File this under "airing dirty laundry".
Mark Andrew Smith's Sullivan's Sluggers controversy continues. The project, the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, was embroiled in controversy after supporters learned that none of the excess funds would go to James Stokoe, who drew the graphic novel. Then, Smith had to start a second Kickstarter campaign, stating that he didn't factor international shipping costs into his budget.
Yesterday, James Stokoe released a brief statement saying that he asked Smith to remove his name from the project and that he had no desire for additional compensation. Here's a quote:
There’s been talk on my behalf about fair compensation from the KS earnings, but I have to say that it personally doesn’t bother me. I have been paid what I was contracted for, and I’ve been very content to keep my nose out of anything involving the book post-Kickstarter. In other words, there’s really no reason to be offended on my behalf. I’m doing fine. I understand that some backers may feel mislead in that they were supporting me financially by backing the book, and for that I apologize. There was very little I could do once the ball started rolling in that regard, shy of shitting on the whole parade.
Smith just responded with a tirade against Stokoe, claiming that Stokoe "ruined his life" and that Stokoe's delays on drawing Sullivan's Sluggers was a proponent in his divorce and a setback in Smith's goals of becoming something other than an English teacher. And here's a quote from Smith:
I hired James Stokoe for Sullivan’s years ago starting in 2009, and then he’d go missing for months and months at a time, one year turning in about 8 pages total. 8 pages in one year! That said, I was foolish enough to bet the house on Sullivan’s Sluggers with Stokoe and things didn’t go at all to plan with the schedule. That said, I’ve been trying to make the tastiest lemonade from three years of James Stokoe lemons.
My life fell apart and took all kinds of turns because of Stokoe’s pace with the book. It was fuel for the fire of me getting divorced in Korea because of money and trying to turn comics into a career and having prospects other than being an English teacher forever in South Korea. So I’ve suffered enough.
Stokoe was a grown man, he agreed to do a job for a certain amount like many of you do every day, and took three years to finish that job which was only to deliver art for the book. He was paid for the job in full. I offered to pay more but he declined. I don’t look at him like a brilliant artist but more as someone that built a house for me, finished, and moved on to what’s next. If things went smoother on the book that wouldn’t be the case but they didn’t.
Smith also states that Stokoe engaged ComicsAlliance into writing smear articles about the project and its delays and that Stokoe's "camp" has been spreading misinformation about him on 4chan, which of course is always a reliable source of information.
Our takeaway from this: we can't wait to read ComicsAlliance's response to this. Like most current comic book news, we're expecting them to write about this sometime next week.