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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mirage: Please do art for us, but we won't pay you

Jim Lawson updated his blog today with a new piece of art featuring all four Turtles looking down on New York from one of its many rooftops. This fantastic piece was done for a TMNT 25th anniversary project that 4Kids is working on. Jim and all of the Mirage artists were asked to contribute pieces of art; however, Mirage got these pieces of art as freebies and did not pay the artists for the time and talent put into them.

Needless to say, this is unacceptable. Unfortunately, this attitude is becoming more and more typical of Mirage, namely CEO Gary Richardson who also attempted to cancel all of the employees' life and disability insurance last week to save the company all of $9,500 a year. The only reason this didn't happen is apparently due to a technicality (not a sudden change of heart from Mr. Richardson).

With all of the writing that has been put on the wall concerning Richardson, the only question that can be asked is: Why does Peter Laird apparently sit back and do nothing while Mirage crashes and burns and his employees, who have given the last 20+ years of their lives to the company, as well as their entire professional careers, struggle to make ends meet while he and Gary Richardson are living free and easy?

You can see the new piece by Lawson in full here.

Addendum: It has been clarified to me that 4Kids, not Mirage, requested these pieces of art and as such, it was 4Kids, not Mirage, who did not pay for them. It still seems to me that Mirage could have found it in their hearts to pay the artists for the pieces anyways, and asking for art that you don't intend to pay for, no matter who the asking party is, is in poor taste no matter what the situation.


  1. Its such a sad, sad thing when you realize the shady side of something so near and dear to your heart (and particularly something so dear to your childhood). Reading this makes my blood boil, and I really feel for those guys. They've dedicated their lives to Mirage, and its on their backs that the company was built (particularly Jim, who draws virtually every book they publish), and they have NEVER gotten the proper respect they deserve in the industry. Now, reading this, it seems they're not even getting proper compensation. What a joke.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. -->> ..a double blow, double discouraging .. to those of us who look up to these people and who's work gets shunned by the industry in general.

    Kinda like a punch in the gut, a kick in the face and when your face down they stab you in the back.

    Very disheartening.

    Despite what people think of him and his work.. :

    Jim remains one of my heroes so.

    ( Earlier i was to exhausted to comment, sorry. )


  4. I'm not aware of the specifics of this situation, but I think in this economy it is totally reasonable for there to be some cutbacks (as much as it sucks). I run my own company and this year I have had to work more than last January even though my income is on track to be at least 40% less. Plus, it seems there are some obvious signs that cutbacks in spending are required with Walmart cutting TMNT toys and TMNT no longer being aired on Fox.

  5. -->> Hey, Nathan.

    Fox dropped all national broadcast childrens' programing altogether giving those hours back to the local affiliates at the beginning of the year.

    The affiliates can use it for infomercials or what have you.

    Locally here, South of Denver they play syndicated educational programs.

    All 4kids programming shows are now on the CW and streamed on their website.


  6. Nathan,

    I think you're amalgamating two different beasts under the banner of "cutbacks." If you own your company, it is up to you how much work you put in, and how much income you are willing to give up. That is a cutback. Producing less because money is tight also qualifies as a cutback. Having employees do work that you cannot afford to pay for, however, is not a cutback.

  7. -->> i stated ,Alex..



  8. I know TMNT is on CW. Perhaps, I shouldn't have commented on this. Like I mentioned I'm not aware of the specifics. It also turns out I'm ignorant and missed the Lawson blog post.

    Obviously, a company should pay its employees. It is a bit forward for them to ask him to donate his time. However, I do think people pick sides against their employers too often. I'm fortunate to have great employees. My employees donate a lot of their time and resources with out being asked. They have profit sharing, so the impact on them of doing so might be more direct, but I'm sure if TMNT does well Jim Lawson will do better. Now, if that isn't the case then there is injustice.

  9. but I'm sure if TMNT does well Jim Lawson will do better. Now, if that isn't the case then there is injustice.

    There is no profit sharing to the artists, if that's what you're alluding to. They get paid per piece.

  10. -->>> doesn't make you ignorant, Nathan if you missed Jim's post.

    You sound like a very busy person with allot of responsibilities.

    you missed it, and now you are caught up..

    not ' Ignorant '.