Years and years ago I was knocking at the doors of various comic book publishers, trying to find employment selling comic book scripts. It was a tough job trying to get in the door, as most of the larger publishers were being run in a kind of professional nepotism between the editors who worked there. It was difficult to find an editor who didn't play by those sick incestuous rules.
But I did manage to place a script here and there. Most notable of these was a brief tenure at the Marvel Comics sub-imprint Epic Comics on the title CLIVE BARKER'S HELLRAISER. The editor had heard about me through, I think, Steve Bissette's TABOO anthology. I was asked if I'd be interested in writing short scripts based on the ideas presented in the movie HELLRAISER. I'd never seen it, so I had to go out and rent the two films that had appeared by that time. I found them to be silly, nihilistic, and...well, I didn't care for them.
However, the money for writing the scripts was quite good and I felt that I could find purchase in the original concept to create some stories. So I did that, presented them to the editor (Dan Chichester), and sold three scripts. Unfortunately, Chichester left his position as editor, was replaced by a member of the editorial circle-jerk, and the door closed.
But, as promised, the money was good. I even earned some nice royalty checks, as sales on the early issues were hefty. At the time, the comic book business was going great guns and Barker's name propelled some import among the geek community. But, the fad waned and the title eventually was canceled. I heard no more of it until someone told me that Marvel/Epic had come out with reprints of the books in limited hardcover editions. "Swell," I figured. "I'll be getting reprint checks." Alas, no. When I inquired as to why I would get no money for the reprinting of stories dreamed by me and written by me, I was told that the hardback reprints were "merchandise" and as such, only Marvel/Epic and New Line Cinema and perhaps Clive Barker himself were due any additional payments. I never received a dime, nor even a contributor's copy. Those went for about $50 each, as I recall.
I laugh. Painfully, but I laugh.
Fast-forward more years. The Hellraiser trope is dusty and tattered and only low-budget movie producers and twisted fanboys bother to recall it. One day I'm surfing the Internet and happen upon an outfit called Checker Books who are reprinting the HELLRAISER comics in trade paperback format. I search the site and discover an email address and write asking if there are plans to reprint any of my own stories and, if so, will I receive payment for such. An editor actually wrote back to me and hinted that, yes, they were thinking of reprinting at least one of my stories and, yes, they would "try" to pay reprint funds.
Fast-forward more years. They did indeed reprint at least one of my Hellraiser tales. No, I did not receive any money for that. When I search their website now, there is no listing for any way to get in touch with these folk.
Again, I laugh. Painfully, but I do manage a chuckle.