Dez Skinn : biography
Derek "Dez" Skinn (born February 4, 1951)Miller, John Jackson. , Comics Buyer’s Guide, June 10, 2005. Accessed August 14, 2010. . is a British comic and magazine editor, and author of a number of books on comics. As head of Marvel Comics’ operations in England in the late 1970s, Skinn reformatted existing titles, launched new ones, and acquired the BBC license for Doctor Who Weekly. After leaving Marvel UK, Skinn founded and edited Warrior, which featured key works by Alan Moore.
Called by some the "British Stan Lee,"Badham, Matthew. Comic Book Resources (July 1, 2010). Skinn is one of British comics’ most influential figures. He has also caused no small amount of controversy in his career, specifically related to legal issues regarding his publishing new adventures of the 1950s character Marvelman, as well as charges of plagiarism about Skinn’s 2004 book Comix: The Underground Revolution.
Marvelman (a.k.a. Miracleman)
Before launching Warrior, Skinn contacted writer Alan Moore, telling him that "Marvelman’s copyright had belonged to the publisher L. Miller & Son, … that they had gone bankrupt in 1963[,] and that the rights to Marvelman had passed to the Official Receiver [and therefore] could be purchased for a very small amount…”; and asked Moore if he “would … like to … contribute to this new retelling of Marvelman.”Amacker, Kurt. Mania.com (September 3, 2009)
A quarter-century later Moore found out that Marvelman creator “Mick Anglo had always owned the copyright, that it had never been owned by L. Miller & Son, and that they had not gone bankrupt, but had concluded their affairs quietly in 1963 …. Basically, Mick Anglo had been robbed of his ownership of [Marvelman].” According to Moore, “I was not on the best of terms with Dez Skinn by the end of the Warrior experience. I didn’t trust the man, and my opinion — for what that is worth — is that there was knowing deceit involved in the Marvelman decision.”
But according to Skinn, he had met with Anglo three times before assigning creators to Marvelman and Anglo had expressed no problem with the relaunch then or for the following 20+ years. Skinn cites quotes by Mick Anglo from George Koury’s 2001 book Kimota: "[Regarding ownership] I don’t know; that was Miller’s sort of thing … Dez contacted me and he wanted to revive it and I said go ahead and do what you like."Kimota!: The Miracleman Companion TwoMorrows Publishing; 1st edition (September 1, 2001), p.10.
After Warrior magazine folded due to poor sales, Skinn signed a deal with independent American publisher Eclipse Comics to reprint the Marvelman stories (under the title Miracleman) before continuing the storyline with new material by Moore and later Neil Gaiman. According to an editorial by then-Eclipse editor Cat Yronwode in Miracleman #24:
For Kimota!:The Miracleman Companion George Khoury interviewed both Skinn and Yronwode—separately—and asked each about the claims published in Miracleman #24. Skinn claimed to Khoury that “[a]bout ten years after that Miracleman #24 letters page,” he and Yronwode had a “conversation via e-mail about that outrageous stuff.” According to Skinn, Yronwode informed him that “Dean [Mullaney, Eclipse Comics co-founder,] had filled her head with those stories” and apologized to him.Kimota!: The Miracleman Companion TwoMorrows Publishing; 1st edition (September 1, 2001), p.47. But when Khoury relayed this to Yronwode during his interview with her she denied it, maintaining that the “conversation with Dez Skinn about that” never happened and that she never apologized.Kimota!: The Miracleman Companion TwoMorrows Publishing; 1st edition (September 1, 2001), p.117.
Comix: The Underground Revolution
In 2004 Skinn "authored" the book Comix: The Underground Revolution for publisher Collins & Brown. Skinn’s authorship of the book was contested by Patrick Rosenkranz and Trina Robbins. Rosenkranz alleged that "Skinn’s book extensively “borrowed” from [his own book] Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975" by using as its title "the same four words, cleverly rearranged, [used] as the subtitle of [his] book," "helping himself to quotes from many interviews [he] conducted, repeating facts and figures that [he] dug up," and "reprint[ing] seven of [his] photographs without permission." Skinn responded by insisting that "No theft was intended". Skinn claims that those seven photographs had been implemented by one of the ghost writers subcontracted by him and when he found out about it, he apologized to and paid Rosenkranz. Skinn claims also that the book title was chosen by the commissioning publisher.