Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

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Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby El Duque » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:42 pm

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From Don Figueroa's deviantART page:


So I read that this was being made into a toy? wow, and I thought only 3rd party companies take stuff without giving any notice, acknowledgement or compensation..

FYI: hasbro nor idw solicited me to do this design, I did it on my own. I originally came up with a different design seen here: http://donfig.deviantart.com/art/ATB-Megatron-157367399 it was a sample for a story idea I was going to pitch to then editor Andy Schmidt. he turned me down because he said they have years of story already set in stone. so no biggie.
a couple of months later he comes to me and says they wanted to use the design. I said cool, lemme update it and the final image above was the result. I again asked if I can pitch a story, even if it's not TF related, he said yes and he'll come down to Long Beach Comic-con for a sit down. I went, but he never showed up. and that was that.


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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Seibertron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:10 pm

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I guess I'm confused why Don wasn't upset about IDW using this design back in Ongoing 2 or 3 years ago if he felt that he should've been given compensation for something. I've had the understanding for the past 25 or 30 years that whatever shows up in Transformers comics is property of Hasbro, which is why Marvel was so quick to have Death's Head and Circuit Breaker appear in other Marvel books prior to their debut in Transformers. I assumed that when an artist works for Hasbro or a licensed company such as IDW that any of the work done for the brand with those licensed characters during that time would be owned or could be used by Hasbro.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Burn » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:59 pm

It's a dicey area when it comes to comics.

Take the recent Jack Kirby case for example, his family sued Marvel for the rights of characters Jack helped create. They lost because he was paid to do the job.

Was Don paid for this design? He says no. But there's always two sides to every story.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Dead Metal » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:09 pm

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I believe toy and comic design is handled separately from each other, usually when a toy is made based on a design by a comic artist that artist is informed before hand and brought on board to help design the toy by providing more design work and give input.
They are then also compensated for their work, we know this since Don Figueroa amongst others pretty much told us in the past, remember the Titaniums and Guido Guidi's Drift?

Adding to that, if we can believe what Don is saying here, he let them use the design in exchange for getting to pitch a story, which never happened, so he received zero compensation for it, which is f**ked up.

I can believe he hasn't noticed it was in the comics, since you know he left those behind and hasn't worked on anything TF related in 4 years or so. Being busy starting his own Toy'/ comic ip.
What actually came of that, are they available to buy yet?
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Seibertron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:13 pm

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Burn wrote:It's a dicey area when it comes to comics.

Take the recent Jack Kirby case for example, his family sued Marvel for the rights of characters Jack helped create. They lost because he was paid to do the job.

Was Don paid for this design? He says no. But there's always two sides to every story.


He said he wasn't paid by Hasbro for them doing a toy out of it. But doesn't mention anything about whether or not he was paid by IDW for coming up with a design. I still stand by my thought that if he does something with a Transformer whether or not it gets used at that time that it ultimately is the property of Hasbro.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Dead Metal » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:18 pm

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Seibertron wrote:
Burn wrote:It's a dicey area when it comes to comics.

Take the recent Jack Kirby case for example, his family sued Marvel for the rights of characters Jack helped create. They lost because he was paid to do the job.

Was Don paid for this design? He says no. But there's always two sides to every story.


He said he wasn't paid by Hasbro for them doing a toy out of it. But doesn't mention anything about whether or not he was paid by IDW for coming up with a design. I still stand by my thought that if he does something with a Transformer whether or not it gets used at that time that it ultimately is the property of Hasbro.

He did state, that he did it for a story pitch idw declined to use. Then they contacted him about using it, and he agreed as long as they let him pitch a story, they took the new design and didn't let him do his pitch. So no compensation at all. It looks like idw totally dropped the ball on this.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Convotron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:36 pm

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Seibertron wrote:I guess I'm confused why Don wasn't upset about IDW using this design back in Ongoing 2 or 3 years ago if he felt that he should've been given compensation for something. I've had the understanding for the past 25 or 30 years that whatever shows up in Transformers comics is property of Hasbro, which is why Marvel was so quick to have Death's Head and Circuit Breaker appear in other Marvel books prior to their debut in Transformers. I assumed that when an artist works for Hasbro or a licensed company such as IDW that any of the work done for the brand with those licensed characters during that time would be owned or could be used by Hasbro.


