Thursday, May 22, 2008

The final numbers on the fundraiser

I share the final numbers with you guys:

Official ebay sales for completed auctions totaled $2,124.30. Roughly $350 of that had to be refunded with another $50 or so eat up in fees from paypal and ebay, but the wonderful and generous people of Your Mom's Basement made up for that with the Save Thomas' Ass fund raiser because i had to cover it or Missionfish, ebay's charity handler, was taking it directly out of my bank account, refunds to buyers or not. They also tagged another $300 or so onto it, all said and done YMB donations totaling well over $700, the rich so and sos.

So that's $2,124.30, the $300 extra from YMB, plus around another $400-500 I've gotten word of folks donating directly to the Candlelighters after hearing about this whole thing. It short, some where right around the neighborhood of three grand went to help out some sick kids and their families.

From my own family's experience, I can't begin to explain to you how far that will go. The Candlelighters were amazing to us. Did you know just parking at the Houston Medical Center costs $12 a day? That adds up QUICK. There's a ton of little things like that people never think of, but the Candlelighters do, and they help you deal with them.

I'm shipping some of the art tomorrow, then the rest that i have in hand on my next day off. This is just about all done now. It was interesting.

I'll have a very lengthy post about this whole experience from beginning to conclusion soon. I want to get it down for posterity.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stuff! That you can buy! And then hang on your wall!

Round two of the auctions end this morning with not a DC property in sight. Time to get in those last minute bids for:

An original ink/brush drawing of Wolverine by David Mack.

A pin up of the cast of Scurvy Dogs by Manny Bello.

A sculpture all about the love by Erin Jameson.

The men who would be Captain America by Marcus Kelligrew.

A First Moon pin up by Tony Talbot.

The cast of LOST by Jim Muniz.

Barry Ween pin up by Judd Winnick.

An Astronauts in trouble pin up by Jeff Parker.

A Milk and Cheese/World's Funnest pin up by Evan Dorkin.

I've asked every one in my family to buy the Evan Dorkin piece for me. They all said "Milk and Cheese? Mixlpltik? What the hell are you talking about?" And then I said. "You don't get me! You never will!" and locked the door to my room and listened to the Cure and my angst. Wait, that reference kind of dates me, huh? What do the whiny kids like these days? Them Fallout Boys or some such?

I'm going to be at training for my terrible new job for a few hours today, so I'm going to miss the end of this round as it happens. This afternoon when I get home around 2-3 PM US central time (8-9 PM GMT) I'll be relisting the Paul Salvi Superman Rogues Gallery piece, with the WB's blessing, as finale to all this. So you guys look forward to that. It really is an awesome piece by the way. And now it's famous!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wrapping it all up some more

I just wanted to say some thank yous publicly.

The people of Your Mom's Basement for coming to my rescue. You're wonderful people and your support was one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

Ali and Mike for keeping me distracted with conversation about standing on one's head in Australia, sci-fi that I am lukewarm to and other things that stink substantially less than this whole situation. I was going completely insane over this mess, and you made it only slightly mad.

Mike Netzer and Evan Dorkin, who have been exceptionally generous to me since I started this silly fansite and both of whom made me feel less like an ass for trying to do something good but doing it clumsily. I also want to thank David Mack, who I just met through the fundraiser and has also been very very generous and kind.

The people who said nice things. It really helped.

The artists and bidders who were affected for being so understanding about this. That you guys accepted it and didn't blame me was a huge relief.

I heard from Warner Bros.

Late last night, one of the two auctions that got canceled was re-instated. Just one. I sent another email to the WB, not expecting a response because I didn't get one from the last two emails.

I sent them this after seeing the auction was reinstated-

Hi, I'm Thomas Denton. I recently emailed you (and believe a number of emails were sent on my behalf, and apologize for any confusion that may have caused) about two ebay items that were pulled due to trademark infringement concerns. (ebay user ID mistermxy).

I just received notice that one of them has been allowed to go ahead, for which I am very grateful. The full situation was this: I organized an auction where many professional and amateur artists donated some of their original work with the intention of donating all the proceeds to the candlelighters ( It was an entirely non-profit venture. Many of the auctions, all original works, featured characters owned by your subsidiary DC Comics. After the auctions were canceled, I pulled all auctions relating to your properties. Would I be allowed to relist all of them?

In response, I got this-

Dear Mr. Denton:

We made a exemption for the item that was relisted.

Thank you,

Craig M. Hoffman


Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Technical Operations

Corporate Communications

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

So it seems I'm allowed to sell that one item. And WB does not respect grammar. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised that this wasn't just ignored by the WB altogether.

This is the item I'm allowed to sell:

I'll be emailing Paul Salvi, the artist, to ask him what he'd like to do. If he wants to try again, we'll be putting it up as a special lone piece as something of a finale to all the auctions. Some of which are still going, by the way. Buy some stuff! Help some kids!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wrapping it all up.

