For some years now, word has been going around the 'net about an alleged art fraud being perpetrated by an individual known as Josh Hoopes. The details of the scam that have been reported are a nightmare for every publisher and every artist: someone is approaching publishers, purporting to be an artist with an amazing portfolio, and offers to work for cheap, provided that money is given up front. The same individual approaches artists – under the guise of being a publisher or an agent – and offers them work for substantial amounts of money. Subsequently, the individual pockets the money from the publisher, gives nothing to the artist, then disappears. Mr. Hoopes is believed to have used many aliases in this scheme.
Please note that no insinuation is being made that any individual named in this episode has committed a crime under any statute in any jurisdiction. That can only be established if and when somebody is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law; and any individual or alias named in this episode must be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
That having been said, this is a very real issue that affects comic publishers, game publishers, and anybody else who hires freelance artists as well as the artists themselves and dare we say, the fans. This episode is a "must-listen" for anyone who is interested in learning about the "business" side of publishing in the comic and game industries.
Much has been discussed about Josh Hoopes online, particularly in forums. Links to some of these are below. We also include a YouTube video in which the man himself is heard attempting to perpetrate an action like the ones that are alleged here.