I'm of the same understanding.

It's common for the employer to stipulate in the employment contract that anything created for the company is basically company property. I've seen this in every IT job I've had where if I were to code something for work, that code belongs to my employer, not me.

In the case of comics, it's the same deal. Unless the artist makes a contractual agreement to have own specific characters/designs they create, the company owns whatever the artist creates.

Unless Don had a contractual stipulation with IDW that he owns whatever he designs in his TF comic work, he isn't owed anything by IDW or Hasbro.

Dead Metal wrote:He did state, that he did it for a story pitch idw declined to use. Then they contacted him about using it, and he agreed as long as they let him pitch a story, they took the new design and didn't let him do his pitch. So no compensation at all. It looks like idw totally dropped the ball on this.


According to the quoted text from Don Figueroa's DA page, he was approached and told that IDW wanted to use the Megatron design. He updated the design and gave IDW permission to use it. He then asked again if he could pitch a story. The meeting never happened. However, he never said he stipulated the use of his design based upon being given an opportunity to pitch a story.

a couple of months later he comes to me and says they wanted to use the design. I said cool, lemme update it and the final image above was the result. I again asked if I can pitch a story, even if it's not TF related, he said yes and he'll come down to Long Beach Comic-con for a sit down. I went, but he never showed up. and that was that.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Bullycon » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:59 pm

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He drew issues 14 and 15 of the ongoing, which included the new Megatron design. His cover for issue 15 was solely his new Megatron design.

I'm confused as to how he could be ignorant of the possibility of a toy based off that design, when he himself drew it into a Transformers comic.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Convotron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:16 pm

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I've read through the comments on his DA page with the Megatron artwork.

He does say it's not really about financial compensation as notice or acknowledgement of his work would have been sufficient.

However, he brings up creator rights and "injustice" and issues with Marvel and the "founding fathers" of Image comics.

To me, it sounds like Don is just pissed off that he wasn't given props or asked for permission to use a design he created, though he admits in one of his comments that he doesn't own the design.

I'm sure it would have been nice for someone from IDW or Hasbro to send him an e-mail to say "Just wanted to let you know, we're using that great Megatron design you made for an upcoming toy." but at the same time, it seems like Don has a bruised ego over this.

I wonder if Nick Roche will chime in on this basic situation of creator's rights...did Nick get the kind of treatment Don thinks is owed to creators of TF designs that get made into toys? (Generations Voyager Springer)
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Bullycon » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:40 pm

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Convotron wrote:I wonder if Nick Roche will chime in on this basic situation of creator's rights...did Nick get the kind of treatment Don thinks is owed to creators of TF designs that get made into toys? (Generations Voyager Springer)


Some of his tweets from the BotCon reveals:

"Voyager Whirl? MY Whirl?! A VOYAGER toy? Christ's itchy undies, what a day!"

"Dear IDW/Hasbro, Please give me my own TF series to write and draw so I can design more and more new toys for you. Thanks - Nicholas."

This tweet in particular, and its predecessors, really show his attitude toward the thing:
https://twitter.com/NickRoche/status/351049940555939840

So, yeah.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Convotron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:24 pm

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Thanks for the info, Bullycon.

It's nice to see another artist's perspective on this kind of situation.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Seibertron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:39 pm

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Bullycon wrote:He drew issues 14 and 15 of the ongoing, which included the new Megatron design. His cover for issue 15 was solely his new Megatron design.

I'm confused as to how he could be ignorant of the possibility of a toy based off that design, when he himself drew it into a Transformers comic.


I couldn't remember if he drew those issues when Megatron debuted in his new body but I think that his work on those issues says all we need to know about this discussion.

Not sure what all of this fuss is about. I think this cover says all we need to know about this "debate". Sorry, when you create a new body for a Transformers character and you are working for Hasbro, IDW or another licensed company, you are basically drawing concepts for future toys.

