As if I needed any more reason to be madly in love with Brandon Graham and his work, this massive Comics Journal interview provides it, filled with some great stuff, including the story of how King City went from Tokyopop to Image:
Tokyopop wasn’t really willing to talk to me at first, because they’d dropped all these books and they had a ton of different artists all pissed at them. 20 different people all calling them every day and threatening their lives or whatever. My editor was really nice during all of it, but I could tell that he couldn’t do anything, and he didn’t want to put me in contact with his bosses who could do anything because they were just getting harassed. Everyone was really upset about their books being put on hold. So I just started putting my stuff on my LiveJournal. I decided I was going to do some crappy lettering on the computer, because Tokyopop had been lettering it in-house, and then just start putting it up on the Internet. I think I posted the first 20 pages, and then I got a phone call from them the next day saying, “We need to set up a meeting,” and we had a conference call. They basically called me up to scold me about putting King City online, I think, but it worked because it got their attention. It’s such a bad lesson in comics: every time that somebody’s told me to just be quiet and not say anything, “We’ll deal with this,” and nothing comes, they say, “Just be quiet and wait another week.” So just being like, “That’s it, I’m putting it online,” and they immediately start dealing with me again. It showed me it isn’t always good to listen to people. What the companies want isn’t always in the artist’s best interest, obviously. While they called up kind of mad, his guy Mike who was the vice president there was really on my side, and he said, “You know, Brandon has some points.” I was really upset with them and they kept saying they were still going to publish it. It was a big contractual thing. I could have taken it to Oni or Image, but in the contract it said that as long as Tokyopop agreed to publish it they get to keep the rights, and that included putting it online.
An amazing amount more at the link, including Graham’s take on why it might be better to come up through porn comics than superhero comics (He may be making sense, too). Highly recommended reading to start your weekend with.