Re: Disputing "The Truth"
Alan, please accept my apology for miscrediting yourself and John Tomlinson. That is perhaps the downside of publishing under a pseudonym; I had honestly never heard, even as a younger fan sending letters to the green dude from Quaxxan, that "Sonny Steelgrave" was ever anyone but yourself. I will happily amend the entries which mention Sonny Steelgrave and point out Tomlinson's contribution and/or fault. I'll do that this evening.
I suspect that I've touched a nerve in bringing up the copyright issue. (Ya think?) The disclaimer you cited is certainly more geared towards real-world Livejournal-specific dramas, and the way certain individuals on this service use the various filtering and privacy options to deliberately spread disinformation. It wasn't intended to color the way I've since written blog entries about comics, but where I've made errors of fact in my reread, I'm happy to make corrections.
I don't wish to offend you, and I'm sorry that this brief summary has done so, but I don't want to kiss your ass, either, even if I did like Kirby, and even RAM Raiders. I calls them as I sees them, and I genuinely feel that stating, as I did, that "the corporate response...is that the copyright got signed over when the writers and artists cashed the paychecks" is an accurate assessment of what the publisher believes to be true. That you and Rebellion (and previously Fleetway) disagree on this point is the very nature of the legal dispute. That does not make me an expert in copyright law, and I certainly don't claim to be. I suspect that a publisher - any publisher - would not agree to your analogy about the taxi. That's what work for hire means, and you can certainly find a broad view of opinions on the subject. When someone first linked to your webpage from the 2000 AD message board, the opinions of more experienced readers who've worked in British publishing certainly didn't agree with your position. That doesn't mean you're wrong, or even that I think you're wrong, but suggesting that the work remains in limbo because of a legal impasse and a lack of agreement is pretty close to the truth, as far as we know it.
You certainly do me a disservice by saying that I'm cheering on the publishers to screw over the talent. I'd like reprints, and I'd like them to be done in a fashion that pleases the talent. (I see Rebellion collections that feature creator forewords and interviews and special-for-the-book bonus material, and I don't know that I can believe that the same talents would repeatedly contribute new material if they were getting shafted.) Since you've left the comics biz, it probably doesn't concern you, but, hell, who wouldn't like all that great Parkhouse and Ridgway artwork in a good collection. Maybe Rebellion can offer a royalty program that pleases all three of you and maybe they can't, but I don't think I'm at all wrong for wishing such a thing existed, and yes, as a reader and a fan, I am bothered by every chunk of 2000 AD's past that is presently hands-off (Kirby, Dan Dare, Zenith, Medivac 318, etc.). I'm also bothered that neither you nor Richard Burton went on the record for Thrill-Power Overload!, leaving a similar gap in the official record for this period - though I understand and sympathize you feel you had good reasons for doing so. The dogpiling you received from Andy Diggle on alt.comics.2000ad that time might have colored your opinion of any such record. (But, you know, I was kind of defending you during that incident...)
At any rate, thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to visit any time and issue corrections where they are needed.