Totally Messed Up


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.

Pretty soon, a backer started asking the obvious question :
Is shipping almost completed?

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?

Haha! That’s right he “bans” him from the project. Telling him that instead of a book, he’ll simply get a refund.

So, of course, Brett Trout asks the obvious question :

Where's my money.

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?

Because He dressed as Arthur Dent for Halloween.
I’m not even kidding.
(That link goes here.)

Then, because Trout is a lawyer, Ruben actually files a complaint with the Bar Association!

Lawsuit #1

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”.

Here’s the hilarious part : Apparently Haru Ruben mistook the process server for some sort of contract killer.

Lawsuit #2

Believing that he was being pursued by contract killers under the employ of a crazy person with a towel, Haru Ruben decided to take action!

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.

True to form, I’m writing this on the 11th, and still no blog post.

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 : It’s now 2017. 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.
I am sorry to have to relate that the Chrono Mechanics 3D covers by Haru Ruben will not be made.  I hired Haru after seeing his work on his KS campaign - Totally Messed Up.  I sent him the start up money and the books.  He has not delivered on even one book.  I have tried time and time again to get him to complete the contract.  All I've gotten in return are lies on top of lies.  I thought he was honorable and had integrity when I hired him to take on this commission.

Update! Trout Wins Settlement!

Looks like Trout’s case against Haru Ruben went well.
 Brett Trout on April 28, 2015  Fred is correct. I sued Heru. We settled the case. Heru wrote me checks and agreed to not make any further statements about me. I paid him nothing and am under no obligation regarding making further statements about him.  I have the transcript of a very lengthy deposition I took of Heru that I believe would be of substantial value in any subsequent case against him in this matter. In the event anyone does file a lawsuit against Heru, I would be happy to provide your attorney with a copy of the transcript free of charge.

  • TheNate

    For all the crazy, you left out how Haru tried to make Brett look violent for a one-time MMA bout.

    • KickFailure

      Yeah, there was that too.

      If someone who was ever involved in any combat sport asks you for his money back, it’s completely reasonable to move across the country and then send him the bill.

  • Brad Maxwell

    I’m speechless. This guy is out of his fucking mind to spend 80k to move somewhere else to “escape” from someone who just wanted to know when the product he paid for was going to arrive. I don’t care if this guy is mentally ill or just stupid, this is pathetic.

  • MrEricSir

    Happen to check back on this one today, and a recent comment confirms that the case was settled with Haru paying Brett “an undisclosed amount.”

    • Queso6p4

      Yep. I backed this project as well and even though I know he can’t fulfill the rewards he still won’t come out and own up to all the backers who supported him. He still has time to post about Cecil the lion on his Facebook page, though. Seriously?

  • Windego

    With all this silliness, I can’t imagine how Haru would react if he’d caught Trout dressed as something else. Like Doctor Who!

  • Anon Mmkay

    Hi guys.

    I stumbled upon this website and wanted to share a little info about this guy “Haru”. I worked with him 4 years ago and he is a terrible person. He is a liar, narcissistic, harasser and a slob. His real name is Heru Ruben. He is NOT Japanese as he claims to be and that picture you see? Well that’s from like 10 years ago. He is a 400lb guy who doesn’t bathe or have any manners.

    Although he is somewhat talented in his drawing skills, he steals other people’s work and claims it has his own. He never comes through on any promises and as you can see, will make up any excuse to make it seem like it’s someone else’s fault.

    Also, he did have his version of this novel printed and sold on amazon but he has terrible quality control, never proofreads and the book was poorly printed. So in the off chance he ever did come though, all you would get would be total crap.

    PLEASE, for those who have wasted their money on this guy, band together and sue the crap out of him.

    • YesExactly

      Can confirm, also worked with him. Not trustworthy and smells awful. Take legal action and bring a gas mask to court.

  • Queso6p4

    For the sake of full disclosure, I did receive part of my pledge and a second copy of the regular version of the GN as an attempt to make up for the delay. This was a few years ago and I didn’t want said second copy.

    • KickFailure

      Good to hear that at least SOME people got their stuff.

      But it’s so weird that he gave some people an extra book, when other people didn’t get any book at all.

      • Queso6p4

        True, but it was a very weird experience. For me, the book was almost unreadable as it was all over the place and lacked focus. I am glad I got part of my pledge rather than none of it.

  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    I just went and read through the entire comments section on the kickstarter page… more entertaining than most of the TV shows I’ve seen lately.

  • Queso6p4

    Update: It’s near the end of 2016 and guess what? Still no blog update. I know you’re all shocked. He hasn’t even logged in since November 2014. Clearly, nothing will come of this but it still doesn’t sit well with me.