Okay, this all taken care of. I've not heard back from WB, but it doesn't matter much now. The artists have their work, the buyers have their money, all the donations have been squared away. And please don't worry about my money woes. That was just me venting because this whole thing freaked me out. I'm okay. Some very good friends helped me out.

This whole thing has gotten WAY out of hand, and I think it'd be best if I just stopped fueling the fire.

Thank you to every one who has helped me out with this. It's meant more to me than you will ever know.

the way things be

More random reactions to what I've seen online:

I didn't get a cease and desist. WB shut down two auctions, and to prevent any further troubles I killed the rest myself. I also refunded all the auctions featuring DC characters that were already completed. So as of right now, no profit at all has been made or will be made from items featuring Time Warner's intellectual property.

All of the original art that could not be sold is in the hands of the original artist. I do not have it. The exception is one piece, the one by Mike Netzer, who has asked me to hold onto it in the hopes this can all be straightened out. I have no profited by gaining art or money.

DC Comics does not hate kids. They probably don't even know this happened. My order came from the WB, and was likely wholly random and came up in regular searches they do of ebay. I'm sure once I get some replies from the WB this will all be straightened out.

Yes, I know it was stupid of me to use their property. Thanks to every one who has pointed that out. I was operating under the assumption that this would fall under the same umbrella of artists doing sketches at conventions or guys like John Byrne who make thousands for personal profit making drawings of DC characters.

My name's not Alex, it's Thomas. Hello. Alex was the guy who submitted this to Boing Boing. I don't know him. But if you see this, hey Alex!

The painting of the S shield and the comment about hoping WB gets mad about it was joke that came after the fact. It's not why WB came after me. I was just talking to the artist while making posts about all this and put that up to promote her work and because we were having a laugh about the absurdity of all this. I'll mention her name and site again because she likes being famous. Hello, Ali.

Yes I am trying to laugh at this. No, it's not easy. Mostly it's stressing me the hell out and making me sad.

Let's see... what else. Oh, yeah, i am having some money troubles because of this. I'm not putting up a public donations thing because, well, I don't want it to seem I'm making money off this. Some friends helped, and they are most brilliant and wonderful people in the world. Thank you, guys.

A bit of good: the first round of auctions netted $1400 for the Candlelighters. That's pretty awesome.

Lastly, I wish the original auctions had gotten this much attention.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What I've decided to do

I've already pulled the auctions from round two of the fund raiser that featured Warner Bros properties. I am going to refund and return the art from the first round that featured DC characters so they cannot point at me and say "Look at the money you've made from our properties."

Should things get straightened out with the WB and I get their permission, I can always relist the items later.

Ali Spagnola: Troublemaker

Have you guys heard of Ali Spagnola? You should have. She is an artist and she is awesome. She even sings about robots some times, which is pretty much the greatest thing ever. And if you ask nicely she'll even give you some art.

What's any of this got to do with Superman? Well, she did paint this:

I hope WB objects to it. I hear fighting The Man gives you artistic street cred.

*EDIT FOR THE KIDS THAT DON'T GET IT! I am not trying to sick the WB on Ali. I just wanted to promote her site and made a joke about the WB situation in doing so. For the record, she thought it was funny.

Some updates about the Warner Bros thing

This is just kind of rambling and thinking out loud, but I wanted to reply to some things I've seen said online about this.

1 Yes, I know I was legally wrong. I was just naive about how strictly DC enforces these things because there are dozens of pieces of art on ebay featuring their properties at any given time and I know of other charities that have used donations similar to mine. I just thought this would slip under the radar like artists selling sketches at conventions.

2 Warner Bros pulled two auctions, both already completed. One had been paid for, one had not. The one paid for has been refunded, though I'm not sure if I'm still obligated to ebay's charity handler for the final price.

3 I pulled the active auctions featuring Warner Bros properties. No, I'm not going to be relisting them.

4 I may be canceling the bids on the other completed auctions and issuing refunds. Since this is already on the Warner Brothers legal department's radar, I'm not sure having accepted money for art featuring their characters is a good idea. I'm not sure what to do there yet.

5 The money thing I mentioned. The ebay fees won't be that much, and if I issue refunds paypal doesn't charge me anything. But, the way ebay's charity handler works is you give them your final information and then make a donation based on the final price of the auctions. Technically, these auctions did end, so I may have to pay for them any way. I have until the 19th to get them their money. Which sucks.

6 Please don't send nasty emails to DC. They probably have no idea this even happened. What probably happened here was some suit saw something for sale with Superman on it and didn't go any further.

7 I'll likely be shutting down SIB once the dust has cleared here. I've sort of lost my enthusiasm for promoting WB's products, and I've been told lots of times I sold people on some Superman comic or toy or whatever.

