I felt it was high time I got a few things off my chest.
As many of you know by now, I posted a journal entry way back at the beginning of the year in which I stated that people were not to use my characters without permission. For the most part, that rule was successful, and prevented my characters from turning up in several stories or illustrations where it would not have been appropriate. But I also feel that it may have had the unintended side effect of convincing some that I'm against the idea of my characters being used by other people at all,
as well as just making me come across as unapproachable.
Well, first of all, let me appologise for the unapproachable part. I won't deny that I can be a thoroughly unpleasent individual--especially in real life. But it really surprised me to learn that there are those who actually believe that I'm against all crossover material... especially since I've taken part in so many crossover stories in the past.
Maybe it would help if I actually explain why I made the decision to post the "ask first" rule in the first place. Back in the early days of the
, my characters made quite a number of appearances in other people's work. And at first, I couldn't have been happier; it made me feel good to know that people actually seemed to like what I had created. As time went on, however, I found that some people were taking a few too many liberties with their depictions of my characters. Initially, I stayed flexible about this, and tried to "take the compliment" as it were. But two things would happen in 2013 that would force me to reevaluate things.
The first was that a fellow DU member--who, out of respect, shall remain anonymous--used the School Girl in one of their stories without my permission. The problem with this is that they used her in such a way as to ruin a story idea that I was developing. At the time, I was still trying to be Mr. Nice Guy and didn't have the heart to tell this person halt what they were doing. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to abandon my original concept in order to maintain continuity across the board. In retrospect, I really wish I had stood up for myself, but I suppose that ship has sailed now.
The second catalyst was Omega Rising. It's probably common knowledge by now that I absolutely hated that particular summer crossover, so I won't waste a lot of time repeating the sentiments here. Suffice to say, the ending was an absolute slap in the face. And considering how much I had to twist and contort my own storylines just so my characters could be in it at all, I felt like such a chump for ever having gotten involved in the first place.
After several months of reflection, I decided that I needed to be more discriminating about what I took part in, and that I couldn't just let people do whatever they wanted with my characters. So in January I posted my journal requesting that people ask before using. Some people have been very respectful of my position, and for that I'm thankful. But like I said, others got the wrong idea.
I would like to make it clear once and for all that I actually do
like crossovers. It's one of the reasons I joined the DU in the first place and am still there to this day. It's always a bummer for me when I have to sit out of a challenge. I'm currently in discussions with
over a potential crossover story. And I hope to do further collaborations with
at some point in the future.
But at the same time, not every challenge is going to work with my characters or even spark my creative juices. I'm very much a quality over quantitiy guy, and I'm not going to put out work that I'm not proud of. Likewise, I don't want people using my characters in material that could potentially result in continuity conflicts, or that just doesn't feel appropriate for them.
That's why I want people to ask first. And really, shouldn't asking before you use somebody else's stuff just be common courtesy?