Comics / Spotlight / Knowledge and Scholarship

Who's Who - Al Kratina

By Hervé St-Louis
August 2, 2012 - 15:01

Al Kratina is one of the success story of ComicBookBin. He started as a lowly blogger, joined ComicBookBin, wrote stellar articles, was hired by large urban newspaper as a journalist and columnist. He now makes movies and works for advertising companies.

Al Kratina is a movie buff who like Kevin Smith worked at a video rental joint in the Westside of downtown Montreal near Concordia University’s student ghetto. He had trained as a filmmaker at Concordia’s renown’s fine arts and film studies department. He approached ComicBookBin in late February 2006 and his first article, a movie review was posted on March 1st 2006.

Al Kratina reviewed several films and a few comics while at ComicBookBin. He had a taste for arcane, occult and horror movies so when he was able to attend the Fantasia film festival in Montreal as a media representative through ComicBookBin, he was thrilled. Following years in 2007 and 2008, because I could not attend Fantasia myself, having moved to Calgary, Al was the front man for ComicBookBin at Fantasia, which must have been like a dream festival for him. All the horror films he could see all in one place.

Al had a weird sense of humour and would make comments in his articles that would sometimes create problems. A well-known comic book creator once threatened to sue ComicBookBin over a perceived slight in one of Al’s articles. The comment was a one liner that questioned the creator’s creation of a well-known comic book character. That once naive sentence, that most didn’t even noticed could have challenged the claim the creator had of having created the comic book character and thus threatened the regular royalties received from a major comic book publisher. My first reaction was the predictable. Protect my writer at any cost. The creator’s lawyer, another well-known litigator in the entertainment industry was very tough on us and did not mince any words. This is the type of event that ages a budding comic book news magazine publisher like me.

Al’s reaction was priceless. Sorry Al but I have to share this. He was scared shitless. It’s as if he thought he was going to go to jail and have to pay a big settlement and be indebted for life. I had to keep reassuring him telling him that I was the one they would have to sue, not him. That I was responsible for the contents of the article, even if I had not even vetted or read the article before it was published. In the end, because it was just one stupid sentence out of a huge article, that didn’t even change its meaning, as it was more of a offhand commentary, I deleted the sentence. Of course, I discussed everything with Al and he knew what I had done and was fully briefed with the my exchange with the lawyer.

I don’t usually change the meaning of a writer’s article. This is something ComicBookBin is well-known for. At most I fix typos. I like to say that ultimately, the writer is responsible for their opinions whether I approve of them or not, but in this case, even though I had no say in what Al had written, I still felt responsible for the article and the one who had to go fight for my writer’s right to express himself. I also did something I don’t do often during this episode. I actually genuinely apologized to the lawyer for the perceived slight and allow the other party to “win.” People who know me well, know I don’t back down often from fights with lawyers – there’s a cool story about how I fought a big law firm alone for the trade-mark for Toon Doctor, my company’s name. But in this case, was it even worth it? And moreover, I didn’t really want to put Al through the ringer and deal with a stupid lawsuit from a forgotten comic book creator fighting for a small monthly stipend. I have better ways to spend my time, and so did Al.

Al directed his first movie a few years ago based, on a clerk working at a video store! He left Montreal for Toronto and seems to be happy with his wife which he married just a few years ago. Al’s articles were cool and I encourage you to read many of them. They are very entertaining, although sometimes, they make get him and ComicBookBin into trouble.

Who's Who @ComicBookBin is a feature celebrating the 10th anniversary of ComicBookBin where publisher Hervé St-Louis features writers past and present that have contributed to ComicBookBin over the years.

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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