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About Traditional Art / Professional Core Member Jozef Szekeres45/Male/Australia Recent Activity
Deviant for 9 Years
Core Member 'til Hell freezes over
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MelOdom.with.GeneMarshall.and.ElizabetBizelle by Jozef-Szekeres
Here is a photo I took of Mel Odom.

To set the stage of Mel Odom and his most famous creation Gene Marshall, here's the backstory as mentioned on Wikipedia… 

"Gene Marshall is a 15.5 inches tall collectable fashion doll inspired by Hollywood's Golden Age. It was created by the illustrator Mel Odom Each doll features an intricate movie-styled theme based upon fashions from the 1930s, 40s and 50s as well as Hollywood's version of historical costuming.
When the Gene Marshall doll appeared on the market in 1995, it was one of the first large fashion dolls primarily intended for adult collectors. Its success sparked the creation of similar dolls from other companies.
When the Gene Marshall doll appeared on the market in 1995, it was one of the first items of its type and size: a large fashion doll primarily intended for display by adult collectors. Until then, the standard fashion doll had been the 11.5" Barbie, which is still primarily sold as a children's plaything; while some collectors were attracted to limited-edition specialty Barbies, most collectible dolls at the time were constructed with neotenous baby-doll proportions instead of with mature, nubile ones. There was an exception; Mdvanii, the first anatomically correct fashion doll for adults. Mdvanii renewed Mel Odom's childhood interest in dolls and led him to create Gene Marshall. The popular success of Gene Marshall sparked the invention of an entire genre of similar collectible large fashion dolls from other companies, such as Tyler Wentworth from Tonner Doll Company, Alexandra Fairchild Ford from Madame Alexander and Clea Bella from Bella! Productions.
Three years after Gene Marshall's introduction, over half a million had been sold, and a Gene subculture had sprung up including collectibles clubs, magazines, and conventions. Her design is "an amalgam of all the larger-than-life actresses of Hollywood's Golden Era", and costumes that evoke the work of Edith Head are supposed to represent her appearances in specific but fictional films.
Odom's illustration work has been compared to dolls, and though his career progressed beyond the men's magazines for which he is still best known (he has done book and magazine covers including TIME magazine), he believes that Gene is the "something significant" he has felt bound to do after watching 2/3 of his friends die during the AIDS epidemic. After its debut at the 1995 Toy Fair, Gene became a hit among adult collectors, among them actress Demi Moore ("the world's most high-profile doll collector", according to the New York Times).
Between 1995 and 2005 the dolls were manufactured by the Ashton-Drake Galleries. From 2005 to 2010 the dolls were produced by Jason Wu and made by Integrity Toys. They have a dedicated following and have inspired other characters in the line: Madra Lord, Violet Waters, Ivy Jordan, Trent Osborn, Zita Charles, real-life movie actress Marsha Hunt, and the mysterious Oona Bellwether. These dolls are also popular for artists' one-of-a-kind (OOAK) repaints.
In 2013 Gene was reborn into the 21st century and brought back to life as a resin Ball Jointed doll, by JAMIEshow Dolls USA Premiere doll "Phoenix" was introduced at IDEX (International Doll Expo) in Orlando Florida in the spring, where creator Mel Odom presided over Gene's new launch. A Second Gene Marshall "J'Adore" was introduced in the summer of 2013 by JAMIEshow Dolls as an exclusive for FDQ (Fashion Doll Quarterly) and a final Gene "White Orchid" is currently for sale as a Gene Basic dolls. Mel Odom's collaboration with JAMIEshow Dolls may yet introduce more dolls in 2014."

I remember the release of Gene Marshall, and bought the three dressed dolls in the first years release. I excitedly remember them arriving, and being so much bigger then Barbie (at that time it was delightfully shocking), yet for me it instantly become the preferred size for a collector doll, His dolls were true goddesses, beautifully made and dressed. Mel was the one that changed the doll world with his creation, and I'm ever thankful for his doll creation Gene Marshall, and his vision to make her 16". 

I've been lucky enough to meet Mel Odom a few times, and on the last occasion, after a cafe-shop catch-up, he invited me back to his place in Manhattan where he showed me his amazing doll collection, early doll prototypes, and original artworks (one in progress on his drawing board).

