include previous volumes that I missed for whatever reason.

For projects that I'm really excited about, I'll go towards the upper end of things, often with one of two types of rewards. If it's an artist that I really like, I might opt for a reward that includes a page of original art. (Usually, I'm not down for sketches and custom illustrations, though. I prefer the production art from an actual comic.)

The other higher end reward I might go for is if/when they offer to draw me into the comic itself. I think it's a fun little aside that lets me pretend my life is more interesting and exciting than it is. I think I've signed on for maybe a half dozen appearances so far, and two of them have come out.

I've showed up in a few webcomics, too, mostly when a creator is just looking to drum up some interest and engage with their fans. And I've been name-dropped in a handful of comics as well. All of these are fun, and some day I'm going to have to sit down and try to figure out the continuity of how all of these work together!

But here's the interesting twist. The last project I signed on to have an appearance for is Karl Kesel's and Tom Grummett's Section Zero. I was a big fan of the original three issues, and I was really excited when he finally was able to get to a point where he could conclude it. Also, I think my usual sort-of-an-Indiana-Jones-knock-off look would blend well into the story! And what's interesting is that Kesel sent out a release form for me to sign.

It's nothing hugely complicated or anything; basically just a "yes, I agree that it's okay to use my likeness" acknowledgement. But I find it interesting that it's the first time I've encountered that. And, coming from a long-standing comic professional, I'm wondering if that comes from some past experiences they've seen/heard of in the past.

It's probably a smart move. While I'm sure the vast majority of readers wouldn't care (like me, they're probably thrilled just to make an in-story appearance) I also expect there's that one guy who shows up in a comic and then demands additional payments when the book is collected in hardcover or something. It only takes that one guy, too. Then everybody else panics on both sides, and things get ugly all over. Who needs that? So Kesel is heading off any potential issues WAAAY before they even consider arriving.

Maybe it's a bit cynical, but it's also probably a good bit of CYA that it might not be a bad idea for other creators to consider.
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