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The 5 Greatest Non-Sellouts in History

Here at Maxim we're against selling out to corporations in all forms. That is, all corporations besides our good friends at Jif peanut butter (but with a product as good as theirs, that goes without saying). Anyway, every once in a while we'll stumble upon another rule-breaker, a fellow anti-corporate crusader, a real rouge who refuses to pimp their message for the money making machine, and we’ll marvel at how similar we are. So sit back, grab a delicious Jif peanut butter sandwich, and check out this list of artists that join us in the upper echelons of integrity.

Bill Watterson

(Photo: C.H. Pete Copeland / Landov)

Watterson created Calvin and Hobbes, a tremendously popular and brilliant comic strip about a boy and his stuffed tiger. Don't get us wrong, Watterson has definitely made some serious scratch off his work, but he's turned down the opportunity to make much, much more. First off, there are movie and animation rights. In a world where Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (Yes, there are TWO cat puns in that title) made well over $100 million, most studio heads would re-sell their souls to own the rights to a Calvin and Hobbes movie. The only problem is that Watterson refuses to sell those rights, admitting that while animation lends a creative potential to his creation, the thought of hearing Calvin’s voice is "very scary". He's also avoided another money-bullet to the face by preventing the creation and sale of Calvin and Hobbes merchandise, saying “each product I considered seemed to violate the spirit of the strip, contradict its message, and take me away from the work I loved.” That still hasn't prevented a universe of knockoffs from popping up. We just hope Watterson doesn’t lose too much sleep over the fortune he lost by not endorsing these bad boys.

Alan Moore

(Photo: Rune Hellestad / Corbis)

Alan Moore is a prolific comic-book writer responsible for titles such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, and Watchmen. It's no coincidence that many people would recognize these names not from his graphic novels, but from the blockbuster films they’ve inspired. As it turns out, movies based off of Moore's work have a tendency to make a butt-load (that’s the financial term) of money - his stories and characters have collectively grossed hundreds of millions of dollars in box office. That would be aces for Alan Moore if only he made a profit from them. Apparently, Moore developed such a disdain for Hollywood's treatment of his work that he refused credit and profit from both V for Vendetta and Watchmen, two huge summer movies. That's a serious chunk of change he's missing out on. I mean, who would've guessed that V for Vendetta masks would become the hottest fashion accessory for anti-corporate protesters. Hell, on those sales alone, he could have made the most ironic fortune ever.

Fred Rogers

(Photo: Bettmann / Corbis)

What most people know about Mr. Rogers is he's nice, wears cardigans, and wants you to know that you're special. What most people don't know is he's also punk as fuck. Fred Rogers started his career in television because he wanted to change it from the inside, stating "I went into television because I hated it,” and “I saw people throwing pies at each other's faces, and that to me was such demeaning behavior.” That's right, people throwing pies in each other’s faces made this man so angry that he completely changed his career. Imagine what he would have done if he had lived to see Jersey Shore. Eventually, sick of working for the man, Rogers quit his job on one of the three biggest (and only-est) networks, and decided to move to Pittsburg to work with a community-funded television station. He famously became an advocate for public television and even at the height of his popularity refused any commercial endorsements. He even called a press conference putting Burger King on blast when they used a parody of his likeness to sell burgers, which could confuse children. Burger King eventually pulled the ads because apparently pissing off the most loved man in America isn't the smartest PR move.

Bill Hicks

(Photo: Variance Films / Everett Collection)

Bill Hicks was a brilliant stand-up comedian known for material that was angry, refreshing, and way ahead of its time. He talked about everything from death, illness, religion, drugs, and often tore consumerism a new one. Basically, Hicks wasn't the kind of comedian you would give his own Saturday morning cartoon to. And boy did he hate sellouts. He once wrote “Do a commercial, you're off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, you're a corporate whore and ah, end of story”. Being that outspokenly anti-corporate might fly if you're working at an organic farm in Seattle, but when you're trying to climb the ladder of entertainment while telling people in advertising to kill themselves for 3 minutes, or implying The Tonight Show's Jay Leno should blow his Dorito-shilling head off his body, it doesn't make your path any easier. During the height of his career, Hicks appeared on Letterman and did an act that was considered so offensive for television audiences, that for the first time in Letterman history, they pulled the entire segment before air. Letterman apologized and later aired the cut segment in 2009, taking the blame for the incident. Unfortunately this was 15 years after Hicks passed away. Alternatively, Jay Leno has yet to blow his Dorito-shilling head off.

Ian MacKaye and Fugazi


If you don't know who the band Fugazi is, here's a video of Matthew McConaughey explaining. Now that you're all caught up, you know that Fugazi is a post-hardcore band from Washington D.C. Aside from their critical acclaim and success, Fugazi are known for their straight-forward, DIY-approach to the business side of music. Viewing expensive admission prices as price-gouging their own fans, they simplified the cost of touring and set a goal to keep their shows costing $5 to $15. The band even eliminated the cost of selling merch, leading to bootleg shirts such as this.  After successfully releasing their album Repeater through their own label, Dischord Records, Fugazi was approached by major labels with multi-million dollar deals, but (much like how choosy moms choose Jif) Fugazi chose to avoid the major labels completely and distribute their records themselves. Doing so proved successful and sent a menacing message to the corporate rock establishment. We like to think that we would've done the same exact thing.

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