Warner Bros is cancelling the Superman auctions

First and foremost, at its core, this is all about helping out some kids. So donate some money to the candlelieghters while you're here.

Also, follow the link at the end of the post for lots more information about what's going on here.

I messed up. I just got notice that two of the Superman related auctions have been removed from the site and the rest are probably next. I don't know what to do now. I have to start canceling auctions and issuing refunds. That means all the fees and such I'm now responsible for which is money i just don't have, and I have no idea if I'm still obligated to the middleman ebay uses for their charity auctions.

I've gone ahead and canceled the auctions still running that featured Warner Bros properties. I'm not sure what to do about the ones (like the ones that were canceled by DC) that are already completed. I'll be talking to ebay, paypal, missionfish (the people that handle ebay's charity donations) the artists and auction winners.

ALL ARTISTS! If you have done a DC comics related piece, DO NOT MAIL IT! KEEP IT! If I already have it, I'll ship it back to you ASAP. Or, if your piece is not DC related and you just don't want to part of this any more for whatever reason, please say so. I'll understand completely.

I am heartbroken. I am really sorry to any one this is any trouble for. Legally, I was in the wrong. I used their intellectual property without their permission. I'm not going to play the victim on that front. I swear I just wanted to do something good.

My most sincere apologies to every one involved; artists, buyers and people who helped me promote the auctions.

Edit- You can read all the posts I've made about what's going on by clicking here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A reminder!

Round one of the auctions end this morning! Go get your last minute bids in! I'll be posting links to round two later today.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Somebody said I needed a press release

So my friend Aaron helped me out. Please ship this around to all your favorite comic news sites, blogs, and forums. Thanks, folks. If you've followed the link in the press release here, awesome! The post directly below this one has all you need to know (or click the link to the right).


Say It Backwards is proud to announce the launch of “Ben’s Charity Art Auction,” a series of auctions featuring original work from many artists (pro, amateur and in between), benefiting the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation (

The first round of auctions start Saturday, May 3, 2008 on ebay under the user name MisterMxy, with a second series beginning Saturday, May 10, 2008.

Art donated includes work from: David Mack, Evan Dorkin, Michael Netzer, Tom Beland, Brian Wood, Judd Winnick, Darick Robertson, Charlie Adlard, Jeff Parker, Manny Bello, Tony Talbert, Jim Muniz, Joe England, Thom Zahler, Paul Salvi, Eric Stettmeier, Sarah Shemilt, Erin Jameson, Matt Hansel, Marcus Kelligrew, Marty Allen, Richard Basey, Tommy Allison, Ryan Estrada, Jesse Farrell, James Figueiredo, Chris Haley, Matt Linton, Adam Murray, Wyatt Owens, Chet Presley, and many, many more.

About the Candlelighters: The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation National Office was founded in 1970 by concerned parents of children with cancer. Today they have a membership of over 50,000 in the national office and more than 100,000 more across the country including parents of children who are being treated or have been treated for cancer, children with cancer, survivors of childhood cancer, immediate or extended family members, bereaved families, health care professionals and educators.

About Say It Backwards: It's a silly blog about the humor and hope to be found in Superman and his world.

More information can be found at

Any questions or submissions should be emailed to Thomas at

Ben's Charity Art Auction official information

A series of auctions featuring original art from many, many artists; pro, amateur and in between.

My nephew Ben got sick, and an organization called the Candlelighters helped our family out. I'd like to try to help others. Proceeds from the auction are going to the Candlelighters.

The auctions start May 3, 2008 on ebay under the user name MisterMxy (links to the listing can be seen here as well).

You can see many (but far from all!) of the great pieces already donated by clicking here.

If you're an artist, there's still time to participate! Just get me a scan of what you'd like to donate by May 9, or scans of your previous work if you'd like to offer a commission. Details can be read at the bottom of this post.

BIG GIANT IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR ARTISTS! There are so many donations a second round of auctions will be going up as soon as the first batch ends! So if you'd like to participate, you've got another week to get a scan in of your donation!

A list of participating artists can be seen here.

I'd also like every one who reads this to download this flier and ask your local comic shop to put it in their window or to let you leave a small stack of them laying around the shop some where. You can also ask artists to donate something! There's still time!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at all at

Thursday, May 1, 2008

More you say?

Okay. More. But only because you asked nicely.

David Mack is the mayor of cool town

Whetting your appetite for the charity auctions further, proof that David Mack is one of the most generous guys working in comics. Four original pieces done for the auction:

I don't suppose any one wants to buy me the Superman, huh? No? Damned brilliant artists constantly donating cool stuff.

Wanna see something cool?

Another preview of some of the stuff going up on the auction block this weekend; thanks to Larry Young.