Economics 101 said... This is a great analysis - well done!
Can I bring to your attention AK Comics of Egypt who produce 'Middle East Heroes' which has just started being distributed through Diamond.
And then went on a bit about AK Comics. A little self-serving, but it was comics related and I had been talking about my disillusionment with the comics I'd been reading, after all. But all became clear when I saw exactly the same comment on another blog; confirmation that it was a spam monkey at work. But I was curious so I dug a little deeper.
Our friend Economics 101 is in fact Andrew Stephenson, who runs the AK Comics blog and appears to be involved in the company in some way that he doesn't specify, but he says "we" a lot when passing on whatever inflated piece of fluff he has to say about how wonderful they are.
The competition he promotes is one where, correct me if I'm wrong, Andrew, you create a team of superheroes which AK Comics will then build a comic around, and your fantastic reward is to receive a year's subscription to the comic.
Well cover me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians! How gracious of you to step down from your mighty pedestal and consider that my ideas might be worthy of your consideration. I'm certainly prepared to give up all copyrights to my characters, waive all royalty fees, abandon any control over their usage, and throw away any future interest in them for the sake of a year's worth of what is known in the business as contributor's copies and which are handed out to anyone who has had any input on the comic. Hell, you don't even need to credit me beyond the first issue.
Think how proud I'll feel when I'm buying a T-shirt with MY characters on it (that I wasn't consulted about and receive no royalty from) or maybe one day standing in line to see a movie featuring the heroes I created (which I don't even get listed in the credits for, let alone a share of the huge licensing fee).
And you know what? AK Comics doesn't even need this underhand and deceiptful behaviour. I took a look at what they are producing and well, once you get past the sub-Image gloss it's possible there might be something original going on there. Hell, if I had been genuinely approached about them this might have been a feature on new and different comics worth tracking down. But am I going to make any effort to find out if they are worth it after I've been spammed and patronised in this way?