Okay, but you've struck me before as a comic book pro who's
also seems to be a fan. It's not just a job, it's more. You
certainly seemed that way when you joined Marvel Knights.
Is that the case, if not when did it go away? Or is it just
Marvel you're not as bothered with anymore? If not, why not?
Waiting For Tommy XXIX
By Richard Johnston
When we did Marvel Knights, the books we worked on were the
only books I read at Marvel at the time, all of my buying
money was at Vertigo, Dark Horse and foreign companies, which
would explain the list of creators we got to work on Marvel
buying Marvel comics has nothing to do with the actual company,
it's just that my tastes are for more genre-related books,
and not so much superheroes anymore. I'm guessing Marvel's
output is 90% superhero, which is something they do best.
The Max line is the only part of the company I always check
out because of the different genres, though for the most part,
they seem to still be mostly superheroes as well, but doing
them with an edgier take, which I enjoy.
a total fan of creators and some of their properties, but
like I said, only a couple are actually working on Marvel
product right now and even less on non-superhero titles.
to follow creators, not companies. I do not believe in buying
from only one company, and I put that rule into effect with
my freelance work as well. I will work for everyone as long
as they respect my work and pay me. It's all the different
opportunities that come along that keep me interested and
maintain that whatever I am working on is always fresh and
Nevertheless, the current Marvel work does seem to have been
directly affected by you and Joe's time at the company together.
Yet it's been said that your role on what New Marvel is today
has been whitewashed out of their history. Do you see a contradiction
Whitewashed out? That's funny. Every single person that has
been with Knights knows I was there for them and put the work
in. to tell the truth, I also inked 3 out of the 4 titles
at one time or another that we did. Punisher, Dr. Strange,
Black Panther and Daredevil
off the top of my head. The names are on the books and we
did a lot of good while there. To this day, I still work and
hang out with almost every single person we started Knights
Joe and I brought to Marvel in the form of Marvel Knights
was the idea of experimenting with new ideas and making the
production values of the artwork significantly better then
what was the current product coming out at the time. We were
able to do this because we had a bigger budget for the 4 titles,
a sharper eye for good storytelling and had the attitude that
we could do it better than anyone else was.
to think Joe still has that attitude and energy going, or
why bother being the EIC. We have always had something to
on the Marvel Knights books was being part of a team. Joe
and I had our own ideas and way of looking at things. We both
had great relationships with other writers and artists and
we both had something to prove beyond the Event Comic's titles.
If people think it was all Joe's doing at Marvel Knights,
so be it. I do not have the time or energy to run around like
an idiot trying to convince some small minds otherwise. I
let the work speak for itself.
end of the day all that matters to me is that we did right
by everyone involved and did some fine work together.
DOWN #1 - SIGNED VERSION
Talking of which I hear that while your book Resistance
has been cancelled, your other title for Wildstorm,
Down has been confirmed for another year. With both
books selling pretty much the same, do you know how
that judgment call was reached?
That's easy, 21 Down sells better [even if it is only
a few thousand more] than Resistance and is an easier
read for most. The Resistance is about 9 characters,
21 down about 2. The artwork on 21 Down is simple and
graceful, the art on resistance is brilliantly complicated
and unique. It's really easy to see what the audience
is going to grab off the racks. The Resistance is a
complicated, deeply involving, multi-cultured sci-fi
epic that would have had a better life if it came out
thing about the Resistance book is that it never failed to
get great reviews, but couldn't find an audience. Another
factor in determining its sales was that we were trying to
answer the cry of the fans saying they want something new
yet, when delivered, they still go back and buy the same old
thing over and over. There is safety in the same old.
comic buyers really seem to not want new titles. Read the
Diamond Top 100, it is all there in plain sight. Take movies
for an example. Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2, Blade 3, Star Wars
6, Rambo 5, Spy Kids 3, and so on. Movies like Equilibrium,
Below and Frida suffer because they do not cater to the masses.
It's reality. If I thought ahead, I would have worked a future
in the book and it would have lasted longer, but to tell the
truth, the book is something we are all proud of and are really
glad we got 8 issues done which is a miracle in itself these
is more of a real world superhero book and we all know by
now that this genre will always sell better that sci-fi, unfortunately.
try to Name 3 other sci-fi books in the Top 100... it is impossible.
21 Down will be around for a while and in the next 6 issues
we introduce a whole new world to the readers that they will
never see coming. We shall see where this path takes us.
Talking of paths, your 'thematic sequel' to last year's hit
The Pro, by the same creative team, is said to be called LCX.
Does the 'c' stand for anything naughty, and can you tell
us any more?
Can't say more than that it will be out 2004, by Garth, Amanda
and myself, and make The Pro look like an Archie comic. This
book will be part 3 of a trilogy that has nothing to do with
each other except for the talent presenting it. The hard thing
about doing these books is that we don't get paid till after
they are done, so for us to make a living, they have to be
done in-between jobs, that's why they take so long to put
together. Trust me, it's going to be funny as hell.
Hell's not funny. I've been there recently, ooh, last interview
but one. During that infernal toasting Joe Quesada accused
me of wanting to leave advertising for a career in comics.
As a man who has worked in both, can you give me any career
Do what is less stressful to you and understand what is most
important in life. My revelation came in '89 when I left advertising
and made comics a full time job. I knew I had to simplify
my life or I was going to test the limits of my blood pressure.
I had many other career changes in comics as well, and every
choice came with its ups and downs. Fortunately, I am on the
up swing now and really enjoying myself the most I have ever
had in the past 12 years. Other than 21 Down and Resistance,
Justin and I have another series coming out in the DCU, as
well as a one shot, and two other series for different companies.
All with creator involved deals behind them.
a great writing partner and friend in Justin Gray, the perfect
love of my life in Amanda Conner and the best of all worlds
with the variety of good people I have chosen to share my
time with. I am very fortunate that I continue to keep creating
comics and still find time to time to travel the world and
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