Hi, my name is Mike. I'm a semi-serious comic fan with a small collection of graded comics and original art. I’d like to share a story of a dream commission and the many things I did to ruin it. I’ll do my best to present the facts first and comment after. I welcome any of your comments or feedback.
On March 15th, 2018 I paid for a commission through Felix Comic Art for a Daniel Warren Johnson piece. I’ve admired DWJ’s art for about a two years, loved Extremity and was able to get a convention sketch from him at NYCC 2017. He is such a cool dude and his commissions have always impressed me so I thought I’d pull the trigger and get one with plans to frame it and display it proudly. His commission list was opened and closed on the same day, advertised for a C2E2 pick up. Ill be honest, financially I could not afford the $??? (Ill keep the number confidential) asking price. My job and personal financial situation is not what it once was, but I did it anyway. I decided to sell some old comics in order to offset the cost. I sold a large batch of old Spidey key issues that had just been sitting in a box, collecting dust and could use a better home. I had already paid for the commission but was able to sell just over 1k in comics to pay for the commission and have a bit extra for a rainy day.
My initial idea was to just have Daniel draw a monster of his choice but then I thought how cool would it be to get a character I like fighting the monsters. Instead of a comic character I decided to request Harry Potter fighting a dragon. Cool idea, right? I email Felix requesting Daniel draw the scene from the Twi-Wizard Cup (Dragon, Harry, Golden Egg, Stadium with a crowd, maybe the Hogwarts castle in the background, etc). The commission was for one character and I was pushing it with making all these requests, and Felix responded saying just that. Since I had seen plenty of DWJ commissions with secondary characters, background, etc and I wanted to get my moneys worth I didn’t think I was in the wrong to request particular details but I see now I might have been. After sharing a couple emails that same day I was told DWJ could do something similar to my request but that all the details might not be included.
Ok, great! I’m getting an awesome Harry Potter commission from DWJ that I can’t wait to frame! I stalked social media the weekend of C2E2 waiting to get a glimpse of my commission. I wasn’t attending the show but since Felix allows you to do a mail order, and I assumed all the pieces would be completed prior to the show, I figured I’d be seeing it on Felix’s Instagram account. I love watching the IG art shows from Felix during convention weekends and was super excited to see mine… but I didn’t. In fact, weeks went by and I didn’t see it. I debated messaging Daniel but part of me thought the longer I waiting maybe it would be a better commission. I debated messaging Felix but I knew he was taking a break from social media, email, conventions etc. Part of me also thought that if I messaged either Daniel or Felix my piece might get rushed and I didn’t want that.
Fast Forward to June 15th, 3 months after I had paid for my commission I thought I would be getting a week or two after C2E2 at the latest. I spoke with a couple friends of mine about the situation, told them I thought I had waiting to long and they agreed. They more than agreed, they actually fueled the fire a bit (something I regret I allowed to effect my thought process). So, I sat down to write an email to Felix or whoever it was that was doing Felix’s emails since he had stepped aside for a bit. I was a bit of a jerk in the email, here are the highlights; I asked for a upgrade in art size and quality (11x17, cover quality) because of my wait time/bad experience and mentioned I had heard about horror stories of people not getting their commissions, some on his podcast, and was upset that it happening to me. I’ll note that in the email I mistakenly said I’d waiting 4 months (March, April, May and June) but it had actually only been 3 (March 15th to June 15th). My mind set was this… and I'm being honest here, I wanted my commission. I was bummed it was taking so long and I thought there was a possibility I had slipped through the cracks and been forgotten. Whether there was a mistake or not I had thought I had waited too long and if I could guilt either Felix, his staff or Daniel into doing a bit extra because I had waited so long, even better.
I typed the email and debated mutiltple times whether to send it. I was actually at a play and before it started I shared with the friend I was with the situation and they again fueled my fire a bit and told me to send it. So i did. 90 minuted later the play is at intermission and I have a missed call from Felix, a nicely written email response and a Paypal refund. In the voicemail Felix requested I call him. In the email Felix explained that they took as many commission as possible, maybe too many because DWJ was still working on them. He said that my art would be included with the next batch he got from Daniel and would be shipped right away. There was a 20 minute difference between when I received his email and when I got a paypal email informing me of my refund. I know now that Felix had time to think about my email and things I said and decided to refund me. I know this because we spoke about it.
I mentioned I had a missed call from Felix. Well I called him back during intermission and from the start of the conversation I immediately realized just how much I F@cked up. I’ll say this, I did not include my phone number on the email. Felix had it from a conversation we had more than a year prior. We had shared private messages on Instagram, Twitter and talked on the phone at length. He had given me his personal time many times before but I did not take the time to message him to check on my commission. I instead sent him an email being a jerk. Felix was pissed and was not in the mode to deal with me but he still gave me 15 minutes of his Friday night to talk to me and express just exactly how I was wrong. He expressed his frustration with my communication methods and said there was no way for him to read my mind and know that I was not happy. He also said that he felt that I was trying to extort a larger, cover quality piece. He explained that many times throughout the years when I had written him or messaged him he had always responded, including the email and call tonight. He challenged me on my “horror story” comment saying waiting a couple months is nothing, he has waiting 10 years before. He said, “We are done.” in regards to this commission and that he really felt how I treated the situation was wrong. Lastly he challenged me to share this story on the CGC boards and see if I had waited too long, if he was in the wrong, etc.
So here we are... but before you hit reply I want to be clear as to why I am sharing this story. I realized almost immediately when talking to Felix that I was 10,000% wrong. My mentality and approach to the situation, what I said in the email, so much of it was wrong. Sure, I paid for a commission that I expected to receive months ago but all I had to do was reach out for an update. I was acting cocky and entitled. I knew Felix was going through some stuff that had lead to him stepping aside from social media and, although I hope its not true, I think a very small part of me was trying to take advantage of that, which is so F%&$ck up. I’m so ashamed of how I acted, its out of character and not like me at all.
Let this be a lesson. The customer is not always right. Do not think that you will always get your way. Acting immature and juvenile will get you no where. I was very wrong in my approach and thought that complaining would get me somewhere and instead it got me the exact opposite. I sold a bunch a key Spider-man comics to fund a commission from one of my favorite artist that I will not be getting now, and for good reason. I ruined a relationship with an art dealer who reps so many artists I respect and collect, hindering my chances of getting any more art from them. He will most likely share my email with DWJ and others, effecting my relationship with them. But the worst of it, I ruined a professional friendship with one of the best guys in the business.
So to recap… instead of coming to the CGC boards to argue my side of things I am coming to CGC to offer a public apology. I was rude, unprofessional and childish and I'd like to apologize to Felix, Daniel and the whole Felix Comic Art team.