Patrick C.K. "Pat" Lee is a Canadian artist. He was the president of Dreamwave Productions and drew some of their Transformers comics, until people realised he wasn't paying them. Following that, he was also the president of Dream Engine, until people realised he wasn't paying them. He's currently the president of Pat Lee Productions, where he still hasn't realised he isn't paying himself. Such is life.
Before the Transformers
Pat Lee was born in Montreal on June 28, 1975, and raised in Toronto. At the age of 16, right after graduating from high school, Lee was eager to find a job in the comic book industry, sending over 150 pages of sample aftworks to Marvel and DC. However, Lee eventually managed to catch the attention of infamous Image Comics co-creator Rob Liefeld at a Toronto convention in 1994, who would hire Lee (now aged 19) to work as a penciller on various titles for Liefeld's Image studio Extreme Studios. After that, Pat Lee would also work for Jim Lee's Image studio Wildstorm Productions, as well as accepting work-for-hire assignments from Marvel.
In 1996, Pat and his brother Roger decided to start their own studio within Image Comics, Dreamwave Productions, with Pat acting as the company's president. With Dreamwave, Lee would continue accepting contractual work for other publishers (such as the four-issue limited series Wolverine/Punisher: Revelation for Marvel), but also started to publish his own titles such as Darkminds and Warlands. Collaborations with various magazines and advertising campaigns helped to further advance Dreamwave's reputation. Initially, the "hook" for Dreamwave's financial success was Pat's drawing style, which many readers viewed as "manga-like".
Transformers by Dreamwave
In 2001, Pat and Dreamwave submitted a contribution for a feature named "Big 80s" that was published in issue #111 of Wizard: The Comics Magazine, depicting Pat's own take on one of his favorite properties from his childhood days, the Transformers. Proving to be a huge hit among fans, Hasbro would consider the general art style a benchmark when they were offering the license for a new Transformers comic later that year. Unsurprisingly, it was Dreamwave themselves who finally acquired said license, commemorating this as a turning point in the history of their company by officially cutting all ties with Image and becoming an independent publisher on their own.
In addition to providing the art for various adverts, posters and covers, Pat would draw the first two Generation One limited series, Vol. 1 (aka "Prime Directive") and Vol. 2: War and Peace. Subsequently, he would concentrate on controlling Dreamwave as its president and spend more time on his automotive hobby, while assigning art jobs to other artists (many of them hired directly out of the fandom). Lee's only other major contribution in terms of art would ultimately be some of the character profiles published in the eight-issue More Than Meets The Eye limited series.
Despite having dominated Diamond's sales charts for several subsequent months with the Transformers, Dreamwave eventually ended up in dire financial circumstances. Coinciding with rumors of unpaid freelancers, Pat Lee started to accept contractual work for Marvel and DC again, such as issues of House of M or Superman/Batman. Dreamwave eventually declared bankruptcy on January 4, 2005, blaming the weak Canadian Dollar and other scapegoats for the company's failure.
With Dream Engine, Lee would work on various projects such as an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover for Marvel, issues for the Batman/Superman series for DC and a relaunch of Cyberforce for Top Cow, another Image studio.
Eventually, Pat Lee parted ways with Dream Engine again and started his new enterprise, Pat Lee Productions. Pat Lee is currently residing in Hong Kong.
Return to official Transformers work
In mid-2008, three and a half years since the collapse of Dreamwave, Lee was commissioned to do a series of illustrations for Hasbro Hong Kong to use for promotional purposes as part of their appearance at Ani-Con 2008.
Published Transformers works with Pat Lee credit
- Transformers: Generation One (vol. 1): Preview, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6
- Transformers: Generation One vol. 2: War and Peace: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6
- Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye (G1) #1, #3, #6 (assorted profiles)
- Transformers: Armada: #6, #7
- Transformers Armada: More Than Meets The Eye (Official Guidebook): #1, #2, #3 (assorted profiles)
- 20th Anniversary Transformers Summer Special: Individual story "Welcome to the Jungle"
- assorted covers for nearly all the Dreamwave Transformers series
- Series III Autobot Jazz
- Series IV Prowl
- Series IV Red Alert
- Series V Hoist
- Series V Inferno
- Series VI Autobot Grapple
- Series VII Rodimus Prime
- Series VII Dirge
- Series VIII Side Swipe
- No.0 Convoy (Optimus Prime)
- No.1 Meister (Jazz)
- No.2 Prowl
- No.6 Megatron
- No.7 Lambor (Sideswipe)
- No.10 Soundwave
- No.12 Minibot Team
- No.16 Insectrons (Insecticons)
- Hasbro Hong Kong Ani-Con 2008 Movie Commemorative boxset certificate
Criticism and controversy
Pat Lee's artwork has often been the target of criticism among fans - exaggerated proportions, emphasis on rounded robot body parts, making the characters look "inflated" and marshmallow-like, the overall look of his human characters (see "dull surprise").
