Twenty years ago, comic book artist Pat Lee headed up Dreamwave Productions, spinning a successful Image deal into his own company, publishing Transformers comics. Subsequently, as sales began to slide, news of a variety of scandals reached me and what seemed to be a meticulously planned bankruptcy scheme that would land millions in debt to freelancers while, seeing Pat and his brother Roger Lee escape debt-free into a new, fully-funded, company. I ran a fair few stories exposing Dreamwave’s actions regarding freelancers, while they lived the high life. Jonah Weiland at CBR stopped me posting an image of his Porsche and his million-dollar apartment which was fair enough.
One of the hardest things was to get Dreamwave employees to speak, at last initially. They lived and worked in a state of fear, of contract, of duty. At least until after the company went bankrupt. Pat Lee has not worked for a major comic book company since. Just Dynamite twelve years ago. He talked to Bleeding Cool about these issues in 2010, and gave soft-soap interviews everywhere else, but we hadn’t heard much from him since. In 2011, he was designing characters for the anime Train Hero. and contributing illustrations to The Extraterrestrial Compendium. And that was that, though he does seem to have a career on Instagram smashing up different toys together now.
Then we got the news that God Temple, an NFT collectible platform, had introduced the gamification model for its limited-edition art collection, with mythical characters such as Zeus, Athena, and Hades, illustrated by Pat Lee. And that a spokesperson at God Temple stated that “We aspire to bring the story of mythology to life, and that’s why we introduced this new gamification model. We are developing strategic collaborations with artists around the world to create timeless mythical art god NFTs. Pat Lee is the leading celebrity artist and we hope more artists will be inspired to join the ecosystem.” The celebrity artist? Was Banksy not available? Damian Hurst? Tracy Emin? Well, if this website imagery is anything to go by, he has drawn at least two figures.
We would also like to note that in Pat Lee’s official bio that’s being referenced in several of these PR-replicating “news” websites that they all state that a) Pat Lee is a super-famous comics artist when he hasn’t had a comic out in over ten years for, well, reasons, and specifically that Pat Lee “created the original North American Transformers comic”. Even though that was actually Marvel in 1984, when Pat Lee was nine years old. Always good to set the record straight…