[Editor's Note: This story has been updated. Scroll to the end for a response from Image Comics.]
Friday morning, Percy Carey - AKA rapper MF Grimm, who penned his own graphic novel, "Sentences," from Vertigo in 2007 - sent a letter to retailers and industry professionals Friday announcing he's stepped down as Marketing Director of "Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem!," the recently debuted Image Comics title headed by actor Tyrese Gibson ("Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen"). The full letter is posted below. Attempts to reach representatives from "Tyrese Gibson's Mayhem!" and Image Comics for comment went unanswered by press time.
To my dear friends and colleagues:
I would like to take this time to inform you all that I have officially stepped down as marketing director of Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM!
Although I handled the marketing up until San Diego Comic Con 2009, I did not agree with the direction the owner(s) and the creators were headed. Therefore, I submitted my resignation shortly after our return.
On several occasions over the past few months, the creators decided to forget about their responsibilities (writing a good comic book) and on a whim, turned their focus to the marketing of Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM!; it was during these times they found mutiple ways to insult well-respected people within the comic book industry.
The Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM! team has been considered outsiders by a comic book industry that's cautious of celebrities intent on selling comic books because of so called "star power", an industry weary of creators from different mediums who seemingly lack respect for the comic book community. This being said, you would expect these parties to act upon their self-proclaimed sincerity whether or not their name is above title (unfortunately the world is filled with bad actors.)
It's easy for people to take credit for things (like strategic marketing) when they are going well, but no one will step forward when unethical methods are implemented, methods that are clearly not "strategic". Because I am credited in Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM! as Marketing Director, I'm obligated to come forward and absorb the blame for these (unauthorized) snake oil selling marketing tactics which I found to be unnecessary and insensative to comic book retailers. (I do not want to be associated with the comic book retail problem that has arisien because of this project , especially in this frail economy.
At one point, I put in a personal request to Arch-Enemy Entertainment (the parent company of Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM!) To have the members of Team MAYHEM! Who insulted Mr. Brian Hibbs of Comix Expeirence (and several other comic book retailers, many of whom are close friends of mine) by using snake oil selling marketing tactics to send a apology in the same forum(s) where the insult(s) took place; my request for the apology went ignored by the creators. I must therefore take it upon myself to do what should have been done quite some time ago.
As the former head of Marketing for Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM!, I would personally like to take a moment and send my deepest apologies to Mr. Brian Hibbs and his family for the unnecessary attacks in public forums employed by my former camp. Mr. Hibbs became the focus of the unauthorized marketing ploys that followed. At no time was I a part of such antics nor would I have approved anything that would ruin the credibility of Mr. Hibbs or any other retailer.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Hibbs and consider him one of the few who speak genuinely, from the heart and mind equally.
I have been in the music retail business as a distributor for the past 10 years and I understand what it's like to have to roll up your sleeves and sell units. Comic books are even harder to move because of the absence of returns.
To all other comic book retailers who were insulted by these unauthorized marketing tactics: I'm terribly sorry as well. The only issue that should have the words Percy Carey, Master Of The Widget, LLC is the first print of issue #1 (and yes ladies and gentlemen of the press, the 10,000+ sales in one store is the real deal, something I will always be proud of).
Please note: In no way should any of the aforementioned be seen as a reflection of Image Comics or their wonderful staff. I thank Mr. Robert Kirkman and Mr. Eric Stevenson for the opportunity I hope to be able to work with them again in the future.
Furthermore, I would like to inform the public that I have also stepped down as Sr. Vice President of Arch-Enemy Entertainment, (The parent company of Tyrese Gibson's MAYHEM!).
I will now focus on my own endeavors; one being my strategic innovations consulting company Master Of The Widget, LLC. The other being the relaunch of my record company Day By Day Entertainment. I will also continue my passions as a writer in film (especially animation-PIXAR here I come!), television and music.
Update 11:50 AM - When asked for comment, CBR News received this response from Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson, "Percy's been part of the 'Mayhem!' team since we first started discussing this project with Tyrese last year, so obviously, it's a bit of shock to learn of his resignation. It was actually a real pleasure to meet him, because I'm a big fan of his graphic novel. We had some very constructive conversations about comics marketing. It's a shame things worked out this way."