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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Text of Barry Windsor-Smith's Eisner Awards Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech -- This speech was written by BWS upon his induction into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame, and delivered by Fantagraphics Books publisher Gary Groth during the awards ceremony at Comicon International last week in San Diego.
My sincere thanks to the creators, editors, publishers, and retailers who were instrumental in selecting me for this Will Eisner, Hall of Fame, award.

Over the years I’ve strived to create what I think of as GOOD COMIC BOOKS. Stories where characters and personalities are grounded in our collective sense of reality, while their adventures exemplify THE AMAZING and THE FANTASTIC by transcending the cliches known to the general public as super heroes and super villains.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN, The FREEBOOTERS, WEAPON X, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG and sometimes more traditional characters such as The X-MEN and DAREDEVIL, have allowed me to express myself in a personal fashion not often embraced by the conventions of big business comics, where the disciplines and rigors of writing, penciling, inking, and coloring, are assigned to numerous teams commissioned to deliver products by the month, every month.

Gary Groth reads Barry Windsor-Smith's acceptance speech last week at The Eisner Awards ceremony at Comicon International in San Diego. (Photo from The Drawn and Quarterly Blog)

In the 1970s I was constantly asked when I would “do CONAN again.” In these latter years I receive e-mails imploring me to return to ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG. My short reply is “When pigs fly to the Moon and return home safely.”

But to those who really want to know, I say that the major companies’ standard contract, deceptively titled “WORK FOR HIRE,” is a legal but unethical instrument designed to rape and plunder young talents of every possible prerogative they would otherwise possess if they had the fortune to work for more scrupulous, morally invested, publishers.

“Pause for practically audible smirks and a smattering of light clapping from the back,” it says here.

All that said, I assure you that I am grateful for the privilege of joining the exemplary company of the Hall of Fame award. For this I offer my heartfelt thanks to each of you who made this possible.
Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for making me aware of the speech, and to Barry Windsor-Smith and BWS Studio Manager Alex Bialy for allowing me to post the text.



Blogger Steve said...

But how does he REALLY feel about work for hire?

29 July, 2008 17:53  
Blogger Joe Chiappetta said...

It's always great when someone stands up for the little guys/gals. That said, it's too bad the basics of intellectual property laws and copyrights couldn't be taught or at least outlined in high school.

29 July, 2008 23:24  

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