Two days ago, I reported that an artist had been in touch with Bleeding Cool over unpaid bills for a comic they'd drawn last year, that now had stopped responding to them. Ten minutes later, after an email from me, the publisher got in touch, offering a payment plan that was accepted.
Shortly afterwards I was contacted by another artist in a similar situation. And wouldn't you know it, it was the same publisher. I got in touch and the artist was suddenly contacted by the company, offering to write them a cheque there and then.
Its not uncommon for a publisher to get in difficulty in this fashion – much of the comics market has been depressed, but costs of business have not decreased. People who owe the publisher money can suddenly be late, and there's little a website such as this one can do in such a situation.
The key here is communication and honesty. Not making promises that can't be kept and certainly not stopping replying to emails. If payment problems occur, a weekly email bringing people up to speed should be the minimum.
I've been writing this kind of thing for twenty years and have seen publishers come and go. Lack of communication is usually what happens towards the end. I'm still not naming the publisher, they have told me that they are trying to sort the situation out and I'm hoping communication with the two creators – and any others who haven't broken ranks and e-mailed me – will continue.
Comics is a tough business. People will forgive all sorts of things. Until you stop acting like a human being.