Thursday, October 15, 2015

Reid Fleming and Hollywood

One of the funniest and most amusing comic books from the days when I ran comic book shops was a title called REID FLEMING, WORLD'S TOUGHEST MILKMAN. It was an independent title which usually means that it shouldn't have sold well. But the book was so well done and so absolutely hilarious that I would always sell out of it and had to keep reordering copies.

The book became so popular and so widely known that someone bought the movie rights from creator David Boswell. Everyone thought that it was going to be a movie, and I recall the rumors that it had the green light and was moving forward. All of the Reid Fleming fans who came to my store to buy their copies were hyped (myself included). And we waited for news of its production and imminent release.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We're still waiting, all these decades later.

The story is a familiar one, especially for me, as I partially lived it when I optioned the film rights to my first novel, THE FLOCK. In my case, though, it was an option and not an outright sale of all rights. Good for me...alas for the talented David Boswell.


Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

Moral of story: you don't care who is interested in your work, you OPTION, never sell outright. Lord, that's sad, but R. Crumb told a story of how he tried to sell a property to Buck Henry, and Henry took Crumb out to his garage, where there were stacks and stacks of unread scripts people had sent him. Also, Bukowski's BARFLY went in and out of production so many times for lack of funding it was a miracle it got made at all. Then there's this tale of someone getting interested, buying the rights, and forgetting about it. That's Hollywood, baby. Consider how Winston Groom got screwed by Paramount over _Forrest Gump_. We could do this all day and into next week.

I'm reminded of something a former libertarian said about its philosophy, that anyone who says government should be run like a business has never worked for a large corporation, and seen the insane waste and inefficiency that's tolerated as a matter of course in these places. Hollywood is huge, lucrative, and has money to waste. The Reid Fleming guy literally sold himself into oblivion.

James Robert Smith said...

It is indeed amazing that BARFLY made it to the screen. The journey is past a barricade of venal monsters. The people who can run that gauntlet are champions.