Monday, January 5, 2015

New Spy Comics Artwork leaked!

By Fawney Bologna
Special to DFG ONLINE!

DFG ONLINE! has learned that a new issue of Spy Comics may be in the works.  The last issue published was issue #5, Winter 2008, which was the conclusion of the "Battle of the Invincibles."  The cover and some artwork for #6 (originally slated for Spring 2009) has circulated on the internet for years, but the issue was never published.  The new artwork appears to be from an all-new issue, presumably #7, and appears to feature a flash-back to Spy Comics #5 as well as an all-new sequence including detectives William Holden and Frank Bates, who have frequently provided comedy relief for the Invincibles team.

DFG Executive Chairman, Mrs. Sepultra Thunder, who was brought in a couple of years ago to restructure DFG operations, has been tight-lipped and refused to comment on the circulating artwork. DFG ONLINE! did manage to reach Todd Abbot, of Todd Abbot Studios, Inc., who has provided comic artwork packaging for DFG for many years to ask if he had a hand in the issue.  "I have not had anything to do with this new artwork. If you look carefully you will see none of the Todd Abbot Studios touches, like the tops of heads in the bottoms of panels, or 'Joe boxes' in the corners of rooms. Quite frankly, I am very frustrated by this whole thing. Todd Abbot Studios has an exclusive contract with DFG Comics to provide comic artwork for all DFG titles.  We were not asked to provide artwork for this new issue, and if this is the case it is a clear breach of contract."

But DFG production manager Frank Daniels provided some clarification: "Mr. Abbot is not technically correct. His contract with DFG ran out on Dec. 31, 2014. Now, I'm not saying there is a new issue of Spy Comics in the works, but if there were, DFG would not be bound to use the Todd Abbot Studio for such a project."   Inside sources at DFG who do not wish to be named have told DFG ONLINE! that the reason DFG has not published any new work in the last five years is the result of a conflict with the Todd Abbot Studio and as a result DFG ceased publishing new comic book work and have put their efforts into other properties, including telecommunications and religious institutions.  DFG was dissatisfied with the work of the Todd Abbot Studio but could not break the contract. Now that the contract has lapsed, we will likely see new comics coming at last from DFG.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DFG: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or "How the Todd Abbot Studio Works its Magic"

By Fawney Bologna
Special to DFG ONLINE!

It is no secret that DFG  Comics feature some of the ugliest women in comic books.  This became such an industry joke that back in the 1990s a limited edition 2-volume treasury was released entitled "DFG: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."  The collection highlighted DFG superheroes (the good), DFG villains (the bad), and the DFG women (the ugly).  This collection is now a much-sought-after item on the convention circuit, with the few rare copies selling for five figures.   Since that unfortunate treasury was released, DFG has worked very hard to change its reputation with respect to "ugly women."  A recent leaked photo of a page from Spy Comics Presents... #6 brought about an investigation into what happens when a picture of an ugly woman crosses the desk of DFG art director, Flora Loveartalot. This reporter learned that Flora sent the art back to the Todd Abbot Studio, where it orginated, with the express instructions to clean up the artwork and re-submit it with a more attractive drawing.  When questioned, Ms. Loveartalot denied the allegations:  "I find it very disturbing that people would think we don't allow ugly women in our books at DFG. In fact, it is a very sexist allegation.  Not every woman is a beautiful goddess. Women come in all shapes and sizes and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  DFG has a proven track record of publishing comics with lots of ugly women.  I am shocked, utterly shocked, that you would think we would refuse to publish a drawing of an ugly woman."

However, when the Todd Abbot Studio, which "ghosts" most of the artwork done for DFG was contacted, another side of the story was revealed: "DFG sends stuff back to us all the time," said Todd Abbot, founder and director of the studio.  In fact, Mr. Abbot showed this reporter the offending page and offered a rare inside look at how the studio works its magic.  "When we sent the offending page in for approval, Flora stamped it 'REJECTED'.  Now to be fair, she didn't say anything about the woman being ugly, however, it is an unwritten rule with DFG, ever since that unfortuate 2-volume treasury back in the '90s, that any picture of an ugly woman needs to be redrawn.  We knew what needed to be done when we got the page back." 

Mr. Abbot showed me the original page:

After it was returned, an Abbot junior staffer removed the offending damsel:

And finally, Todd Abbot himself redrew the woman to the unspoken specifications:

DFG ONLINE approached DFG VP Darryl Andrews with these allegations.  Mr. Andrews refused to comment except to say, "Those photos are doctored.  These allegations are ridiculous.  It's just another example of Todd Abbot trying to slander DFG Comics.  I have nothing further to add, except that I think the woman in the picture is still pretty ugly."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

DFG to Release Unpublished Dailies from the Todd Abbot Studio

By Bob Barnes, special to DFG Online

We have just learned from inside sources that DFG is planning to release a 2009 aborted daily strip version of the popular 1980's DFG TV series, "Mitchum and Felix."  The classic program (which is now available on VHS cassette) featured Dan Graves as the hard-boiled PI, Mitchum, and Peter Repas as his geeky computer-savvy side-kick, Felix.  This award-winning series followed up Graves and Repas's earlier acclaimed private detective outing, "the Holden and Bates Mystery Hour."

