The strip still stands up fairly well today, even the artwork to a degree. On a personal note, it's been interesting re-reading it ten years later, as it's the first work I did after my mum died, and I can see quite obvious and fascinating links in the story that I was completely unaware of at the time. Overall, I like it still, so don't mind it being republished (as long as the date is clear...).
With artwork it is a little more complicated. I put a lot of time and effort into what I do, and the person who I'm working for has paid money so they can use the work (though I usually retain copyright). When someone else takes it without asking, it's bad form. It's not always done with malicious intent. Some people are genuinely unaware that just because the artwork is out there - on the internet, on a poster, in a book - it can be used, for free. The work's been done, someone's possibly been paid, now it's public property. Well, that's not so, I'm afraid.
Making the discovery gives me a couple of feelings. I feel bad that someone thinks my work can just be used for free, without any credit or remuneration. I also feel slightly flattered that they think it's good enough to use. I don't call in the lawyers or rant and rave and have a go at the person or company, when discovered. I usually write a pleasant email drawing their attention to the fact that they have done something that is not morally correct, and that I feel just as bad having to point this out as they probably do about hearing it. And I don't feel good doing it, but then again, I can't let it pass either.
There's a couple of examples below. My Oliver logo (in black and white) was used on what is actually a nice colourful poster. It's been flipped and Oliver has been given a little peaked cap, but it is my logo. Mine was designed in the late nineties, well before the recent Oliver film which has also used a similar 3-person silhouette (but quite different). I'm less worried about the more amateur copy of my Sweeny Todd poster, partly because they've gone to the trouble of redrawing it (and no, that isn't normally a viable excuse!), and partly because it was for a very small amateur production (I didn't write to them about that one).
Artists and writers don't always just 'knock these things out', which is often assumed. I have a talent for drawing, but I still work my soul out at the drawing table, and that talent is the result of years of sitting in front of a piece of paper and practising and practising. The original Sweeny poster I actually drew and painted twice, as the original was sold at auction to help fund the show. I was then asked for another to put in the lobby - it was never actually used for publicity purposes in the end! I spent many hours on them. The Oliver logo may look pretty simple, and it is, but it had a huge number of rough sketches going back and forth before the client was happy.
Even though the film is sped up, it still goes on a bit, so do feel free to flit about the timeline. The only bits edited out are those where I leant in the way of the camera. The film doesn't show, of course, the three phone calls and one night's sleep that interrupted the creative flow.
'Batman Begins' was okay, but generally rather dull. It hit a low-point early on when Liam Neeson (I think it was him, I mix them all up, those actors) said something in the monastery about being able to hide in the shadows, then I think he clicked his fingers and twenty ninjas dropped to the floor from the ceiling-beams where they'd been hiding, possibly since lunchtime. I did actually quite enjoy it, but it had many tiresome moments.
'A Life Aquatic' always looked intriguing, though I'd heard mixed reviews. But I have to say I thought it was really very good indeed. It had a nice upbeat feeling to it, was very quirky and I couldn't get over Willem Defoe being a German nerd. It even had a kind of hidden pirate base on an abandoned island. A lovely film.
And last night we saw 'Churchill (The Hollywood Years)'. I hadn't read any good reviews of this, I don't think, and mainly wanted to see it after reading about Antony Sher playing Hitler (see this funny little story from his book 'Primo Time'). But the film totally surprised me by being very funny indeed and full of some wonderful performances, particularly from Leslie Phillips, Harry Enfield and Antony Sher. It was a very traditional British comedy in a way, sort of the Comic Strip meets Ealing Studios, perhaps even a little Carry On, but with more swearing and explosions. It must have been inspired in particular by that whole Enigma machine thing in 'U-571', and perhaps just a few other films as well.
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