MAY….hem? MAYHEM’s Marketing Guy Quits Admidst Controversy

Our fascination with MAYHEM by Tyrese Gibson from Image Comics continues today as Percy Carey (aka MF Grimm, also known for his graphic novel Sentences) stepped down from his post as head of marketing for MAYHEM.  Laura Hudson over at the Comics Alliance posted the entire public announcement of his resignation.

Essentially, now that San Diego is over, Carey did not feel that the marketing tactics employed by the team behind MAYHEM were more along the lines of “snake-oil tactics” in how they marketed the book with retailers, specifically Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience in San Francisco and other retailers. He was also disappointed with the lack of attention paid to the quality of the book in favor of marketing the book.

Here are some highlights from the announcement:

On several occasions over the past few months, the creators decided to forget about their responsibilities (writing a good comic book) and on a whim, turned their focus to the marketing of Tyrese Gibson’s MAYHEM!; it was during these times they
found multiple ways to insult well-respected people within the comic book industry.

I emailed the author of the first blog I ever read way back in 2006 when I decided to start blogging on my own. It’s funny to look back on it now and realize that is what got me started to learn more about reseller SEO, down this career path. I started three sports blogs, one tech blog and one photography blog when I was in college. All but one failed miserably. The one that survived, though, helped me build connections and get links from major newspapers, appear on TV and radio shows, meet a bunch of awesome people and even made enough money for me to afford NFL Sunday Ticket every year.

It’s easy for people to take credit for things (like strategic marketing) when they are going well, but no one will step forward when unethical methods are implemented, methods that are clearly not “strategic”. Because I am credited in Tyrese Gibson’s MAYHEM! as Marketing Director, I’m obligated to come forward and absorb the blame for these (unauthorized) snake oil selling marketing tactics which I found to be unnecessary and insensitive to comic book retailers. “

The story behind Tyrese Gibson’s MAYHEM just got way more fascinating, admittedly in a behind the scenes/business dealings manner.  We have been outspoken in our fascination with Gibson and MAYHEM and were impressed with the level of effort he and his team were putting into getting the word out about the comic, especially to potential new readers.  With some of the alleged snake-oil tactics that Carey cites in his open letter, it’s a bit of a shame to see that enthusiasm get a negative air to it.  Although, there were some victories as Carey writes:

“(and yes ladies and gentlemen of the press, the 10,000+ sales in one store is the real deal, something I will always be proud of).”

Percy Carey gets a lot of respect for standing up for what he believes in and taking responsibility in ethical marketing and apologizing in such a public manner. 


  1. mayhem!

  2. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Sounds like a lot of may-hemming and hawing to me. 

  3. Crazy news.  What exactly were they doing to insult retailers?

  4. I think ifanboy did more to help market this book than anyone else

  5. @drakedangerz Click on the Brian Hibbs link

  6. And the moral of the story is ….







  7. I love how this is only interesting because of the last podcast.

  8. May-HEM! Absolute MAYHEM! I mean, what is this industry coming to? Mayhem!? Please no. I’ve got too much May-HEM! going on in my life. Definetly don’t need more MAY-HEM! It’s mayhem! Simply mayhem!…

  9. Pros: He wrote a great book that I very much loved, He just did a hell of a gutsy move here.

    Cons: He almost ran me over one day at the Con.

    I can forgive.

  10. @Slockhart – To be Mayhem with Mayhem, Mayhem Mayhem. LOL  The other Mayhem I was Mayhem to my Mayhem and Mayhem agreed that Mayhem and Mayhem have really Mayhem the industry Mayhem.



  11. @Ron-Damn, I slow 🙁

    You know, I specifically remember two times at the IGN boards where someone started two seperate accounts just to post about the Mayhem comic.  No follow up, nothing about the story, just that we should check it out and its amazing and blah blah blah.  Mayhem indeed.

