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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Falcon sends demand letter to Hilaritas Press

New Falcon publications has sent a demand letter to Hilaritas Press, insisting that Hilaritas, the publishing imprint of the RAW Estate, remove graphics and the original Israel Regardie introduction published in the New Falcon edition of Prometheus Rising. Rather than fighting a possibly expensive legal battle with New Falcon, Hilaritas has opted to obtain a new introduction and new illustrations.

I have bought books from New Falcon, including an ebook of The Game of Life by Timothy Leary that I purchased in July. I now regret that last purchase and I plan to never again buy anything else from New Falcon. Incidentally, the cover for The Game of Life was done by my friend Bobby Campbell. I have just learned that Bobby was never paid for his cover art. 

Here is the official statement from Richard Rasa, publisher at Hilaritas Press. It's also being posted at the Hilaritas Press website:

Hilaritas Press News Bite!

We recently received a demand letter from New Falcon Publications, previous publisher of many of Bob’s books, to cease printing and selling Robert Anton Wilson’s Prometheus Rising! The owner of New Falcon claims to own not only the Introduction (written by Israel Regardie) but also a number of the graphics.

(SNAFU WARNING: We are told that all of Israel Regardie’s copyrights, including for this introduction written specifically for Prometheus Rising, were bequeathed to the United States Ecclesiastical Society… which somehow or other now seems to be under New Falcon’s umbrella.  We’re not sure how or why that can be – as the USES is theoretically a nonprofit church of some sort – and New Falcon is a for profit venture. Conspiracy theorists – time to bring out your tools!)

After a month of back-and-forth, not to mention lawyer fees, we have decided that rather than spending money we don’t have to fight New Falcon’s (in Christina’s opinion – rather surreal) demands, we have simply decided to move forward, replacing the contested graphics with new interpretations, and commissioning a new Introduction to be written.

We realize that this is a challenge, and we sincerely wish we didn’t have to change Prometheus Rising at all. The owner of New Falcon does not want payment for the use of the graphics or the Introduction, he simply does not want us to use them. The obvious explanation appears to be retaliation, sadly without regard for Bob’s legacy. Christina thinks he may have a “stick up his butt” because she did NOT renew any contracts when the time limits were reached, as we planned to publish Bob’s books through Hilaritas Press.

To add greater pressure, we have to remove the old graphics by November 15, 2016 — just one month away, and there are 37 cartoons to replace!

To the RAW World and beyond: we need new cartoons! We are asking any and all interested cartoon artists to submit two examples of ideas for new graphics. We have selected two cartoons that we’d like to see re-interpreted as samples of your work. The text in the cartoons should be the same, but the drawing concept has to be different from the original interpretation. You can’t just copy the original in your own style.

A note about money: as a brand new publisher working hard just to stay afloat (and besieged by a former publisher creating unwanted waves), we need to let you know that we are happy to pay, but will have to work out a fair payment plan if our chosen illustrator would like to be paid for the graphics!

I have mixed feelings about this whole endeavor. I’ve always loved the cartoons in Prometheus Rising, and I really hate to see them go, but the previous publisher’s poor printing in subsequent editions of Prometheus Rising left a lot of the images in a very poor state - something we lamented in putting together our new edition. However, Bob was an optimist, and in that same spirit, both Christina and I are looking forward to this opportunity to update this amazingly relevant book for the delight of both new and old readers.

Please help us out by passing the word far and wide (and inter-dimensionally if possible). Please send all sample illustrations to:

Please note: submissions should be Grayscale and in jpeg format. Please make your new cartoons using the concepts in the graphics displayed in our most recent Hilaritas Press blog post.

Many thanks to all of you for your understanding and help.

— Rasa, with Christina, publishers, Hilaritas Press


Anonymous said...

I may be in a minority here, but I always thought the cartoons were seriously ugly & distracting. Like Bob Dylan's voice.

Rasa said...

superego, what a great comment!

I always loved the illustrations, as they tickled by brain, but I too felt they could be better - and not only because of New Falcon's poor preparation and printing. As for Dylan, we've got a minor tussle there. I always loved that scratchy edgy faux-Woody Guthrie voice of Dylan, and was happy to let Dylan be Dylan. I think Dylan's voice matched the scruffiness of the times.

Bob gave the original illustrator notes on what all the illustrations should be, and so I look at them with that thought in mind. Honestly, tho, I also always felt that some of the original illustrations were much better than others. However, just this morning we received two new samples from a couple of Danish artists, and both are far better, in my opinion, than any of the originals. I'm excited for what we eventual choose!

Rasa said...

Hey supergee, I just noticed that my spell checker "corrected" your name in my previous post!!

Sorry about that!

gacord said...

Here here! I, too, will be avoiding New Falcon purchases in the future.

Anonymous said...

Rasa: No harm, no foul. You are not the first.

chas said...

Those illustrations have always grated on me, and I've suspected that was Bob's intent. While reading Christopher Hyatt's Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation recently I noticed that those grating images were included there as well. Hyatt was the publisher of Falcon Press, which has since his death fractured into New Falcon and Original Falcon--if you want to be alternately amused and horrified st the steady degradation of his legacy do a search on that situation. Hyatt was also Bob's friend, fan, and champion. Wilson, Hyatt, and Regardie are probably laughing it up right now--"run puppy run..."

phodecidus said...

I've spoken to writers who were not happy with how Falcon (I forget which one) treated them after Hyatt's death.

You're not alone, supergee, I'll be excited to see the old illustrations replaced. This is a blessing in disguise.