Canadian comic artist stoped at border over plans to do commissions at C2E2

Canadian Comic book artist Gisele Lagace was stopped at the U.S. border and denied entry when she admitted she was entering the U.S. to do commission work at this weekend’s C2E2 in Chicago. From her Facebook post about the incident:

Welp, no C2E2 for me. Was refused entry at the border. They kept pressing about the comics I had and the sketches, and well, I had to be honest and said that I did get paid for commissions but before hand, but since they weren’t complete, it was considered work in the us. Comics wise, I had maybe $700 in value if I had sold everything. Honestly, it’s not a lot.

Was asked if I was the only one doing this as I looked surprised to be refused entry. I said no, many artists from around the world attend these to promote themselves. I don’t think they cared.

By “promote themselves”, I’m guessing she’s referring to going to comic book conventions and selling commissioned art to fans. In other words, working without a work visa.

When you enter the United States for the purpose of working, you need a work visa. The same applies in Canada. When you enter Canada for the purpose of working, you need a Canadian work permit.

Gisele Lagace continued:

Now that I’ve been refused entry in the US for this, it’s on file. Don’t expect to see me at a US con until I can figure out a way to get in and being absolutely certain this won’t happen.

If she wants to ensure this won’t happen again, she’ll need to obtain a work visa. The problem is that she doesn’t appear to qualify for a work visa. Under the law, she would fall under the Business Visitor “B” Status. To fall under this category, the following two stipulations must be met:

  •   is entering the U.S. to conduct business temporarily; and,
  •   will not be employed by a U.S. entity.

Although this seems to fit anyone entering the United States to do commissioned artwork at a comic book convention, there are limitations to what type of business activities can be conducted under a B visa.

Creating and selling artwork doesn’t seem to qualify.

I think the world of comic book commissions is a shady business. Most artists doing commissions don’t own the intellectual property (IP) of the art they’re creating, nor do they have permission of the IP owner to generate art for sale. Some of the artists working in this murky world routinely rip people off.

I don’t mean to imply Gisele Lagace is a shady character or that she’s ever ripped anyone off. I think she tried to do what a lot of her peers regularly do, but she answered the border agent’s questions truthfully.  If she were shady, she would have told the agent a lie.

The comments on Gisele Lagace’s Facebook post indicate most of her fans blame Donald Trump for this. I’m not so sure. When I did field service work in the late 90’s, the company I worked for had a few field service techs in Canada. When they came down for training or meetings, they would make sure not to even bring a screwdriver with them. If the U.S. border agents even suspected they were coming down to work, they would deny them entrance and place them on some type of list.

One of my friends told me he would never do anything that would jeopardize his ability to take his family to Disney World. I respected that.

Trump wasn’t president back then.

The problem with WordPress and the global economy

I have a Google alert set up that notifies me when the word “payeezy” appears online. Payeezy is First Data’s e-commerce payment gateway. Sometimes it helps me find prospective clients for my freelance web developer business. Other times, it makes me want to pound my head into the sand. This post on Trulancer made me want to go to the beach.

MJ from India wants someone to integrate the Payeezy payment gateway with WooCommerce on their WordPress website. For someone with this specific skillset, they’re offering a whopping $4 an hour. That’s what I made back in 1982 working at Burger King.

I worked for First Data for over seven years. I was a senior support agent for the Payeezy payment gateway. I authored a popular plugin hosted on the WordPress repository for Payeezy. I’ve been using and tinkering with WordPress for over ten years. I’m well versed in all aspects of WordPress.

It’s no surprise that the person hiring for this job is in India. I can guarantee that he is not the website owner, but another freelancer hired to do the integration. The real owners of the WordPress website most likely went to their local web developer who in turn posted the job online. The person he hired, MJ in India, then went to Trulancer and began trolling for someone they could hire for $4 an hour to do the job.

The real owners of the website probably have no idea the person connecting Payeezy to their website is getting paid only $4 an hour. They assume the work is being done by the person they hired to do it, the local web developer.

It’s hard to make a living in WordPress. This job posting is a prime example of the problems freelancers face when trying to get jobs working with WordPress. It’s not like WordPress developers in India are better than their American counterparts. They’re just ridiculously cheaper.

MLB’s hollow tribute to Jackie Robinson

One of the advantages of reactivating my Facebook account is that I get to see lots of ads. A while back I must have “liked” the official Lids Facebook account. I now get to see ads from Lids in my Facebook feed.

That’s not a problem. I like to wear overpriced hats associated with professional sports franchises. By Lids peppering my Facebook feed with ads, I now have a better idea on what I should be spending money on. In other words, being a good consumer.

There was an ad I saw yesterday that made me look twice. It was for hats honoring Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play in Major League Baseball. Not the first black player good enough to play in Major League Baseball. Jackie Robinson was the first black player the racist pricks who controlled Major League Baseball allowed to play.

Major League Baseball has now turned the legacy of Jackie Robinson into a way of making money. These hats at Lids are just one example. The thing that surprised me about the ad is that they couldn’t even bother to get his name right. It’s Jackie Robinson, not Jackie Robins.

MLB's hollow tribute to Jackie Robinson - Bent Corner

It annoys me that every team in Major League Baseball gets to honor Jackie Robinson when only the Dodgers signed him and put him on the team. When I see a Yankees hat with 42 on the side, I think it’s honoring famed closing pitcher Mariano Rivera. He played 19 years of the Yankees and he wore the number 42 like Jackie Robinson. He started wearing it before Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number league-wide. Players who already wore the number 42 could continue to wear it.

Why were they allowed to do that? If you want to mass retire a number you should be willing to enforce it immediately. We’re all for honoring someone or something, unless it’s inconvenient. Having to change the number on your uniform would just be too inconvenient.

Every year I saw Mariano Rivera play with the number 42, the more I associated that number with him, not Jackie Robinson. Like every other Yankees player, his name wasn’t on the back of his jersey. All he had was a large 42 on the back. Even now when I see the numbers of retired players at Camden Yards, the blue 42 makes me think of Mariano Rivera, not Jackie Robinson.

MLB's hollow tribute to Jackie Robinson - Bent Corner
Retired numbers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

It looks it me that the Orioles are honoring Mariano Rivera. This is the same team that has a statue of Babe Ruth in front of the stadium. Babe Ruth, the greatest Yankees player of all time.