I had my latest doll release with me to give to him as a gift, and he also had a gift of his doll for me too. By coincidence, both our dolls had black hair and red outfits.

In the photo, from left, Mel is holding up his most beautiful doll Gene Marshall, and to the right, my own doll creation Elizabet Bizelle.

Mel has kindly sent this wonderfully supportive comment on my own dolls;

"I know Jozef Szekeres to an extremely talented designer and artist. His doll designs have always been ahead of the curve and beautifully executed. The last time we were together we traded dolls, one of my design for one of his. I treasure this doll. Sincerely Mel Odom"

Thank you Mel for your constant inspiration, and your support.
Elizabet Bizelle Dangerous Discovery AA IDEX limit by Jozef-Szekeres
Elizabet Bizelle Dangerous Discovery AA IDEX limit
The Elizabet Bizelle AA (African American) Dangerous Discovery limited 2005 IDEX edition of 20 dolls.

Using the original Elizabet Bizelle face and body, a beautiful black skin tone was chosen for this limited release AA version of the original release.

Elizabet Bizelle©JozefSzekeres2009
Tulip Dress Lady 1980.JozefSzekeres by Jozef-Szekeres
Tulip Dress Lady 1980.JozefSzekeres
Here is my first full-figure sculpt from about the age of 10. Some promise is shown, I guess... © Jozef Szekeres 1980-2009
Elizabet Bizelle Prototype with competitors by Jozef-Szekeres
Elizabet Bizelle Prototype with competitors
The Elizabet Bizelle prototype doll standing with her 2001-03 contemporaries. From left to right: Tyler Wentworth (by Robert Tonner)- Elizabet Bizelle (My doll) - Gene Marshall (by Mel Odom) - Alex Alexander (by the Alexander Doll Company).

I have a new sculpt underway... just exploring the backing finance to develop the factory jointing/tooling, costuming and then to launch it. As it would be a fully articulated doll with tooled joints and parts, it's a much higher expense then the previous limited articulated doll that relied on tension strings.
I had this "ahem" rude message from a miss Laura aka ~LiquidDisplay (USA.35)

She apparently has the misinformed duty to tell me "AS IT IS" with my own legal rights to my own work. She has the audacity to tell me to "move on" because the said work was done almost 20 years ago. Obviously she's not a true creative, or she'd know that all my work in my CV is important both to my career and to me personally. I note that she was happy to sling similar shit on three of my artworks, but not willing to have a response stay visible on her profile account here on DeviantArt.

Here is the exchange:

Laura 35/Female/USA
Ahem.  you were mentioned on the ElfQuest website....
"(Note: Warp Graphics' edition of the WaveDancers [old series], written and drawn by Black Mermaid Productions, is not presented here by mutual legal agreement with BMP; neither Warp nor BMP may allow that edition of WaveDancers to be republished or displayed anywhere, in print or online.)"
Now, maybe you should take this down?  For starters, this all happened almost 20 years ago.  Time to move on.

Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for letting me know of the mention.
You do not know the full details of the contracts, so you would not know that I actually DO have the rights to display it here. WaRP Graphics has misrepresented the full nature of the contract with their website note. If there was a legal problem, I would not be displaying my work, but there is not, and I can.
As for it being almost 20 years ago... You move on. it's not your work so why would you care. It's my work, and yes I care.
So you know... Black Mermaid Productions owns the characters and storyline that were in the old WaveDancers, and we are now publishing new stories with them under the new title of Elf-Fin. As to the Old WaveDancers, we have the right to publish 50% of the published work (as has WaRP).
So before spouting your misinformed and rude mouth, get to know the facts first.
You are a rude person. Time for you to move on…

Update Edit.
"Ahem", time to move on!!!
I see that you're perfectly happy to sling rude and ignorant shit on other peoples' comments to their artwork, but you're not willing to have a response stay public on your own site (and as I can no longer respond directly, I've respond here) I believe this really shows how awful you really are. Shame on you!!!

Update Edit 8Sept2013
The original contract was very clear. BMP had the reversion of rights to the work we created (rights held by WaRP during publication…with rights then reverting 12 months after the last issue released). It was agreed to in this way because BMP originated the WD story and characters, including all the character designs in our original submission of the property to WaRP. It was not farmed out work originating from WaRP. The reversion of rights aspect was agreed to in contract by all parties at the beginning of the relationship.

