There is a young man called Josh Hoopes. I think that's his real name. It's hard to tell as he has been caught out using a number of names, aliases, identities, email addresses and street addresses. But there enough common threads to tie them together.
I first exposed Josh when he began using certain creators comic work as his own, getting gigs with small publishers for relatively low rates, hiring other creators to do their best work for high rates, then running off with the publishers' money and not paying the artists in question. Some artists only discovered this when the work was published.
He later emerged with a much more ambitious plan, posing simultaneously as A-list comics artist Art Adams and a fictitious agent Jeff Henzel, offering work at relatively low rates for such an admired creator. And a number of well respected publishers were fooled, and scammed out of advance payments. I ran a sting operation and forced a confession out of him, before he went silent again.
A brief reappearance as the Fake Art Adams recently indicated something was up. And it looks like he's back to his old ways.
This time he is using the identity Ron Runstrom and answering posts looking for creators with the following:
Hey there , just caught your posting and wanted to include a link to some
of my work. not much work now a day's but wanted to put out my feelers to see what projects are out there.
So below is a link to my work, and my prices are negotiable at this
Hope to be working with you soon. E-Mail if interested email@example.com
At the time of writing this gallery included a number of pages used by "Josh Hoopes" before, including work by Jinky Coronado, but this time with added sequential pages from Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen series from Oni Comics, actually pencilled by one Robbi Rodriguez.
So, adapting the name Bradley Peterson, I emailed "Ron" asking for his rates for comic book work. He replied
Thanks. These days i like to stay within budget of a new client. Let me know what your budget is then we can find some middle ground. Ron
So how much was he going to try to screw me out of? And what other artists would get caught up in his plan? I made a suggestion…
That's good to know. Would $100 a page be acceptable? For a 22 page monthly comic?
I saw your Tek Jensen work and was very impressed, as the project is in a similar vein. Did you meet Stephen Colbert?
Would he really cite one of the world's leading satirists?
Yes thats who my inspiriation is and 100 a page is fine. Is that for pencils and inks. Shoot me all the datails. Ron
The cheek of it! I decided to shoot away. Would he get suspicious?
Yes, that would be for pencils and inks. I'm so excited!
The comic book is called Cool Bleedings, it's a parody (which is why I thought of you) about a toboggan race in space, full of ridiculous species.
Can you give me a street address to send you a contract to sign? What kind of advance would you need, I could send that with the contract. Or can I Paypal you direct?
What kind of street address would I get?
All sounds great Brad i look forward to more details of the book. I usualy work with 75% up front before i start if that works fine with you and you can always pdf me the contract or if you feel better sending to my physical address its XXXX camino margarita, nicasio ca 94946 pdf would be faster though. Talk soon. Ron
That address is one used by Josh Hoopes on previous occasions. That's a pretty good link there. But could I get another?
Thanks! Can I call you at all?
He wouldn't really be so stupid to…
Any time my number is 916 XXX XXX
A quick check on that phone number and… wouldn't you know it…
But "Ron" hadn't heard from me.
Bradley……… Do the conditions sound ok? Also what time would be a good time to talk? Do you have a number i can call? Ron
Time to put the man out of his misery,
You can call me anytime, Josh.
No response yet… be warned everyone.