Talk about burning a bridge! I imagine this is the end of Don Figueroa with IDW or Hasbro for the long foreseeable future.

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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Seibertron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:43 pm

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Bullycon wrote:This tweet in particular, and its predecessors, really show his attitude toward the thing:
https://twitter.com/NickRoche/status/351049940555939840

So, yeah.


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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Seibertron » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:49 pm

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Convotron wrote:It's common for the employer to stipulate in the employment contract that anything created for the company is basically company property. I've seen this in every IT job I've had where if I were to code something for work, that code belongs to my employer, not me.


I had something similar happen at a company that I worked at a few years back. After working there for almost a year, they decided they wanted us to sign contracts stating that any work we did outside of work would be considered their property. They had lingo to exclude Seibertron.com in it, but I was extremely concerned about signing any paperwork because of the legalese and my concerns about protecting Seibertron.com. I refused to sign the paperwork and was fired one week later. Not sure if I was fired because of my refusal to sign the paperwork or because they had lost the big client that I had been working on a few weeks before that, but I really felt like my refusal to sign that paperwork is what put the nails in the coffin. Little did I realize at the time that taking that stand would get me one step closer to getting to work on Seibertron.com full time.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby fenrir72 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:30 am

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Hasbro/Tomy(?) pulled a similar stunt iirc on another artist at deviant art. He wasn't employed by them but they/whoever in Hasbro/Tomy incorporated 6 shot's silhouette in the box without paying the guy. I wonder what happened to that issue?
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Convotron » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:56 am

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Seibertron wrote:I had something similar happen at a company that I worked at a few years back. After working there for almost a year, they decided they wanted us to sign contracts stating that any work we did outside of work would be considered their property. They had lingo to exclude Seibertron.com in it, but I was extremely concerned about signing any paperwork because of the legalese and my concerns about protecting Seibertron.com. I refused to sign the paperwork and was fired one week later. Not sure if I was fired because of my refusal to sign the paperwork or because they had lost the big client that I had been working on a few weeks before that, but I really felt like my refusal to sign that paperwork is what put the nails in the coffin. Little did I realize at the time that taking that stand would get me one step closer to getting to work on Seibertron.com full time.


Wow, that does seem suspect to me. It may not have been the only reason but I can't help but think it was factored into the decision to fire you.

The up side to that is you were able to focus more on Seibertron.com. :)

fenrir72 wrote:Hasbro/Tomy(?) pulled a similar stunt iirc on another artist at deviant art. He wasn't employed by them but they/whoever in Hasbro/Tomy incorporated 6 shot's silhouette in the box without paying the guy. I wonder what happened to that issue?


This is a situation that I see differently. The reason is that Don was working for IDW and hence, Hasbro, as far as the transference of his work.

The artist who did his own Sixshot artwork would have no reason to believe his artwork would be used in an official capacity. I think that would be a case for a HasTak rep to contact the artist via his DA account to say "We saw your art, we think it's great, we're going to use it in an upcoming toy package design.".

In Don's case, it's a reality that his official TF artwork is outright owned by IDW/Hasbro and that it's a possibility that beyond the comics, his work would be used in some way. If he had some unpublished work that was used by HasTak for a toy design, as an example, I would say that he would have a right to be upset. The courtesy of contacting him in that scenario would be a reasonable expectation.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby fenrir72 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:31 am

Motto: "Power to the strong and the right!"
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Convotron wrote:
Seibertron wrote:I had something similar happen at a company that I worked at a few years back. After working there for almost a year, they decided they wanted us to sign contracts stating that any work we did outside of work would be considered their property. They had lingo to exclude Seibertron.com in it, but I was extremely concerned about signing any paperwork because of the legalese and my concerns about protecting Seibertron.com. I refused to sign the paperwork and was fired one week later. Not sure if I was fired because of my refusal to sign the paperwork or because they had lost the big client that I had been working on a few weeks before that, but I really felt like my refusal to sign that paperwork is what put the nails in the coffin. Little did I realize at the time that taking that stand would get me one step closer to getting to work on Seibertron.com full time.


