< Piro >
Saturday - January 15, 2005
This is actually a two-part rant, and i want to get the happy stuff out of the way before i deal with something more serious. So, lets get to the happy news :)
I got a msg out of the blue the other day, one i didn't catch, from Largo. "I'm gonna be a dad!" I didn't see the message right away but when i did, it made me blink. It sort of didnt sink in. Then i heard it from some other mutual friends - yes, Rodney, the Great Largo himself, is gonna be a dad.
Oh wow. ^^;;;
Official word is that Rodney and Ruby Caston are expecting a baby. Everyone here at MT would like to say a big 'congratulations' and wish you two the best of luck on this new adventure. :) I'll keep y'all updated on things, but i'm sure you'll find the freshest updates over on largo's own site www.rcaston.com :) Congrats you two!
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Now, i want to touch on something that i'd rather not have to do, given the happy news related above, but it's not me who brought this up. Given what another web comic artist has said publicly i feel i have to respond.
Scott Kurtz over at PVP online today posted his own best wishes to Rodney and Ruby on the news that they are expecting a baby. Good stuff, but I wasn't prepared for Scott's parting line:
"Luckily, this is one of Rodney's creations that Fred can't steal out from under him."
You have no idea how shocked, upset, and very... sad this comment has made me feel. Not only is it mean spirited, but by it is a lie. So much of a lie and a falsehood that i feel i have to set the record straight.
Rodney and I had the equivalent of a creative break up. There are always bad feelings in break ups, but you move on. Contrary to what people might think, we were not best buddies who had known each other since childhood prior to starting Megatokyo. We just knew each other via IRC chats and general hanging about,. We got to know each other after he offered to host my Fredart site on his servers. We soon became friends. After a while Rod really did bug me about starting a webcomic, he really thought i could do one, and wanted to do one together. It wasn't very well thought out, really. He owned the domain megatokyo.com, so thats what we named it. We then came up with two characters named after ourselves, i scribbled some stuff, Rod wrote some scripts, and we just randomly started.
While things were good at first, over time we found that we were not working well together creatively. There is no fault in this, it happens. I've never blamed Rodney for this creative 'falling out' nor do i blame myself. Not all creative relationships click, ours didn't in the long run. Megatokyo continued because i was able of doing both the writing and the art for it, and since much of my scripting comes out of the art, scripts really end up having little effect on the final comic anyway.
Eventually, as the story grew more solid and the randomness started to fall away, I found that I was doing the comic more and more on my own. Not all of Rod's ideas fit in to the world i was starting to build. He came up with the concept of "Great Teacher Largo," and i wrote it into the story. Rodney wanted there to be zombie hordes going around and killing lots of people. I refused to do this. Rod was so frustrated with the restraints the 'story' was putting on him that he felt we needed to tie it all up, have a few characters get run over by busses, and get to some kinda place where we could do more randomness. I didn't want to do this either. It's not hard to see how our creative partnership sort of fell apart. Our ideas ceased to 'click'. Eventually i was doing the comic entirely on my own and Rod and I didn't talk that much.
As you might imagine, since there was no real partnership anymore and I was doing the entire thing on my own, I want to move on and officially do things solo. I didn't cut Rodney free, i didn't steal anything from him or trick him out of anything, i tried to do it right. I approached him with an offer that I would either buy out his interest or agree that Megatokyo would end and I would move on to something else. What I would not do is continue with things the way they were.
Sure, Rodney was not happy about this, but neither was I. It wasn't a happy situation all around, but i feel that both Rod and i approached it professionally and we worked together to reach an agreement (a legal agreement, of which the details are private and between Rod and myself. I am legally bound not to say much more about it. Thats the nature of legal agreements). Rodney determined a settlement amount that he felt was fair and i accepted it. Over the course of time I paid it. I have completely and fully honored our agreement.
I did NOT steal Megatokyo from Rodney. I did not force him to accept an agreement, i just didn't want to continue doing Megatokyo the way things were. He could have chosen to let Megatokyo die, and i could have decided not to accept his buy out price (which would have also resulted in Megatokyo ending - I could have switched over to work on 'warmth'). Both of us, however, believed in the future of Megatokyo, we had a lot of respect for our readers. Neither of us wanted it to die. I was willing to take the financial risk to keep it going. Rodney has indeed felt bad about no longer being a part of something he helped start. No one said life was perfect, and we did the best we could with a difficult situation.
I will not accept being accused of 'stealing' Megatokyo. I have said little about it for years, mostly because i felt that the problems between Rod and I were not anyone's business. I am very often slammed and accused of being a horrible, greedy person and that i 'screwed my best friend.' These people don't know anything about what happened between us. It's sad how people fill in the gaps about what they don't know with the worst possible things.
As far as i am aware, both Rodney and I have moved on. In fact, look, he's about to be a dad! Sure, we aren't best buddies anymore, and there has definitely at times been strain between us, but things are fairly cool between us now, i think. Thats what happens when you have a falling out.
Now, Rodney and Scott are good friends, and it's only natural that Scott is going to support Rodney more than he would me. That's fine, i have no problem with that. When there is a break up, each side has friends that support them, and those friends tend to dislike those on the other side. I nor any of my friends have ever talked trash about Rodney in public. In fact, i always give Rodney a good and honest rap at cons and when questions are asked about him. We did a lot of good stuff together.
I've never taken any pot shots at Scott or said anything bad about him either. In fact, Scott had contacted me recently wanting my opinion on some business matters, and i was more than glad to help out. I'm shocked that he'd take a swing at me like that. I feel kinda hurt.
I can deal with and respect the fact that you don't like me, Scott. that's fine. You may even say that its not right that im still doing Megatokyo without Rodney, You may feel that in the end Rodney didn't ask enough. Those are opinions. Do not call me a thief.
(BTW, is it me, or aren't there plenty of examples in comics where writers and artists move on and the series continues? Aren't there plenty of examples of this? How come i'm not allowed to do this? Does this make all of these people who continue work started with others, thieves?)
Rodney was a big part of where Megatokyo came from, but i have since done far more comics on my own than we ever did together. It is different today than it was then. There was some real concern that Megatokyo would not survive our split. I was scared that it wouldn't - we did loose many readers. Sure, some argue that Megatokyo was better back then - thats fine, i can accept that, but some people actually like it better now. Without a LOT of hard work, Megatokyo would not have made it, and still won't if i don't keep working on it. Its not like this is some kinda oil well that just keeps pumpin out the money. If i slack off, things will crash.
All in all, we're doing ok. Is that a bad thing? I guess i'm supposed to feel guilty and ashamed that i was able to make Megatokyo successful in spite of doing it without my founding partner. I hardly think that this is the first time in history that this has happened. Does it make me a thief?
Shame on me.
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Thank you for reading this, as full an account of what happened between Rodney and I as I can give you. My apologies to Rod for having to respond to this at such a happy moment in his life - It's not fun talking about such a difficult period. For you readers, I hope you can now understand that things are never as perfect or as simple to define as people like to believe they are.