It seems that in 2009 DFG contracted the Todd Abbot Studio to produce a daily strip of "Mitchum and Felix", but the strip was never released as the result of the so-called "DFG Implosion" of that same year when DFG ceased publishing as a result of a major lawsuit launched against it by Todd Abbot, seeking ownership for content and characters he claimed to have created while "ghosting" for DFG over the years.

Recent reports seem to indicate that DFG and Abbot have buried the hatchet and are once again on collaborative terms.  Could the release of this lost work signal a new springtime for DFG?  Only time will tell!  Pictured below is the lost artwork for the "Mitchum and Felix" daily.

Monday, March 26, 2012

DFG Re-organization Unveiled

Special to DFG ONLINE
by Bob Barnes

Depiction of Mrs. Sepultra Thunder
courtesy of Todd Abbot Studios
At a news conference this morning, Mrs. Sepultra Thunder, DFG's new executive director, unveiled the new staffing structure that will take DFG Comics into the future. Mrs. Thunder, a former fashion magazine executive and heiress to a major publishing family empire was engaged by DFG earlier this month to reorganize DFG and bring it into the modern era.  The 59 year old has lived up to her name.   As reported last week, several employees and contracters were let go, with thundrous reverberations echoing in the DFG corridors:  "The first, and most decisive move we needed to make," said a confident Mrs. Thunder, "was to sever all ties with the Todd Abbot studio. This studio of 'ghost artists' has proved unreliable throughout DFG's 31 year history, and yet, the management has continually engaged their services to meet the deadline pressures of an unrealistic multi-titled product line.  Not only has their work been unreliable, it has been grotesque, to say the least.  I had never read a comic book until Mr. Graves and Mr. Andrews engaged me to reorganize this company.  The first book I picked up was Captain Nepto Prime.  Good Lord, I thought, this is supposed to be Canada's favourite adventure strip character since 1981?  Spare me.  My infant grandson draws better pictures."

Mrs. Thunder then proceeded to explain the changes in the production department: "Clearly, the production schedule of DFG titles has been consistently mismanaged.  Customers will not stand for the delays that DFG has been well-known for.  There are many unfinished story arcs that have been left dangling for several years, all the while, the production department continues to push for new titles.  I was introduced to the production manager, a certain Frank Daniels, who has been known to ghost write for DFG as well.  It was clear that not only was he responsible for completely mismanaging his department, since at least 1985, he also had a signficant anger management problem that the company has tried unsuccessfully to help him address.  Well, let me tell you, I simply won't stand for any of this sort of nonsense.  As of last week, Mr. Daniels was terminated, as were several members of his department.  I am personally assuming responsiblity for this department and will be bringing over some of my own staff from my own consulting firm, Wind, Storm, Fire & Assoc., to carry out the day-to-day responsiblities."

Mrs. Thunder then turned to other support areas of DFG operations, "We have a so-called chief of sercurity, one Augustus Smith.  This position was clearly created for him as a sinecure without any significant responsiblity, after his retirement as chief of police.  He has not succeeded in tracking down the culprits who were behind various attacks on the DFG website, nor the thefts of DFG property, nor the person responsible for leaking sensitive information to the press.  DFG is not going to be a place where anyone gets a free ride.  Chief Smith has been terminated."

Mrs. Thunder also outlined the dismissal of several other low-level support staff employees and bullpen artists.  She then turned to the new structure:

"Effective immediately, I have appointed Ms. Flora Loveartalot to be the artistic director of DFG.  Ms. Loveartalot has a proven track recorded of getting the job done and has signficant untapped gifts in human resource management.  Her abilities are vital to bringing DFG forward."

She noted as well that Dan Graves and Darryl Andrews will stay on in figure-head positions as Co-Publishers, as well as President and VP respectively, but all day-to-day operations will be handled by herself.  "Mr. Graves and Mr. Andrews will return to what they do best, writing and drawing comic books," she added.

One of the only other staff members to remain is DFG janitor, Ernest Wontellalie, otherwise known as the employee with nine lives.  "Someone has to help me clean up this mess that is known as 'DFG Comics,'" she said, "and it might as well be a janitor.  And besides, I think he's kinda cute."

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Ghosts" Fired at DFG

One of Canada's most storied comic book companies, DFG Comics, is dramatically smaller today after a sweeping round of firings.

The Bradford, Ont.-based studio behind such titles as Spy-comics, Captain Nepto and Retro Spy, is one of Ontario’s oldest comic art studios and one of the province’s top employers of comic book talent.

On Monday, our on location reporter, Bob Barnes reported that DFG had dismissed 7 employees, bringing the company’s head count down to just 11 staff.

Dan Graves, chief executive officer of DFG, confirmed the firings. “We've had project after project lined up, some that had been in the works for months,sometimes years, which failed to materialize. It was high time these people responsible for the missed production dates were held accountable".

Our Reporter, Bob Barnes has learned many of the employees released were a part of a large "ghost artist" team operating under the stylings of Todd Abbot. Mr. Graves has left DFG HQ after issuing his statement to attend a Funeral, but other key players are said to still be on-site. Mr. Barnes is staying at the location to try to obtain further exit comments.