by Jason Beattie
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So I left this gig in early 1999, (basically 'cause they
couldn't afford to pay me very well), but struck a deal that I could keep
freelancing the comic for them. This agreement was strained from the start...
It was a constant struggle to get them to ever send me payment or sample copies of the magazine. At one point they even tried to charge me for expenses on a corporate card I never even owned, months after I had ever worked there. Then in July of '99, I received an e-mail from the boss, explaining
"We've decided to switch Dot.Com to another artist. I needed more mindshare
and planning for Dot's success, so we made a decision to switch."
My inside sources who had yet to jump ship on this company (they soon would), told me the decision to switch was due to the fact that they had found a cheaper cartoonist. To this day, I don't know what 'mindshare' is. I think it means 'money'.
So my friend Ian wrote a (not-at-all snarky) note to the boss-man:
As a big fan of Jason Beattie's comic strip "Dot.Com", I must say am displeased with your decision to terminate him. Mr. Beattie is a man filled with humor and mindshare. The likelihood of you finding someone who can continue Dot.Com's level of humor is virtually nil; as a cartoonist myself I can tell you that Mr. Beattie is truly among the elite in our field. Surely you must agree with that after having read his material. I urge you to retain his services, I'd hate to see the end of Dot.Com.
To which he received the following reply:
Thank you for the kind words about Jason Beattie and Dot.Com. I concur with your assessment of Jason's talents and contributions. It was no easy decision for us. Jason has been the third artist to draw and write Dot.Com, who incidently celebrates her third birthday next issue. From the beginning, the intent was to make Dot.Com a "contractor" strip in both content and spirit. That is, each year we thought we'd get a different perspective on Dot and her world by contracting out her creation to different artists. As the original creator of Dothory Com, I was especially pleased to hear your kind words about Jason. His humor, talent and spirit did much to enhance her world. I, too, predict Jason will go far in his career and I'm proud to have been associated with that future success.
This was pretty amusing to read...as this was the first time I'd heard of their intent to employ a new cartoonist each year (Presumably because this policy was just made up at the time the letter was written). The previous two cartoonists of Dot.Com had both quit due to being inadequately compensated for their work, so I suppose I should have seen the end coming. It was fun while it lasted...it's just too bad there was some...er... unpleasantness at the end there.
At this point the company and magazine have long gone the way of the XFL, but I know that even as late as 2002, they still had a bit of a problem with paying their writers.
OK, enough of my ranting, why don't ya go read some more of my comics?