Lee instituted an internal "house style" that would force other artists to follow Pat Lee's own style closely. Don Figueroa confirmed in an interview having received such requests from Dreamwave art director Rob Ruffolo, a guideline which Figueroa declined. Fellow artist Guido Guidi confirmed having received similar requests. Ruffolo himself also later confirmed the existence of an internal "house style", without specifically referring to Lee. The most evident example of the Dreamwave "house style" can be found in the second War Within limited series, where the original pencils by artist Andrew Wildman were drastically reworked by the inker.
Even though many fans preferred other artists over Pat Lee, official Dreamwave press releases and solicitations would often titulate the company's president as a "superstar artist".
The demise of Dreamwave didn't come overnight. The first rumors of freelancers not getting paid date back as far as October of 2003. Following the closure of Dreamwave, former freelance writers Adam Patyk and James McDonough reiterated their claims that Dreamwave (not explicitly referring to Lee himself) had stopped paying them even before declaring bankruptcy. They had then filed a lawsuit against their former employer, and when that became public, they had allegedly also heard from other Dreamwave employees and freelancers who were supposedly also complaining about not being paid anymore.
Aside from Patyk and McDonough, no other former Dreamwave employees or freelancers were nearly as explicit on the issue. Artist Don Figueroa only stated that Dreamwave was "getting really behind with the check" and pointed out that he "was also assured everything was cool" when he met Pat Lee in person only a month prior to the closing of Dreamwave. The latter complaint was also repeated by writer Simon Furman. Likewise, artist Guido Guidi merely accused Dreamwave of a lack of "[g]ood communication", and even revealed an ambivalent attitude towards Pat Lee and his brother Roger. Artist James Raiz, meanwhile, claimed that he was "one of the very few who came out of Dreamwave with all [his] money."
Prior to declaring bankruptcy, Pat and his brother Roger had spent four months secretly transferring most of Dreamwave's assets to a new company named Dream Engine, whose website domain was registered to Roger's name. In addition, it would turn out that Lee had made sure to transfer ownership of his formerly company-owned Porsche to himself before giving up Dreamwave, and had spent half a million Canadian dollars on a new luxury apartment even before the Dreamwave bankruptcy. The overall amount of Dreamwave's debt was far over a million dollars.
In addition, Guido Guidi and Don Figueroa later confirmed that they were additionally charged by FedEx for having shipped artwork to Dreamwave prior to the company's closure.
Pat Lee himself gave several interviews following the closing of Dreamwave, presenting himself as a victim of circumstance while completely dodging the issue of unpaid creators and the existence of Dream Engine.
While working with Dream Engine, Pat Lee spent a significant amount of the company's funds on the campaign of his girlfriend Aimee Chan, who would eventually win the title of Miss Hong Kong in 2006. This ultimately resulted in Pat being asked by Dream Engine and his brother Roger to leave the company.
Failure to give proper credit
During the Dreamwave days, several artists confirmed that Pat Lee had only been drawing the robot characters, leaving the backgrounds entirely to (credited) assistants such as Edwin Garcia.
In 2007, it would turn out that Lee's personal involvement in his girlfriend's beauty pageant campaign had resulted in him being unable to meet deadlines for issues of Top Cow's Cyberforce series. As a consequence, Pat had asked Alex Milne to draw those issues in his stead. After a few issues, what little credit was initially given to Milne was dropped entirely, with Pat submitting the artwork under his own name instead, paying Milne merely a fragment of the money Top Cow was paying him. In addition, Lee later asked Milne to draw artwork for DC's Superman/Batman #34 as well, again giving his underpaid ghost artist no credit. Eventually, Top Cow found out, resulting in Pat Lee not paying Milne at all for over 20 pages of artwork.
