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Re: Selling FREE autographed cards, part 2

I think everyone of us has a different opinion when it comes to this. I think Vaughn
has made some good points and I agree with some of them. I hope people don't get me
wrong. I am not 100% against this.
I think this one case stands out the most, more than others because it was done
during the comic-con. This has been done for years, only now with the on-line auctions
do artists, writers and people can see the market for signatures. I am sure people
in the comic book market use eBay and Yahoo and other online places to rate
what items the fans are going for and what they are not. Any market research
and free market research at that will be looked at. After all, people are in the
comics buisness to make money. It is a buisness.
With this in mind, comics being a buisness, lets us coldy without emotion consider
anything done by a comic artist as a product. Lets say as a token of appreciation to
the customers (us) the artist gives out free products (signed promo cards and sketches).
Now the artists see these free products quickly (not even a week after the con in the case
of the promo card) being put up for sale for a quick $10.00. Well heck, if I was the artist
and I saw someone do that, I would be upset. My generous offer was quickly used as a
product for someone else to make money off my work. I would consider not doing
such a thing and have to sit in autograph areas where people pay to have me sign
their books. Or I open a website and sell off quick doodles and sketches for a few bucks.
Now, I am not saying or advocating anything with a signature or sketch is evil. I think this
one case stands out. It happened during/right on the convention and the memories of it
aren't even in our long term memory and we see the quick action for someone to turn
a free signed promo card around to make some money.
So why the concern? Will I think it affects us, the really die hard fans. If artists and writers
see more and more market potential and how people are getting huge profit from a signature or
a quick sketch, then they will not be as likely to sign that book or sketch that will sit on my
walls for years and I can always remember the time I had to chance to meet someone who's
art and writing I respect and enjoy. I would have to pay for it and it wouldn't feel like a cold
service. Not a friendly and warm gesture to perhaps thanks us for our support.
All in all, I doubt my letter or several letters will ever curve this from ever happening again.
But being able to make an attempt and then knowing I did, will make it better later on
when I look back and remember a time when people didn't always take advantage of the promo cards
and free sketches to make a quick buck.
-----Original Message-----
From: Vaughn H. Seward <vaughn@sewardconsulting.com>
To: Groo fans <groo-l@groo.com>
Date: Thursday, August 19, 1999 7:18 PM
Subject: Selling FREE autographed cards, part 2

Shane said: "...selling "FREE" autographed stuff and pictures that were
drawn and
autographed to a specific persons name..."

Look at it this way... if you *give* something away as a gift (e.g. a
signed promo card) with no strings attached, who should care what the
recipient does with it? If he feeds it to his dog, who should really care
(or know about it)? Would we have felt so bad if the card had been given
away on a free "auction" system or that the profit had been given to
charity? Maybe the real problem is the feeling that someone is making a
profit for something they got for free.

Don't forget that the buyer of the signed promo card is likely a fan who
couldn't make it to the con or doesn't know about the Groop and the kind
hearts of Gary and Shane. As fans we may feel unhappy about this but I'm
sure Dark Horse (and perhaps Sergio/M.E.) is happy that the "word" is even
spreading further afield.  :-)

Besides, what is the essential difference between someone making a profit
of $15 from selling Groo Pacific #2 that he bought 4 years ago and the
$5-10 someone is making on a free promo card? It certainly can't be the
money involved... it's peanuts!

~Vaughn Seward (cFlat7)