With various aspects of the Archaia Studios Press acquisition spilling out on the web, one ASP creator feels that some disinformation is out there. A. David Lewis is the co-creator (with Marvin “mpMann” Mann) of two well-regarded ASP titles: the graphic novel THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS and the series SOME NEW KIND OF SLAUGHTER. Lewis felt that the implications in the take Peter Rios posted yesterday on the impending Kuniochi/ASP deal and the renegotiation taking place between existing ASP creators and the new entity were inaccurate. He was willing to answer a few questions on the record.
Q: As a creator, did you have clauses in your contract about renegotiating in case of sale or bankruptcy?
A. David Lewis: Gotta go “no comment” on that only because, since it’s Marv’s contract, too, I’m not comfortable with revealing the particulars — especially since it might vary from creator to creator.
Q: Fair enough. But is it fair to say that you are negotiating? In other words you don’t have to go to the new DDP/ASP?
A: Yes, that is ENTIRELY fair to say. And that’s what I wanted to stress: Mark/ASP/DDP has said plainly that we are welcome to take our properties elsewhere and without debate. Simply put, the old Archaia is ending, and those contracts are concluding. There may be a brief period of time (1 year? 6 months?) during which they cannot be instantly reprinted, but there is no strong arming taking place. That aforementioned period of time would already have been part of the original, concluding contract.
Q: Can you talk about any elements of the deal that would make people reluctant to sign?
A: Mark’s original ASP was very, very generous in its percentages. This new contract is closer to market standards. Having examined some of the demands and percentages stipulated by other companies now, I don’t think we knew how good we had it contractually during the “old” Archaia days. The new contract, in short, is fair. Moreover, Marv and I did, indeed, “negotiate,” and Mark & PJ were willing to hear our concerns and adapt portions of the contract accordingly.
Q: So you will be signing with the new entity?
A: Yes, I will be keeping my two collaborations to date with Marv Mann (aka mpMann) with Archaia. Specifically, that’s the graphic novel THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS and the eco-epic series SOME NEW KIND OF SLAUGHTER. We wanted to conclude the latter at Archaia where it began.
As I understand it, Archaia is becoming an imprint, with Mark Smylie still at its helm. I do not know whether it will carry the DDP logo or just be a “sister” company to DDP. But I expect there will be some interface (or “synergy” or one of those other cool business words) between the two. Whether it’s an imprint OF DDP or an imprint WITH DDP is unclear, I admit, and I’m sure Mark et al will clarify that once all the ink is dry.
For me as a creator, my contract is with Archaia. Tina Fey has a contract with NBC, not GE. (And yes, in that analogy, I’m Tina Fey.)
I would have preferred to leave it to Mark & Co. to discuss themselves and at their own pace. But, they’ve been keeping things quite kosher. They announced they were restructuring, they contacted us all, they got us all new, legit contracts, etc. I don’t get why this alarms everyone so. I’m only speaking out to say that I’m pleased, overall.