The "volatile" aspect was not the personalities, but the manoeuvres done by WaRP graphics. At first a hiatus at the end of issue 6 was declared, then we were given an ultimatum (due to the series' popularity) while I was painting the 6th issue. Richard sent an ultimatum in which BMP had to sign over the reversion of rights to WaRP Graphics if we were to continue. Up until this point there were no issues between us. We didn't want to hand over our rights (just to continue on to the other 3 preplanned series), so the project finished.

The other added volatile element was that Richard Pini called me up in Sydney Australia and asked that I ditch the other two members of BMP (writers Julie Ditrich and Bruce Love), and continue the WaveDancers with him alone... with me doing the art and him doing the story. I was horrified at the suggestion, as not only would it be ever so disloyal to my co-creators and friends Julie and Bruce, but Bruce and I being more then just friends, were in a committed personal relationship with many years behind us at this point as well. Obviously very underhanded of Richard, and an inconceivable outcome in my mind.

The reversion date was coming, and new Original WD art created by WaRP in their b/w comic was hitting the stands. Definitely outside our contracted agreement. So we had to stand by our rights and responded legally to stop the continuance of the use of our characters.

The usage stopped, but it took another 5 years to get the rights acknowledged by WaRP. Richard would respond with every other clause but the clause of reversion. We pursued it for about 2.5 years from Australia till it was shown that Richard would constantly skirt the clause consisting of our rights, for from Australia, all we could really rely on was that the publisher would be good to the word of the contract… but that was obviously not how this would play out. During this time WaRP had publicly announced that they owned the original WaveDancers but due to personal and contract differences and the work now being deemed to be non conical and thereafter maligned publicly by WaRP as not ever being EQ (while in publication… it was), and also that they didn't want to use them and created a new WD tribe. FInally taken on by the international legal help for artists, we were represented in NY to fight the case in the district of the written contract. FInally a court date was to be arranged, and WaRP recapitulated and returned our rights….as per the original contract.

There was a parting agreement with Warp that divided the creative elements. WaRP's work is theres... our work is ours (Such as characters and world aspects), and the published 6 issues can only be republished up to 50%. Certainly my usage of my WaveDancers artwork is well within the usage rights of the parting agreement.

This experience, ongoing for over 5 years was exceedingly draining. It almost turned me off comics altogether (I'm sure an intended outcome from WaRP).

Laura Dee's deviantArt comments were rudely presented, pointed and superior in nature, quite different to how she's presenting her comments to me… to this group (sent to me by a concerned fan). I took exception to it because she is totally incorrect in all her assertions and directives to "move on". "Ahem". She's obviously taken my response as a personal attack. It's not, it's just a deflection of an ignorant. In 2007 when I uploaded the WD art in question to DeviantArt, WaRP was indeed showcasing the BMP created characters in their WD gallery, showing off the 6 covers with our characters on them. It was here that the legal note regarding our BMP characters on the WaRP website was missing (and therefore referenced in my WaveDancers DeviantArt pages), and for many years after that. I don't know what their site is like now.

As to the Wendy Pini response…, (sent to me by a concerned fan) Wendy Pini: "From what I can was so long ago...the business relationship had to break up and the legal agreement had to be reached (no easy task) partly because the personalities involved were so intensely volatile and difficult to communicate with. One thing Richard and I have learned is that some people (thankfully very few) can hold a grudge for life. The way they keep their mad on is to rewrite history and invent stuff that never happened. Speaking for myself, I feel intensely sorry for such people and only wish them freedom from their weighty emotional burdens.
September 5 at 1:51pm"

There is no grudge on my or our part. There is no reinvention here, just the facts as experienced and documented in the contracts. The bottom line is that we have complied with all aspects of our parting agreement with Warp - the WaveDancer page on our website contains an accurate statement and copyright notice. Warp has never published the same statement which they were legally obliged to.

And really, Wendy's thoughts to my personal state of being is unwarranted, unwelcome and totally incorrect. I certainly don't bother wasting my time thinking about her. Typically her responses have no real information in them, only personal slurs.

That's it really…


Jozef Szekeres
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art




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