So, many years ago, I hired some poor fan on the skids to help me out around the house and office, and what did I get for my pains? Nearly two decades later, he’s claiming he was never paid, which is a big fat lying liars who lie Lie, and that he was SEEEEKRITLY my inker. And for awhile he was also claiming he was SEEEEKRITLY my boyfriend. Ugh. Schmuck. I whined blogged about it here.

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I used to feel really bad when some whack job would run around and pull this sort of number on me, until the day I got over my embarrassment about being a nut magnet and realized EVERYBODY in the creative profession is a nut magnet. Career Conflation and Importance via Proximity is a universally crappy experience we are all forced to endure.

Now that we have social media, we can share these creeptastic stories with our peeps on our private pages. I feel so much better when I know I’m not the only eye in the center of the Stupidstorm.

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Name dropping for fun and profit is the primary currency in fandom and if you can’t get cozy with a good story, get cozy with a bad one! Power via proximity makes the fandom go round. Why…it’s just like Hollywood, only without the Louis Vuitton and extraordinarily high maintenance personal hygiene.

LEVEL BLACK: The Delusional Jerk
These people are either lying or exaggerating level green or yellow stories to make them much more interesting than they actually are. They consider themselves in a higher caste than the people they hang out with, and they will drop names like its no tomorrow in order to illustrate just how much better they are from you. However, the secret is out: these folks are full of shit.

Several of my pro peeps shared their tales of woe with me, of jerkasaurus assistants, and other minor functionaries, whose conflations caused drama where’er they did tred.

Thanks to the delightful Cully Hamner,
I now share with you this tale of the Art Assistant From Hell, He Who Thinks Spotting Blacks makes him…An INKER.

It’s amazing to have to explain to an assistant that filling in blacks *isn’t* actually inking. I have a similar story with a guy who was interning at Gaijin, filling in the backs and such. He was telling people on some message board that he was my inker on BLUE BEETLE. So I sat him down, poured the pressure on him. He kept trying to tell me that since he was filling in my blacks– putting ink on a page, in other words– that he was actually the inker. He would not hear any logic otherwise.

At a con sometime later, after he was no longer our assistant, he told me he was working for “DC Animation.” When I questioned further, he admitted that he had simply done some unpaid designs for a group of people trying to PITCH a show to WB Animation using DC characters. When I told him this didn’t mean he was “working for DC,” he said that he WAS– he simply hadn’t been hired yet.

Still later, I caught him on another board telling people he was writing the next Superman movie “for DC Comics.” So, I called him out again: DC Comics doesn’t produce the movies, I said. It’s for a different part of DC, he said. Who are you working for, I asked. He gave me a bogus name. When I told him how many DC people I had contact with, and that no one seemed to know the name he gave up, he freaked out, and said he didn’t owe anyone an explanation. Weird thing is that the other posters on this board defended him…!

It was just stunning that this little asshole thought he could bullshit someone who *actually* does many of the things he *claims* to do…

Alas, Cully, I’m sorry you had to endure that. It is almost exactly like what I went through with Doctor Lizardo, and we know many pro peeps who share similar stories. Thanks for sharing yours.

And remember kids: spotting blacks is not inking. You have to earn those chops. You don’t get the pro bucks and the pro respect unless you have the pro skills. There is an order of magnitude between what you are doing as piece work, and actual creative work. The fact that you don’t know that is why you are where you are, and why Cully Hamner is where he is.

Lying will not endear you to your client.

Good luck with that career.

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