  12. I am now even more impressed by Percy Carey. I didn’t think that was possible.

    I enjoyed seeing some of the behind the scenes details of this business.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

  13. With this new let’s retire Mayhem on the site. I’m going to get out of my system right now:





  14. Can we get at least one random May-HEM in every episode for a few months? it seriously makes my day. My friends and I cannot stop doing it.

  15.  This is the best.  What it all stemmed from.  The dude compares buying the book to voting for Barack Obama, all while reading off a script.

  16. Hm. I’m glad that this is getting discussed.

    Anyway, MF GRIMM should release a new album.

  17. Y’know Tyrese has been pretty successful in three different industries, at what point did anyone tell him that these types of tactics were acceptable methods of promoting your product and ingratiating yourself with retailers?  This isn’t street-team marketing, even the guys who make hood-DVDs wouldn’t pull this shit with a store owner.

  18. I gues mayhem begets more mayhem.

    By the power of Gray Skull I am May-hemmmmm!
    With your powers combined I am Captain May-Hem!
    Autobots transform and Mayhem.
    Now you know, and knowing is half the Mayhem.
    May…May…MAYHEM! HO!!!!!!!!!!!
    Avengers Mayhem!

    If you say Mayhem five times in a mirror does Tyrese Gibson kill you?

  19. Sounds like there more stupid noises than a room full of Marines.

  20. What an interesting story from Brian.  That had to be a really frustrating day, especially for a book that we all know will be gone by issue 5.  I hope his Gaiman signing went well.

  21. Ok, so I just watched the video of the guy on YouTube.  Who the hell is he?  Does he just have a hard-on for Tyrese?  The one thing I’m really curious about is how many copies this book sold from actual stores.  Data I’m sure we’ll never get, but interesting to be sure.

  22. oh man … that video is depressing.

  23.  Real life MAYHEM surrounds the comic book version of MAYHEM,oh the humanity!

  24. HEM-MAY…wait..Hay-Mem!…damn I suck at this.

  25. One thing I don’t like is haters.

    But doesn’t that make you a hater hater?

  26. I read the story and feel bad for all involved. Gibson looks like he wants to do good by his book and the industry and it feels to me he didn’t realize the results of his actions. I haven’t read the book, I doubt I will, I do hope it does well.

  27. Here’s what I know: Mayhem is the most talked about book that no one is reading. In 20 years it’ll be the new Miracle Man and in 30 years Marvel will buy the rights to it so that a whole new generation of readers can get their Mayhem on.

  28. If this book gets to May of next year, would we have to call it "May Mayhem?"

    And if asking it politely to come out and play, would we have to say, "May May Mayhem please come out and play?"

    AND, if it is Aunt May’s issue of Mayhem, would we have to say, "May May’s May Mayhem please come out and play?"



  29. @Josh – No love for haters?

     My favorite part of this whole thing is Ron’s response to the quality of the book. "It was a comic book ANYWAY…"

  30. MF Grimm has a great deal of respect for the comic book industry.  I look forward to ant future projects from him.

  31. I had never heard of this book until I heard al the MAY-HEM!!!! shouting in the POTW Podcast.

  32. The biggest and best comic book website has marketed ‘MAYHEM’ for almost a month now. I think that’s a big accomplishment.


  33. @josh: Not nessecarily, haters hate everybody. Some hate so much that they even hate themselves. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!!!!!!

  34. @JesTr: I hate everyone, even me.

  35. @josh Thank you sir. Hope you don’t mind I use that. That fact needs to be spread.

  36. A hater hating on haters is a jater indeed. What did that hater ever did to yu? Except maybe hate on you.

    Now that’s MAY-HEM

  37. =|……….


    Anywho I didn’t think a problem like this would arise as quickly as it did. I honestly thought there’d be a 2nd printing and then of course issue #2 and then it would die and hide from the public crowd after hemoraging money.

