This was a project to fund the printing of a graphic novel. That’s pretty straight forward. Lot’s of those on Kickstarter.
As is pretty common, this project suffered some serious delays. They were supposed to finish shipping in February 2013, but so far as I can tell they haven’t done it yet.
Unfortunately, it looks like creator Haru Ruben (who seems to also spell his name “Heru Ruben”) made the elementary mistake of telling backers what they wanted to hear, instead of the truth.
Whenever someone would ask about the ship date, Haru would say, or at least strongly imply, that it’d be shipping out this week.
This is a trick that only works once, and Haru Ruben used it constantly.
Backer Brett Trout kept asking, not unreasonably, where the books were and how soon until they were shipped. And pointing out, again not unreasonably, that all of Haru’s statements about release dates were … questionable, at best.
(I want to stress, that backer Brett Trout’s posts were persistent, but polite throughout this entire deal.)
So what does the project creator do?
So, of course, Brett Trout asks the obvious question :
And how did the project creator react?
Like a dick.
Fun With Lawsuits
The comment page is very long, and reads like a journal documenting the artist’s descent into incoherent paranoia.
Eventually, Even though Brett Trout does not appear to have done anything more threatening than ask for either the book he was promised or his money back, artist Haru Ruben decides that Trout is “dangerous” and “mentally ill”.
Why did Haru think Trout was mentally ill?
Then, because Trout is a lawyer, Ruben actually files a complaint with the Bar Association!
Since filing a false complaint with the Bar Association is a serious form of Libel, Trout does exactly what you would expect a lawyer to do. He sues.
When you sue someone, it’s normal to hire a “process server”. That’s a person that will find the defendant’s home, and personally deliver the paperwork to them. This prevents them from claiming the papers were “lost in the mail”.
This move apparently cost him $80,000 and, of course, delayed the project even longer. (But hey, they waited over a year, they can keep waiting!)
So what did Haru Ruben do? He sued back! To the tune of $83,000 of “real damages” plus legal expenses!
One of the pieces of evidence he claims he’s going to present is that he’s found the blogs 100 lawyers who did not dress as Arthur Dent for Halloween! I’m still not joking about that!
Haru is also going to present evidence that Trout’s own book on “Cyber Law” used “disturbing images of sexualized violence.”. By which he means, the cover was a picture of Lady Justice, dressed like Trinity from The Matrix. (It’s actually pretty tame. Lady Justice is often portrayed as having one of her breasts exposed. Justice is sexy.)
Predictably, he’s also going to present evidence that he’s found 100 lawyers who have not published a book on cyber justice featuring Lady Justice dressed as Trinity.
So where are we now?
The last blog update on the project was a year ago. Predictably, backers have been asking for an update.
Don’t worry. He’s promised to post one after the second of October.
Update : It’s now the 21st. Still no blog post.
Update : It’s now the 28th. Still no blog post.
Update : It’s now November. Still no blog post.
Update : It’s now December. Still no blog post.
Update : It’s now 2015. Still no blog post.
Update : It’s now 2016. Still no blog post.
Update! Chrono Mechanic
The plot thickens! It’s come to my attention that this is not the only Kickstarter that artist Haru Ruben was involved in.
He was also hired to do some of the custom books for the Chrono Mechanics kickstarter.
Update! Trout Wins Settlement!
Looks like Trout’s case against Haru Ruben went well.