Saturday, October 17, 2009

THE FORMALDEHYDE MAN...NO MORE!!!

The picture of Formaldehyde is from Geek Maggot Bingo. All Rights Are Copyright to the creators.

So, I recently watched GEEK MAGGOT BINGO the other day. I hadn't seen it for years so I decided to was time for a rewatch. I was infatuated with the monster known as The Formaldehyde Man. I have a friend who is an excellent sculptor who I thought could do up a small, inaction figure that we could make a limited run of and sell on the Internet.
Seems reasonable right? Yeah, then I got this message from my MySpace account.

"Hi Doug,
While I share your enthusiasm regarding the character The Formaldehyde Man, it is a copyrighted character that I own as the designer and creator. I don't mean to cramp your style but as an artist, writer, and publisher yourself, you understand the notion of ownership regarding original material. You need licensing to appropriate a copyrighted image or character. A copyright which I own and have not licensed or relinquished to anyone.
So, please enjoy the character as he was intended and if you need to see more of The Formaldehyde Man, THEFORMALDEHYDEMAN.COM will be up soon, and why work with someone else to create a figure when it already exists, again created by the creator.
You can reach me directly at: tksmithart@comcast.net
Sincerely, Tyler Smith"

Now, I figured that I could just message him back on his MySpace account, right? Right! Yeah, then I got this little missive;

"Yea, did you ask Tyler Smith? That is my dad, a.k.a. the person who originally wrote this message. He doesn't have a Myspace so he signed onto mine to e-mail you. He told you to talk to him at tksmithart@comcast.net
Let me re-iterate myself clearly. I am Aaron Smith, Tyler Smith's son. He is the owner of the Formaldehyde man. He saw on a blog that someone was making an action figure of the Formaldehyde man on a blog and he signed onto my myspace to reach you because he doesn't have a Myspace.
Sincerely,
Aaron Smith"

So, the guy misrepresents himself, acting like this is his account when, in fact, it belongs to his young son. Way to go, Daddy-O.
I washed my hands of the whole thing and told the younger Smith words to that effect. I wanted no part of this.

Then he messaged me again;


"But why would you just give up hope on something so great? At the sign of one obstacle you just turn around and go home? I think you should do it. Just consult my dad first.
Sincerely,
Aaron"

I told him to go ahead and ask his dad for me. I was, at this point, done with the entire thing. I told him that we would make the figure, attribute it to his father, mention it in the packaging and send him one when it was done.

Then I got this message, again from the father using his son's MySpace again;

'Hi Doug,
It's Sept 30, my 14 year old son is now just telling me for the first time of your mails back and forth. I wrote you originally and left my address . I don't have a my space so he let me use his to contact you.
Please, write me directly to discuss this, not him, so I don't have to use his spacebook.
tksmithart@comcast.net
Tyler Smith'

Now, you see where he mentions that his son told him of all the emails and the ideas that I had, right? Okay, so I bit the bullet and asked Tyler Smith if he had any pictures of the back of the creature to help my sculptor friend out with the design. Sounds like something reasonable, right? You know, get the ball rolling, get the figure done and out into the public eye. Make some money for every interested party on a monster that has seen light since 1983!?!?
TWENTY-SIX FRIGGIN YEARS and an idea that I conceived that would do nothing but give the film and the creators more exposure. Limited edition figures are very collectible and there are plenty of people who would shell out some serious bank for a monster that has not been utilized for TWENTY-SIX YEARS!!!

Here's the response that I got;

"Hi Doug,
Just for the record, Douglas Waltz has never contacted me directly until the above mail. My help has never been directly requested, nor have I ever offered my help in this matter.
Regardless of how long the Formaldehyde Man from GEEK MAGGOT BINGO has been around and how "entitled" you might think you are, Nick and I own the sole rights to any and all material in Geek Maggot Bingo.
I spoke with Nick, you made no mention of a sculpture. He did not issue authorization for the use of the rights to the Formaldehyde Man in a sculpture. Nor did he consult me regarding any of your communications.
Again, as stated before, for the record, I have not authorized or relinquished to you or anyone, the rights to use any images and characters related to the Formaldehyde Man, which I own the rights to. For you to proceed, you do so at your own risk, knowing that you are in violation of an existing copyright, and totally and flagrantly disregarding my wishes.
In light of your last e-mail, where you have made it clear you intend on proceeding, without at least one direct communication with me expressing your intent, again in direct opposition to my stated position regarding the rights to The Formaldehyde Man, I'm interpreting your stand on this matter as hostel and one of non-compliance.
This is my last correspondence.

Sincerely,
Tyler Smith"

Let's go ahead and dissect this missive shall we?
I never said I was 'entitled' to use The Formaldehyde Man.
Direct contact was made through the original format (MySpace) that you utilized.
I never mentioned a sculpture to Nick Zedd, that is true. BECAUSE WE'RE MAKING AN INACTION FIGURE!!!!!!! Completely different and I actually was still visualizing the idea when I last corresponded with Nick. The plan was to make a prototype, present it all concerned parties and go from there. Then the MySpace fiasco began.
The phrase 'I intend on proceeding' has no merit. I told the son more than once that I was done with the ridiculous situation and had no intention of proceeding, makes this statement false. It was the son's prodding that had me reach out to Mr. Smith in the first place.
You misspelled 'Hostile'.
The only good thing that has come from this is that Mr. Smith has promised that this will be his last correspondence.
GREAT!
Now, I won't have to put up with incessant whining from his son, with out and out lies in emails from the father and I never have to worry about this again. So, MR. Smith can let his creation sit in his storage unit and rot into oblivion where nothing will ever come of it. I mean really, he's had twenty-six years and what has been done with this creature? One movie. That's it. No more no less.
It's a shame because The Formaldehyde Man is a great movie monster and could use some positive press.
Now, to The Formaldehyde Man directly;
Dear Formaldehyde Man,

I had such grand plans for your relaunch. I in no way blame you for the horrible behavior of your creator. Maybe he will see his selfish ways for what they are and he will reconsider. The above email makes that very unlikely and that's a shame. Stay strong Formaldehyde Man. At least we have Geek Maggot Bingo together. NO one can take that away from us.
Sincerely,
Douglas Waltz
Your Number One Fan.

Oh, and that little blurb at the top? I had intended putting a picture of the magnificent Formaldehyde Man for the world to see.
The hassle isn't worth it.

(The above article is copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction of any of the original work is prohibited unless permission is given by the author. This includes review of the aforementioned work as well as satire of the above. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.)

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