  38. btw I loved the following sentence:

    Hibbs: "We took something on the order of sixty phone calls related to "Mayhem," which is really a lot, I think. Unfortunately, about forty of those calls weren’t sales at all – many were asking if they could speak to Tyrese, or hang-ups when we got to price, or even the one long-distance phone call to tell me that they thought Gibson was “weak-ass." I mean, What kind of person would do that? Seriously? You don’t have better things to do? I know I have better things to do, certainly!"[/end quote]

    XD worst comics wednesday ever.

  39. This is unfortunate.  MF Grimm is awesome, I hope this doesn’t sour him from the industry.  Sentences was great and I’d love to see him try his hand at some more comics, maybe try some fiction. 


    *Avoids tasteless joke about MF Grimm "standing up" for what he believes.*

  40. I enjoyed the hell out of Sentences so I would hope he’d do something in comics again.

  41. Picked this book up for kicks n’ giggles. Man, does it absolutely scream "Image Comics 1997." Art, story, dialogue are all blasts from the not-too-distant past. The publisher should put the old-school Image I on the upper left corner. By the end I was expecting house ads for Gen13 Bootleg.

    Not bad, not good, just…dated.

  42. I just realized the same guy who did that Sentences trade did this. Sorry, the name wasn’t clicking with me….nor was the 40+ posts saying the fact. I feel bad for him, but then again I think this site gave a lot of advertising for the book. But yeah this definitely is not a great comic venture for him. Hope he finds better work.

  43. On a night where I find myself asking no one in particular, "What has happened to decency?", I see that there are still some who carry the flag of credibility.

    On a somewhat related note, I might one day get Sentences for myself, but I’m considering getting it for my friend who’s a not a comic fan, but is really into rap, particularly MF Doom. Thing is, he’s not much of a fan of MF Grimm as a rapper (I couldn’t say one way or the other, not being a rap fan myself), so my selling points to him would be that it’s a story about the rap world and that MF Doom is in it. But, my question is how much is he in the book? I know they had a falling out, so I dunno if my friend would like to see Doom portrayed negatively, even if it’s true.

  44. Doom is only in the book a little bit.  They’re friends, and they join up for a while at one point.  But there’s not much in there.

  45. MF Grimm is a classy dude. Seems like he handled the situation well and stepped down when he needed to. Feel kinda sorry for him. Must suck to have to walk out on a friend and business partner, even if it’s the right thing to do.

  46. Thank you, Lord Josh.

    I just realized that he has a birthday coming up, and seeing as how I’ve only ever given him Burger King Simpsons watches and a construction worker’s hat, I probably owe the guy a legit present, so he’s getting this book whether he wants it or not.

  47. Ahem


  48. I read the preview for this book…… it sucked. 

  49. Can someone summrize the initially controversy, not the thing stated in this post?  I missed them.  I don’t know what the campaign actually was.

  50. I think the gist of the Brian Hibbs thing is that he posted some very practical comments as a comic book retailer about his lack of hope for a comic book like Mayhem. He was then summarily labelled a "hater" for it. I think his comments and subsequent analysis after the fact was very much what a businessperson should have done in his position. I think most fans don’t realize what goes into running a comic book shop. It’s much different than the relationship between the record industry and the local record store (remember those?). He was looking at his bottom line and made his comments accordingly.

    I don’t know if we’ll ever know specifically what "snake oil tactics" Percy Carey is talking about, but it sounds like there might have been a lack of communication and planning on the part of the Mayhem team that Carey just couldn’t handle anymore. Not for lack of enthusiasm, I think Gibson might have stepped on Carey’s toes a little too much in trying to promote his book.  Which is too bad. That kind of enthusiasm should be welcomed in the comics community in regards to marketing. But, clearly planning and cultivating relationships with retailers and local communities should’ve been top priority, not just getting the blockbuster weekend sales before packing up shop and heading for the hills. 

  51. Rap fanboys should check out MF Grim’s album The Downfall of Iblys. Frickin classic!