June 9, 2008
Well, there’s a wrinkle that I probably should have foreseen. Apparently, the employees recently cut loose by Tokyopop were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement of some sort in order to receive their severance pay, which makes exit interviews a little difficult. I certainly don’t want to complicate anyone’s situation further, but I do want to pursue this project and try and get their names out. I would imagine that even forwarding the non-disclosure agreement to someone who isn’t the signer’s legal representative may constitute a violation of said agreement, and even if I could read it, I wouldn’t be remotely comfortable trying to distinguish what constitutes a violation and what’s safe to discuss. (I don’t even know if describing job duties would constitute a violation, to be honest.)
I’ve already got one interview ready to go, and two others have written to express an interest. Based on the first interview, it doesn’t seem significantly different from the kinds of interviews that have been conducted with Tokyopop employees while they were still working there, but… again, a pittance of a severance package is still a severance package during difficult economic times. And since my former PR contact at the publisher no longer works there, I’m not sure who to ask.
Anyone have any advice on how I might proceed? Here’s the list of questions I’ve put together:
What was your title at Tokyopop, and how long did you work there?
Could you summarize your responsibilities for them?
What were some of the highlights of your time there? Projects you’re particularly proud of, or experiences that had a major impact?
How did you get into the comics industry?
Could you tell me a little bit about your education and training, or other professional experiences that have contributed to your skill set?
What would you like to do next? Keep working in the comics industry? Or are you open to other avenues?
And I also wanted to leave a sort of “open question” for anything else you’d like to comment on – the state of the comics industry, where you’d like to see it go, how you’re doing since you got the news. Anything’s fair game.
June 9, 2008
Before I get back in the flow of too much activity, nauseating heat and humidity, and forget to mention it, I was in Columbus over the weekend and stopped by the Wexner Center for the Arts to see the Jeff Smith: Bone and Beyond exhibit. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
My sister, who has no interest in comics outside of Doonesbury and Dilbert, went with me and really enjoyed it. She was particularly interested in the narrative on how Smith draws inspiration from classic cartoons like Popeye, Pogo and The Spirit, and she loved the murals that provide a backdrop. She didn’t pick up an armload of comics from the gift shop on the way out, but she certainly came away with a better understanding of sequential art.
Speaking of an armload of comics, I hadn’t seen the full-color versions of the books that Scholastic has been releasing. I still think the pages work better in black and white, but the coloring is handsome in its own way, and I like the subdued palette that was used.