So the truly knowledgable fans of comic minutiae among you may recall that prior to being the ultra-successful artist of projects like Flash: Rebirth, Ethan Van Sciver kicked off his career at the ripe old age of 19 by creating a magical character named CyberFrog. He looked like this:
Skip ahead to February of 2007 and I, Ben Morse, am out to dinner following one of the days at New York Comic Con with Ethan and several others, including none other than Rickey Purdin. As it usually did, talk eventually turned to CyberFrog and I was stuck with a genius idea: since Ethan didn't have any plans for the character, why not hand him over to an enterprising creator such as myself who could take that cyberball and run with it?
I used my not inconsiderable powers of negotiation and convinced Ethan to sell me the rights to CyberFrog for a cool $1 American. Rags Morales was on hand to act as our official witness and we drew up the deal of a lifetime...
Naturally I was so excited that I ran out ASAP and posted the following press release, complete with Rickey's dynamic redesign of the character, to Comic Bloc:
Cyberfrog-mania continues to sweep the comic book world!
High Five Comics ("Where we high five comics instead of slapping them down") is pleased to announce the creative team of CYBERFROG: REBIRTH, the revolutionary mini-series that will retcon all the crappy stuff Ethan Van Sciver did and launch Cyberfrog into an exciting new world of action and excitement:
Superstar artist Rickey Purdin (Wizard: Diary) and unknown writer TJ Dietsch ("I did an essay in my linguistics class on R. Crumb's work and then another essay that compared the characterization of LOEG characters from the comics and their original novels")!
High Five hopes to release an interview with the CYBERFROG: REBIRTH team later this afternoon if they have time, but until then, feast your eyes on this exclusive first look at the NEW Cyberfrog courtesy of Rickey Purdin:
I also added the following amendment:
I'm no longer using the inner capitalization when writing "Cyberfrog." It reeks of the 90s and this property, for me, is not about dwelling in the past, but about looking forward and realizing the full, brilliant potential of the epic story of a cybernetically-enhanced frog that Ethan Van Sciver created when he was 19.
So here we are, over two years later, and sadly no Cyberfrog product from High Five Comics ever materialized. I've been asked the same question time and again: what happened?
What can I say? We were just a bunch of kids with big dreams and big ideas, maybe too big. Life happened.
And after a year of us not doing anything, I realized the back of the napkin said Ethan got the rights back.
The moral of the story is that if you are a successful comic book creator reading this blog and have a character you created as a teenager and are not currently using, please sell it to Rickey, TJ and myself. We have totally learned our lesson.