Attempts at cover-up
In March and April of 2008, a newly registered Wikipedia user repeatedly tried to remove any reference to the controversies surrounding Pat Lee in his own article, instead replacing them with more PR-friendly resume details. (The critical content in the Wikipedia article was later purged for other reasons.)
- Before the launch of Dreamwave's Transformers comic books, Pat expressed a certain level of ignorance with regard to the brand's history. For example, he claimed that, in retrospect, the Transformers cartoon was so amazing that it was only a matter of time before the toys were made. In the same interview, he also admitted liking Generation One Sideswipe, whom he considers a "wicked character", regretting that he "died" in the movie.
- During Dreamwave's heyday, Dreamwave press releases would constantly titulate the company's president as a "superstar artist", even after the company had started hiring various other artists.
- Fans discovered an old personal website Pat had set up prior to the big breakthrough with Dreamwave. In retrospect, many of the quotes and graphics featured on the site would prove to be ironic, such as a promotional image depicting Pat, his brother Roger and then-Dreamwave exec Alvin Lee walking away from a nuclear explosion (see Image:Dreamwave.jpg); or a header graphic that features his name, "Patrick Lee", replaced by random Katakana characters (ミチヤメノテヒ フナナ), which read "Michiyamenotehi Funana". Soon, this would become his new nickname among fans.
- Pat Lee once set a hill on fire.
- After the launch of Dream Engine, Lee's resume at the company's website claimed that he was responsible for relaunching "X-Men, Batman and more", thereby implying that those franchises had long lingered in a near-dead state until Superstar Funana blessed them with his divine reanimating powers.
- All of the above is absolutely true. We're not kidding.
Memorable quotes by and about Pat Lee
—It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failures.
—If he ever wants out of comics, Pat Lee's got a heck of a career as an auto mechanic.
—If Pat had been some faceless bureaucrat it maybe wouldn’t now seem such an acute betrayal, but he looked me square in the eye and said everything’s hunky-dory. That’s what still, even now, burns.
—Probably the richest guy I know.
—A guy that really knows how to pitch himself.
—Can we get our money?
- PatLeeArt at MySpace
- Pat Lee's alive not dead profile blog site
- Pat Lee's deviantART page.
- Pat Lee's Youtube account
- ↑ PatLeeArt at deviantART
- ↑ Pat Lee's own biography on his old Angelfire website
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters confirming that other publishers were interested in the Transformers license
- ↑ Dreamwave's final press release
- ↑ Pat Lee Productions
- ↑ Pat Lee showcases his illustrations for Hasbro on his blog.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Interview with Don Figueroa
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Interview with Guido Guidi
- ↑ Interview with Rob Ruffolo
- ↑ Transfans interview with Andrew Wildman
- ↑ The infamous "Dreamwave Adds Transformers Creators" press release
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters reporting on early rumors of Dreamwave artists not getting paid
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Interview with writers Adam Patyk and James McDonough
- ↑ Interview with Simon Furman
- ↑ Interview with James Raiz
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters discovering the existence of Dream Engine
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters reporting on the Pat Lee Porsche story
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters reporting on Pat Lee's new apartment
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters' list of Dreamwave's creditors
- ↑ Archived TFW2005 thread with Guido Guidi and Don Figueroa confirming the FedEx story
- ↑ Archived Wizard interview with Pat Lee
- ↑ Jazma Online interview with Pat Lee, April 2006
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters reporting on Pat Lee's involvement with Aimee Chan
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters reporting on Alex Milne ghosting for Pat Lee
- ↑ Lying in the Gutters reporting on Alex Milne ghosting for Pat Lee even more
- ↑ Interview with Alex Milne on DeviantArt
- ↑ Contributions by Wikipedia user "Hyrocomics"
- ↑ Contributions by IP 18.104.22.168
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Interview with animefringe.com
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 Infrarred [sic] Pat Lee's Angelfire homepage
- ↑ Pat's resume at the now defunct Dreamengine website.
- ↑ Jazma Online Interview
- ↑ Verbatim quote from an article published in an issue of Wizard Magazine.
- ↑ Online interview talking about the collapse of Dreamwave
- ↑ Word Association with the name "Pat Lee" from an interview with TransFans.net.
- ↑ Word Association with the name "Pat Lee" from an interview with TransFans.net.
- ↑ Patyk's response to the question "If you could talk to Pat directly right now, what would you ask of him?" in an interview with Newsarama.