Andre Duza’s Adventure in Comic Book Publishing

If you don’t know Andre Duza, you should. He’s a bizarro author who writes very interesting books. Unlike many bizarro writers who write short minimalistic simplistic prose, Andre is a maximalist. His books are for readers who like epics with lush prose and intricate plots. They also usually involve zombies. His novels are Dead Bitch Army, Jesus Freaks, and Necro Sex Machine.

He also has a graphic novel version of Dead Bitch Army:

dba

Here is the pretty awesome preview of the graphic novel:
(Starring Andre Duza himself)

Here is a review in Fangoria:

http://www.fangoria.com

So a graphic novel of Andre’s Dead Bitch Army sounds cool, right? Well, unfortunately, Andre went through a nightmare trying to get this book out there. Not because the comic industry is tough (though it is), but because he ended up doing business with a couple of crooked idiots. For those of you interested in getting involved with the comic industry (or even the publishing or film industry), you’ll probably be interested in reading this horror story.

Andre’s story in Andre’s words:

This all started when a friend of mine (we’ll call him Joe), who had just come into some money through his commercial mortgage business, approached me about investing money in the then titled Dead Bitch Army graphic novel project. He knew that I was trying to salvage the project after my original deal with now defunct Indie Godz Publishing died when the company went under back in ’05. The arrangement was that Joe would give me creative control to do things the way I wanted. He would get his money back on the back-end, and that would be that. Being a comic geek himself, he could say that he contributed to a graphic novel, and it would help to move my career forward. Then he brought this complete idiot (a restaurant owner who we’ll call John) onboard. John started pressuring Joe and behind my back they created MakeUFamous Productions (MUF). Trust me, the name makes me cringe too. Their new goal (fantasy) was to now put together graphic novels out of existing books with the intention of getting some kind of movie deal in the end. Now, their only part in creating the Hollow-Eyed Mary graphic novel was to sign checks. I adapted and wrote the script, hired all the artists (penciller/inker, colorist, letterer, pinups and cover-artist, and editor), and directed the entire project from start to finish. Since they had no knowledge of or experience with the publishing, or movie industries, they wanted me to help them do this. I balked (nicely) about this from the beginning, starting first with the ridiculous name (MakeUFamous) that I, as a serious writer, didn’t want to be associated with. This was only supposed to be a financial contribution on their end for which I was grateful, and did my best to produce a quality product that would hopefully ensure that they made their money back. Secondly, I had already written a screenplay for Dead Bitch Army (which they all knew about and were fine with at first) that I planned to try and sell once the GN was released and hopefully made some noise. John sort of blew off the graphic novel until we started to get positive feedback based on the finished pages.

Joe and I met with a rep from Devil’s Due Publishing in NY and struck a deal (it was he and I who made the initial contact with most of the interested parties, mind you). Suddenly there was interest from producers, first Tony DiDio (Toolbox Murders), then Riyoko Tanaka (The Ring remake & The Uninvited), and finally Mark Holdom (Brown Bunny). Now, all of a sudden John’s brother (who we’ll call Jack) is involved. Then they bring another “money person” (who we’ll call Sue) to the table, who also has no experience in publishing, but did produce a documentary a few years ago that I never heard of.

Next, they tricked Joe so that now he only owns a 25% share of the company and once that happened they started making all sorts of ridiculous demands. They then tried to tie me up with contracts and strong-arm tactics to pressure me into signing over my script, and to give MUF (which is now John, Jack, and Sue) complete creative control over all of my work. When I said “no,” and (again nicely) stated my reasons why, John and crew took it personally and retaliated by first trying to cut off my communications with any potential producers/publishers, then by trying to circumvent the development process with Devil’s Due (which is why the GN didn’t actually come out when it was supposed to) and finally by putting pressure on Devil’s Due to ban me from signing at ComiCon.

John then tried to have my name taken off the book, and was actually planning to go to ComiCon and sign as the author until the attorney that I was forced to hire put him and the rest of MUF in their place. Unfortunately, they’re so drunk on “Hollywood Wannabe” juice that they can’t let go of the fantasy.

So, there you go. John and Jack are still going to ComiCon to act like they created the book by themselves. I had already reserved a room at the Park Central Hotel back when I was discussing the signing schedule with Devil’s Due and I’ll lose the deposit if I don’t go, so the wife and I are just going to enjoy two nights (Fri & Sat) away from the kids in NY. If anyone here makes it to the con, be sure to stop by the Devil’s Due booth and ask MUF, “Hey, where’s Andre?” I’m sure that the bullshit story they’ll give you would make for a great piece of fiction.

For more recent and indepth information on this story, check out the interview with Andre Duza at: Ain’t It Cool News.

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