Wow, that does seem suspect to me. It may not have been the only reason but I can't help but think it was factored into the decision to fire you.

The up side to that is you were able to focus more on Seibertron.com. :)

fenrir72 wrote:Hasbro/Tomy(?) pulled a similar stunt iirc on another artist at deviant art. He wasn't employed by them but they/whoever in Hasbro/Tomy incorporated 6 shot's silhouette in the box without paying the guy. I wonder what happened to that issue?


This is a situation that I see differently. The reason is that Don was working for IDW and hence, Hasbro, as far as the transference of his work.

The artist who did his own Sixshot artwork would have no reason to believe his artwork would be used in an official capacity. I think that would be a case for a HasTak rep to contact the artist via his DA account to say "We saw your art, we think it's great, we're going to use it in an upcoming toy package design.".

In Don's case, it's a reality that his official TF artwork is outright owned by IDW/Hasbro and that it's a possibility that beyond the comics, his work would be used in some way. If he had some unpublished work that was used by HasTak for a toy design, as an example, I would say that he would have a right to be upset. The courtesy of contacting him in that scenario would be a reasonable expectation.


As I previously mentioned,that guy wasn't employed by either IDW and Hasbro.And yes, I agree, a simple "hey we're gonna use your work Don" would have been better than leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Seibertron » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:08 am

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fenrir72 wrote:As I previously mentioned,that guy wasn't employed by either IDW and Hasbro.And yes, I agree, a simple "hey we're gonna use your work Don" would have been better than leaving a bad taste in the mouth.


I disagree as there's no need for it and there's no need to set a precedent that that is normal operating procedure. His artwork using that Megatron in the comic negated any other disillusioned desires or hopes he had about that version of Megatron.

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His original version of the story left out this really important fact. It appears he was a very willing participant in giving this design over to IDW/Hasbro, or at the very least he was a paid participant.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Convotron » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:22 am

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fenrir72 wrote:As I previously mentioned,that guy wasn't employed by either IDW and Hasbro.And yes, I agree, a simple "hey we're gonna use your work Don" would have been better than leaving a bad taste in the mouth.


I agree with Ryan/Seibertron. Don was aware of his work being used by IDW. He provided it willingly and knowingly. He isn't entitled to being contacted by Hasbro every time a published Transformers design of his is used.

Something that I think needs to be mentioned is that Don's Megatron redesign isn't being used simply because it's his design.

Hasbro has partnered up with IDW for the Thrilling 30 campaign. More than anything, it's that Don's design is the modern IDW Megatron design, thus if you're going to have an IDW Megatron in toy form, the stealth bomber design is one of the only options. The pre-Earth Megatron design was already used for the Legends toy.

It seems like an underlying point in Don's reaction to this is that he thinks he's singularly significant artist. He never said a thing about creator's rights or the "injustice" of Marvel's practices still existing today when any other TF artist had work of theirs turned into a toy or used without them being contacted.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Dead Metal » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:58 pm

Motto: "Don't do drugs, beer's cheaper anyway!"
We're forgetting one key thing here, the design is still ugly and still sucks.

I've been crying for a toy based off of the oriignal Pre-Earth form every since it first showed up in the comics and it's still not been made.
Oh sure, it was the basis for Tits Fallen, and we have a sucky Legends toy that's based on the Megatron Origins body, but it's not the same.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby fenrir72 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:39 pm

Motto: "Power to the strong and the right!"
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Still imho, being nice wouldn't hurt. Sure DonF won't be hurling a lawsuit suit at Hasbro at any foreseeable future like Siegel/Shuster and Kirby's estate did but look at the HG brouhaha with the GIJoe "Skyfire" drone? Hasbro threw a line to HG for before green lighting classics/henkei Jetfire/Skyfire as Ryan mentioned.

