Monday, 12 October 2009

Alpha Gods & BWS - A Public Statement

As some of you may be aware, my comic book, Alpha Gods, was originally entitled Young Gods. The title was inspired by the 1991 album of the same name by British hard rock band the Little Angels. You may also be aware that not long before we went to print with the Alpha Gods graphic novel I received an email from one Alex Bialy, apparently "Windsor-Smith Studio Manager", informing me that Barry Windsor-Smith holds the trademark on the name "Young Gods" and asking me to cease using it.
Now, at the time I was a little surprised. I was aware that both Marvel and DC have for many years had groups called the Young Gods, although they've not appeared very often. Despite being a fan of Mr Smith's work on both Iron Man and Machine Man for Marvel Comics, I was not aware of his own comic of the same name. However, out of respect for Mr Smith and his claim of ownership of the name I was quite content to change the title of my comic. To be honest, I'm far happier with the name "Alpha Gods" makes more sense from an in story point of view...and my only disappointment is that it no longer serves quite so well as a tribute to what I firmly believe to be one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time.
So, that, I believed, was that...
...until someone directed me to the latest issue of RPG Review.
It would seem that one of RPG Review's writers had the audacity to use the term "Young Gods" in the title of one of their articles, and so drew the attention of Alex Bialy. RPG Review chose to point out that there was no possible case for trademark infringement here...which was when Mr Bialy, apparently, felt the need to bring my name, and the name of Orang Utan Comics into things...implying that my ideas are unoriginal and implying that, essentially, I had taken the title of my comic from that of Mr Smith's.
This is untrue. I want to make that abundantly clear, and the fact that Mr Bialy feels it necessary to imply such unsubstantiated accusations to an unrelated third party quite simply shocks me.
The actions of Mr Bialy here are deeply unprofessional, and I would hope that Mr Smith would consider disassociating himself from them. They show a deep and fundamental lack of respect for others in what is a very, very small industry. We're all in this together, we all love comics, and should be working together to build a better comics industry.

That said, now I have your attention, I'd like to point out that the first issue of the new Alpha Gods series, Alpha Gods: Betrayal #1 is now available to order from IndyPlanet and as a digital download on DriveThru Comics. Please check it out!

Ian Sharman
Managing Editor
Orang Utan Comics