I’ve been putting together an article celebrating an anniversary for a now defunct comic strip — don’t worry, you’ve heard of it.
But I made the mistake of assuming that the business people still managing that particular comic strip would like, you know, a little publicity and would be willing to let me use a panel or two from the 3,160 published strips they have as art for the article. I even told the editor I’d talk to them and arrange it.
The first set of email exchanges implied that they’d look into the publication and get back to me. A million years later and another set of attempts to contact the lady handling my request and I get a short response that no, we can’t use any of the strips. But, hey, it’s a cool angle and they wish me luck!
Okay, I can live with not being allowed to use their copyrighted material. It won’t kill me. Waiting until two days before my deadline, however, might.
In conclusion, writing about stuff that I either can’t go create art for myself or use stock photos — that is to say, the grand majority of pop culture — is surprisingly painful.