In an interview with CBR News earlier this month, Andy Hurley, noted fanboy and drummer for the popular emo/pop-punk band Fall Out Boy, addressed the subject of the announced but yet-to-be-released Fall Out Boy comic book from Dabel Brothers Publishing, saying he hardly knew anything about it; that what he did know was decidedly unsatisfactory; and that the project was never actually approved.
Explained Hurley, "I don't know what happened. All I know is there was a press release about it and then all of a sudden I get some emails from some of our people saying, 'Hey, so you want to help write it?' And I was like, 'If it's a comic about our band, it's the lamest thing ever.' I mean, I'm not going to read it, so why would I help write it? So I kind of said that and they got back to me and said, 'Well, we never said okay to this. We never gave it the green light. It just kind of went out and now we have to play catch up with it and deal with it.' So with that whole thing, I don't really know what's happening. I wasn't really a part of it."
Hurley's remarks appeared to contradict an announcement made in February of this year in which the musician said the Dabel Brothers project gave he and his bandmates "the opportunity to create different versions of ourselves and tell an interesting story at the same time."
Following the publication of our interview with Andy Hurley, Dabel Brothers Business Director Rich Young contacted CBR News with a response to the drummer's comments, detailing the near-derailment of the Fall Out Boy comic by "The Simpsons" legal apparatus (the band's name is taken from the name of the sidekick of Radioactive Man, a comic book superhero within the show with his own comic published by Bongo Comics) and Dabel's endeavors to keep the project alive. The following is Young's statement in its entirety:
I actually began trying to contact [Fall Out Boy] through MySpace and [record label] Fueled By Ramen back in Feb '07. David at Fueled by Ramen thought it was good idea and was able to pass my message on to [bassist/lyricist] Pete Wentz. Pete was into it and I was put in touch with his assistant Rebecca Cairns at Clandestine Industries.
We put together an agreement and I went back and forth negotiating it with Rebecca and FOB's lawyer. Doug Neumann, who is a part of Crush Management, and represents FOB, was in the loop in this phase as well.
The agreement, signed by both parties, was received by Dabel Bros. on 9/7/07.
We started working on developing the project next -- pitching story ideas, getting promo artwork created, etc.Honestly, it was pretty slow going as Pete is a busy guy. We were having problems getting concepts approved and getting him in touch with our editor, but we were making slow progress. We also got Dan Fraga aboard during that time in an art capacity, as Pete specifically requested him for the project.
We drafted a press release in late January, announcing the project. It was approved by FOB's publicist and everyone else on their end, and went out Feb 13th. At that point we also asked if Andy Hurley could be more involved in the project, since we all knew that he's a big comics fan, and Pete, according to Rebecca, said that was ok.
The quote that came from Andy (that we used in the press release) read:
"I've been a fan of comics my whole life and when the Dabel Brothers approached us about doing a story with FALL OUT BOY, it was like a dream come true," said Andy Hurley. "I'm excited to have the opportunity to create different versions of ourselves and tell an interesting story at the same time."
BTW, I should note that the response we received after distributing the press release was pretty phenomenal. There were some people that bagged on us, but for the most part the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and it came from all sides.
On Feb 21, I received an e-mail from Doug Neumann from Crush stating that "The Simpsons" lawyers had contacted them and that they couldn't do a Fall Out Boy comic because they owned the rights [to the name]. He asked that the press release be removed wherever possible as they were afraid of getting sued. I assured Doug that this must be a misunderstanding and there must be a way we could work around this.
He replied on March 5th: "The guys are sour on doing a comic at this point. The whole 'Simpsons' thing just sort of ruined what they wanted to do however we understand this would have gone a little too close to their whole thing. Fall Out Boy could have had a lot of trouble if 'The Simpsons' people weren't very cool with the band and we don't want to rock the boat. I think we just need to sweep this one under the mat unfortunately. Please let everyone who has put work into this already that we and the band are sorry."
We weren't ready to give up that easily, so we requested Doug forward a copy of the letter so that we could contact the lawyer ourselves and see if we could come to some sort of arrangement. Surely they would understand that the comic we were working on would be by and about the members of the band and would have nothing to do with "The Simpsons" or any of the characters from the show?
The request was ignored, so we tracked down the contact info for Groening's lawyer and got in touch directly.
On March 18th, I let Crush Management know that we'd contacted the lawyer. I let them know we had already invested a lot in the project, and wanted to at least *try* to work something out and that if we couldn't, we'd drop things on the spot.
After several e-mails back and forth with ["The Simpsons" creator Matt] Groening's attorney, we got the green light, although with one caveat:
"Our sole interest is that the name "Fall Out Boy", the related Simpsons images and any references to The Simpsons not appear in any of your publications. We would be most appreciative if you would tell the band members of this decision and that we wish you and them all success with their comics."
I informed Crush Management of this and tried to get the project back on track but all my e-mails and calls went unanswered. In fact, they still haven't responded since March 18th.
Were we extremely frustrated? Yes. Did we play hardball by contacting Groening's lawyer directly? I would say so. Is that a reason for the band and it's management to ignore us and not honor our agreement? We don't think so, but we don't really have a choice, short of taking legal action.
I don't know what really happened here. Seems like it's a case of Pete and/or the management not communicating with the rest of the band, or the band deciding that they don't want to do the project after the agreement had already been signed.
Regardless, we feel we did everything in our power to keep the project alive. It's a shame because we think it really could have been something cool had it ever seen the light of day.
At this point we are just tired of people asking us about the project, and tired of the band continuing to deny that there ever was deal in the first place, so we wanted to set the record straight.
More on this as it develops.
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