Dabel Trouble – UPDATED

wcThe Dabels seem to have had a good San Diego Comic-Con. They announced they were signing up with Longbox. They launched The Warriors – Jailbreak #1

Fantasy novelist L.A. Banks was meant to be signing with the Dabel Brothers Publishing at San Diego Comic Con to promote the Dawn and Darkness graphic novel. But it didn't happen. Rumour is, the art is late, contracts are being fought over and it's gotten rather mean.

And the George R R Martin calendar debacle still continues, with many who spent $60 preordering a 2009 calendar, either receiving the wrong item or no item at all. We are currently into the August page of the calendar and many still have received nothing.

George RR Martin posted that he was able to send the signed calendars to the Dabels (after finally receiving them to sign) four months ago but customers are still awaiting their copies and refunds aren't forthcoming.

This bust up also lead some to believe that they have deep sixed the publication of the final issue of the George RR Martin's Wild Cards series (cover pictured), three months after the already late fifth issue but there are assurances that the final comic will be published later this year.

And Dave Dorman is twittering that he's been owed $1000 or over a year for a cover that the Dabels have recently reprinted. And that for four months they kept telling him the cheque was in the mail. But he never received it.

Still even getting a cheque is no guarantee of anything, I've heard some cheques have been bouncing, for many thousands. One report has as artist owed thousands deciding to hold back the art to the next issue until they were paid for the previous one. On receiving the cheque, they released the artwork. And the cheque bounced.

And Marketing Manager Neil Schwartz, seen as a bright light at Dabel, recently left the company.

People who have worked with them told me at San Diego that Les Dabel and co aren't malicious in their dealings, but merely haphazard. Their progression from publisher to publisher to publisher has been based on their genial nature, the remarkable work they are able to produce and the licences they have been able to secure. But each time it has been dashed when the publisher in question just got fed up with the complications, the lateness, the non-payments and, basically, the excuses. And it all goes back to square one.

The lesson to be learnt is this. Work for the Dabels, sure. Their books look great. But maybe, just maybe, get a little something in advance.

Dabel representatives did not respond to enquiries.

UPDATED: A number of retailers have been in touch to add their concerns over Diamond Comics Distribution's recent decision to cancel a number of Dabel Brothers titles over lateness – including the successful Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Warriors, Nevermore and Dresden Files.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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