- Posted by Johanna on September 19, 2006 at 12:08 pm
- Category: Comic News
Someone get Ellison checked for senility, ok? His latest boo-boo (after groping Connie Willis during an award presentation) is suing Fantagraphics, Gary Groth, and Kim Thompson.
The full text of the complaint starts off with self-aggrandizing praise:
“[Ellison] is known publicly as the writer of some of the best loved original Star Trek and Outer Limits episodes. In addition to his lifelong devotion to literary craft, Ellison is a well-known fearless champion of artist’s rights who, at great cost to himself, has pursued several intellectual property and related matters through the Courts in an effort to elevate his profession and safeguard other artists.”
before descending into what appears to my untrained eye to be near-libel:
“Groth revealed himself to be a scheming pathological liar and little more than an obsessively vindictive and petty man trying to be a mover and shaker…. Fantagraphics is a tiny but hostile publishing outfit…”
What any of this has to do with the complaint I’m not sure. Based on my reading, Ellison alleges that the upcoming Fantagraphics history book Comics as Art: We Told You So defames him, and that Fantagraphics violated his “right of publicity” with The Comics Journal Library: The Writers (a collection of interviews of which his is one). Apparently, simply including Ellison’s name on the cover without his permission (along with all the others included) “wantonly trades” on it. (The description attached to his, “famous comics dilettante”, didn’t help; he calls it an insult and he’s probably right about that intention.)
If you’ve ever been curious about why and how Groth and Ellison had their famous falling-out, this complaint is a good way to hear one side of the story. During the lawsuit 20 years ago in which Michael Fleisher sued Ellison and the Journal, Ellison alleges that Groth lied to him, stole from him, and has been harassing him ever since. He complains that Groth “used money Ellison paid for legal services to fund a secret tropical vacation for himself and his partner Thompson.” (I think that has the potential to be a new catchphrase: “secret tropical vacation”.)
Additionally, Groth calling Ellison a “wheedler” is, according to Ellison, an attempt to strike at “the heart of Ellison’s professional reputation” relating to his efforts to champion artist’s rights. (I keep thinking that should be “artists’ “, but who am I to question a high-priced California lawyer?)
But wait, it gets better! Ellison has included in his lawsuit 20 unnamed “Does” who will be included once their true names are known. These 20 people are those who published these “false and defamatory Statements… to numerous third parties, including publishing and disseminating … through the Fantagraphics website on the worldwide internet.” It’s always that darn internet for Ellison!
Ellison wants general damages, punitive damages, prohibition of the Comics as Art book’s publication, destruction of existing copies, destruction of any remaining copies of The Comics Journal Library: The Writers, and attoney fees.
Strange that such a vehement defender of creative rights resembles so closely a censor, isn’t it?