Black Ops Publishing: Allegations of AI Use and Management Issues

Some former employees of Merc Publishing are currently accusing the head of the organization, namely Shawn Hudachko, of using ChatGPT to write his scripts for several of his publications. This is particularly notable given Shawn’s public statements expressing his dislike for AI and his supposed participation in the “fight against AI,” leading to confusion and skepticism.

Additionally, former employee Aaron Sparrow, who worked on Katfight with Merc Publishing, tweeted about issues concerning non-payment, lack of credit given to creatives, and problems with management. He described his experience with Merc’s creative management of Katfight:

Katfight’s series was supposed to be an exploration of a very dark and damaged female character—the most complex character piece I’ve ever written—and this is what they did with it. They presented it as garbage, lowest common denominator smut.”

Former employee Jesse Blade Snider also tweeted about issues concerning ownership and lack of credit with Merc Publishing. He writes:

“When I checked the campaign, and still to THIS DAY, I have NO CREDIT on the whole page. No one does on most of their campaigns unless you’re a cover artist or complained.”

Additionally, he states, “There IS money to be MADE in INDIE COMICS, but there are VERY SPECIFIC PATHS to get to it. And as has happened before, unscrupulous men end up at the head of this business of ‘collectibles’ because they are so good at TAKING ADVANTAGE of collectors.”

Both Aaron and Jesse have taken up their own projects, namely “Kneel Before Doomface” and “F*cking For Our Future”, both of whom are committed to making the indie comics industry a better place for readers, creators, and collectors.

Shawn runs several comic-related companies, including Black Ops, Merc, and Comics Elite. It remains to be seen whether Black Ops and Merc Publishing can overcome these allegations and address the underlying issues.

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