Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Oh, Dabel Dabel Dabel, With Feet Made Out Of Claaaaaaaaaaay....

When you want to be a freelancer in any industry, one of the first lessons you learn is to PAY ATTENTION!  People bitch about rumors all the time, but the fact is, you learn more about what's going on from those little whispers than you ever could from official press releases.

Which brings us to Dabel Brothers.  Dabel Brothers was originally a group doing the self-publishing thing (I have their first series, The Rift, in my library).  Then, somehow, they started making the jump to being a full-fledged studio with Marvel handling the distro duties.  Then they broke away under terms I don't fully understand and won't speculate on here.  They decided to start publishing their own stuff, and licensed several big titles.  They got the rights to make comics based on George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards, Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files.  They also started leveraging their successes with those into licensing more titles like a comic based on the movie The Warriors and hatched a deal with Del Ray publishing to handle their graphic novel stuff.  They also were targeting fans with variant covers of their books.

I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to try pitching to Dabel since they were publishing licensed titles.  See, I knew right away, as soon as I heard it, that Jim Butcher would be writing the Dresden Files comic (one of the novels, Dresden mentions a stack of comic books in his lab next to his magic books).  The others?  I haven't read a Wild Cards book in decades, and I figured high profile titles like these would be going to established talent, not some shmuck who, at the time, didn't have any official credits to his name.  So I put Dabel in the "don't bother" file.

Later on, I was talking with a guy I know who is a professional penciler.  The guy has worked for the majors, so he's not some "I HAZ DRAW!!!1!" dipshit from DeviantART.  He went to Dabel to try for a penciling position.  He went through a few different concept sketches before they told him they really weren't looking for any talent at that moment.  They couldn't have told him that upfront?  That set off the warning bells in my head, as it's a pattern I've seen repeatedly with publishers that ultimately consume themselves.

Since then, Dabel has had a lot of problems.  In the middle of the first Dresden Files mini, an original story called "Welcome To The Jungle", delays happened after issue #2, just as the story really got cooking.  After a while, things cleared up and the story finished.  The next Dresden files series was an adaptation of Storm Front, the first novel.  Fine with me, I already read the novel.  If things go south in the middle of that, I don't care.  Since then, the Wild Cards calendar was supposed to ship for this year.  IIRC, it was April before George R. R. Martin got the calendars to autograph, and he ended his deal with Dabels (the calendars, unless I'm mistaken, still haven't shipped out yet, and the year is nearly over).  There has been a LOT of grumbling about the Dabels not communicating with the talent, even as they sign deals like the one with Del Ray.  Diamond dropped them from their catalog.

Now comes word that Dabels are up to their ears in bills.  A month ago, Lynx Studios went public, saying that Dabel Brothers owed them $27,000 for work they've done on the books.  Now, another studio, Cadence Studios, has gone public, saying Dabel Brothers owes them $11,000.  Their word was on Frankenstein and The Warriors, both of which have been suspended since the studio is refusing to turn over the artwork until they get their cash.  Dabel Brothers is still moving forward with the follow-up series, The Warriors:  Daybreak, as it's by a different creative team.

I'm thinking my friend dodged a bullet by not getting mixed up with them.  And my not bothering to try may have been one of the smartest things I ever did....
Tags: art, comic books, comics, important life lessons
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