Maybe DonF felt hurt when in the past, the Hasbro team used to inform him when his designs were used, maybe not. Who know what goes one in the hearts of men lol! I also admire Nick Roche's attitude, just seeing your 2D work immortalized in 3D plastic......sends shivers down my legs, I'd feel that way too.

But being nice, how much would it have cost? A minute or two on a keyboard to email him?
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby ZeroZ » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:05 am

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We're forgetting one key thing here, the design is still ugly and still suck

Can't say I agree with this. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and I think it's decent enough ;)


I'm just going to add my two cents; Yes, it's Hasbro's property. It's still a dick move. I understand, however, that its a corporate, bean-counter, kind of thing to do, but, I also believe that it's not a good thing to do unless you never plan on working with that artist again, at least not for a while, like Seibertron said.



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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby datguy86 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:02 am

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There is one thing to consider, and that's the terms of employment Don was handed. If he was a full-time employee of IDW, then yeah - welcome to corporation. However, many artists are under contract instead of employ, and while his IDW comic design might have fallen under his contract, a toy design or even redesign might not have. Again, all matters fall under whether or not Don was an employee of IDW or a contractor. Of course all of this means that the situation turns into a legal quagmire Don probably cannot touch due to the aforementioned reasons stated by Seibertron and others. If anything, a contract position would give him the precedent to voice his complaints about a perceived slight by the industry.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby Convotron » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:13 am

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I can understand the notion that it would have been nice and "classy" of Hasbro to do something along the lines of what Don wants but at the same time, Don's handling of this isn't exactly classy.

Instead of going to Hasbro, trying to touch base with them, perhaps through going to a publicly known rep such as Clint Chapman, and voicing his displeasure, he opens up a shooting gallery via his DA account and basically appeals to the public for sympathy.

Rather than giving Hasbro a chance to say "Wow, you know what? We're sorry. Let us try to make amends.", Don is playing the victim and singing the anthem of creator's rights and corporate/big business injustice towards the "little guy".

There is no doubt that there's validity in Don's grievances but the way in which he handled this situation and how he carries himself is less than classy or professional.

I can't help but think that this is less about any sort of issue with Hasbro not doing something he thinks they should be doing such as awarding credit publicly, rather it's the damaged ego of an ex-employee who is ironically wanting approval from an ex-employer he apparently has nothing but distaste for.
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Re: Don Figueroa Designed IDW's Stealth Bomber Megatron but Wasn't Compensated?

Postby datguy86 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:53 am

Motto: "SHEEAGH!"
Convotron wrote:I can understand the notion that it would have been nice and "classy" of Hasbro to do something along the lines of what Don wants but at the same time, Don's handling of this isn't exactly classy.

Instead of going to Hasbro, trying to touch base with them, perhaps through going to a publicly known rep such as Clint Chapman, and voicing his displeasure, he opens up a shooting gallery via his DA account and basically appeals to public sympathy.

Rather than giving Hasbro a chance to say "Wow, you know what? We're sorry. Let us try to make amends.", Don is playing the victim and singing the anthem of creator's rights and corporate/big business injustice towards the "little guy".

There is no doubt that there's validity in Don's grievances but the way in which he handled this situation and how he carries himself is less than classy or professional.


And the way Hasbro may not have performed due diligence is somehow better? Class is like beauty; held in the eye of the beholder. Don stated a grievance with a comparable insult and gave some backstory. Hasbro, by not notifying Don or listing his involvement dealt an insult of similar vitriol - only with actions and not words. Either way, Don has a right to announce his grievances as he feels; so long as Don understands Hasbro has the right to react with anything from a PR release to lawyers.

Onlookers such as us can only guess how much is true and offer well-wishes to our favored party or well-poisoning commentary such as "big business", "victim card" and which party shows more subjective class. If Don is right, then these were the actions he took as corrective measures. He is small public figure, and bringing these types of claims to the public is often the only recourse of individuals. Equally, if Hasbro is in the right, then Hasbro could/should respond equally (preferably with facts) and quash the complaint.

tl;dr version - Both parties may have done mucked up, so let's grab the popcorn and see what comes out of the muck.
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