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Here's the deal....

His name is Josh Hoopes.  He is a notorious con man in the comic book field.  His typical MO is to find some artist desperate to break into comics (there's no shortage of them).  He commissions work from them at a low up-front fee with guaranteed exposure, the rest to be paid once the work is published.  He also negotiates with a publisher, saying the completed work is his and getting a nice sum of money.  Then he splits, stiffing the artist.  The artist then gets pissed at the publisher, thinking they've been ripped off by them.  The publisher has no clue what has happened, believing they are putting out a book they have paid for and everything is cleared.  There have been at least three incidents of comic artists starting a fight (not an argument, an actual fight with shouting and shoving) with publishers at trade shows and conventions over non-payment, only to find out the truth a little too late.

Hoopes also enjoys acting as an agent of sorts, saying he can get people's work on the desks of editors around the industry.  He does the old standby of shady agents of asking for money to make copies of the work, postage, or in one case, that there is a submission fee to the editor, then pockets the money while telling the artist they were told, "No."

Hoopes has amassed at least six figures worth of cash from people who are desperate for some sort of validation, to make some sort of mark in the comic book world, just to show everyone they aren't crazy for chasing their dream and they have some sort of credit under their belt.

Hoopes' arch nemesis in this endeavor is Rich Johnston, formerly the writer of Lying In The Gutters and currently running Bleeding Cool.  He is the Commander In Chief combating Hoopes.  A vast network of people keep an eye out for Hoopes, and any time they stumble across him, they send Johnston his alias, the email addresses he's using, everything they can.  Johnston then alerts the rest of us troops, who spread the word to help protect the vulnerable.

This might be the last time Hoopes surfaces.

The dirt -- Hoopes is cruising deviantART again, his usual stomping grounds.  Here's his pitch (all typos verbatim):

"Hello.  I say your posting and am interested in the
art job.
Included is a link of my work for consideration.
Please if you have any questions please ask.
Joshua

joshuajohn987@gmail.com

http://s1164.photobucket.com/albums/q577/joshuajohn987/
http://joshuajohn987.deviantart.com"


The money shot -- remember how Hoopes posted his resume online for the public to read?  Johnston now has his personal information, including SSN, home address, and more.  Which means aaaaaaaaaaall those people he ripped off?  They will know what municipality to contact to file fraud charges and lawsuits.

Johnston is publicly declaring that, if Hoopes goes away and never comes back, Johnston will keep the information secret.  However, if Hoopes continues with his current operations, he will reveal everything, including to at least one person who lives within two hours from him (a.k.a. striking distance).

How this plays out, we'll see.  In the meantime, there's no substitute for simply staying out of trouble as opposed to getting in it and trying to get out.  So if you get an email saying the above, linking to any of the above or from that email address, it's Hoopes, you're being scammed, and don't fall for it.

We must look out for each other.

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