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WAITING FOR TOMMY: SEBASTIEN CLAVET
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: I presume you must be making them a lot of money in the process as well as giving the brand and concept a good fluffing. Some have argued that such companies should pay publishers like yourselves to revitalize something that had been moribund of late. Is there an argument for that?
SEBASTIEN: Its difficult to say, in the end there's no guarantee a twenty year old property will make anyone a lot of money. I went after Ghostbusters because I love it, and I think there are enough people out there who feel to same to make the book a success. I could be wrong.

But even if I am, I'm getting something I don't think you can put a price tag on; a chance to tell stories using these great characters who I have so much affection for. I get to become a part of that mythos and hopefully produce comics that will inspire people in the same way the movie inspired me. I know to some who have a lot more work-for-hire experience than I do that probably sounds very naïve, but it's the truth.

So if the comics are a big success and we make some money, great. If it leads to Sony doing more with the property, I'm all for that (and I wouldn't say no to being involved). But the chances of that happening are pretty slim, and even if the comic does amazingly well I doubt it will ever bring in what a company like Sony would consider "a lot of money".

The bottom line is that I'm not doing this for any of that, so it makes no sense to second guess Sony's motives or try and predict the future. I'm not in this for the money, I'm in it for the joy of working with these characters. I think the reason most people are in comics is because an established character (Spider-Man, Superman, whoever) touched them in some way as a child and they want to re-create that magic. Or at least I hope so. If you're in comics for the money, you're in trouble.

RICHARD: Well, Tron has been a different story. Again, like Ghostbusters, a surprisingly large fanbase that has kept the candle aloft, again a license that begs to be explored, played with, and looked at from new angles, and again having innate aspects that never seemed fully explored in the original. The difference here that it was Disney. Disney have never been what you might call an ideal licensee for publishing, what experiences did you have... and why did you think it would be different with 88MPH?
SEBASTIEN: Now I will try to be truly honest here. I'm not afraid Disney might read this, but I owe them respect as I don't believe that private business matters should be discussed in public. Still, I will try to explain a bit about Tron.

Tron is another movie I truly cherish. That movie inspired me in many ways. It got me to buy a C-64, learn computer programming and delve into areas I would probably never would have if it weren't for that movie. Additionally the visuals were astounding, Steven Lisberger had created a world of its own, one that would be part of cinematographic history. I watched that movie as often as did Ghostbusters and I know both by heart. Yeah I'm a movie geek.

So the next step after GB was to inquire about the possibility of doing a Tron comic. At that point I had worked with Hasbro and Sony, so I assumed working with Disney would be the same. That was a mistake I made. For those who don't know how licensed properties work, here some basics; Every piece of art that will be used has to be approved by the licensor, it doesn't matter who your licensor is, the property is theirs so they must approve everything; covers, interiors, ads, posters, scripts, etc. My experience with Hasbro and Sony's approval process had gone almost flawlessly, however Disney's was different and I was not prepared for that as well as I should have been.

I blame myself because I took a bigger bite than I could chew. I did not know, first hand, that Disney's approval process was so different than what I had already experienced with other companies. There was just no way for me to know that information for sure beforehand. It's like buying a car, sure you can read about the specs in the pamphlet but you don't truly know how the car reacts until you try it.

So with all respect to Disney Publishing, they didn't do anything wrong. I signed a contract with them and agreed to follow their approval process (which on paper was similar to any other company's), but when time had came to experience it I was suddenly faced with a load of work I could not sustain.

I relayed my concerns over their increasingly difficult approval process--that it was impairing my abilities to deliver work on a timely basis--but it didn't help. Eventually I had no choice but to drop the license. This wasn't an easy decision to make, obviously I am a huge Tron fan, but at the end of the day it was my only choice. The Tron comics were just not meant to be, at least not with 88MPH.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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