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WAITING FOR TOMMY: JASON LIEBIG
By Richard Johnston

Well, I interviewed with Bob for what must have been around 45 minutes. I don't remember everything we spoke about except a couple things. Bob asked me what I thought made a good comic. I remember the thrust of my answer: First I told him what I thought a bad comic was, and I took a chance with my answer. Onslaught was coming out, and being talked about in the comic press. I knew about it, and told Bob that my first impression of that idea was pretty anemic, and I thought taking one of your core characters and turning him evil wasn't that original when DC had done it a year earlier with Green Lantern... when they turned him into... Zero Hour, or whatever the f**k he was called.

 

ULTIMATE X-MEN TPB VOLUME 1

So, criticizing the X-Men's next big storyline, and doing it right to the face of the man in charge of the X-Men could have been a suicide move, but it wasn't. Next I brought up a story that I had read recently in a Superman book, and I explained why I thought it was so great. For historical accuracy, the story I brought up was written by Mark Waid, and it was a good one. Superman's mind had been trapped in the body of a young boy who was institutionalised (I think). But the best part was that the kid already had a Superman fixation... So Superman had a great conflict: He has to somehow alert the world that he's in this boy, when the world already thinks the kid is messed-up, and ultimately he's Superman so he can't put the kid in danger. A wonderful conflict for a guy that can push planets around, and it's the kind of story that made me a Mark Waid fan... at the time.

Another historical note: I knew Mark Waid at this time. He was one of DC's up-and-coming star writers while I was there, writing Flash and creating Impulse. I met Mark at a convention and he befriended me somewhat after I was responsible for getting his name considered for DC's guest at OZ-con... Mark attended the con, and generously brought me back an Australian Wax jacket, something the Aussie cowboys wear, from what I understand.

Getting back to it, I was able to name drop Mark in my interview with Bob and I BELIEVE Bob called Mark for a character reference at the time. I believe that I got a positive nod from Mark, which certainly couldn't have hurt me at the time, as I was previously unknown to the Marvel editorial powers-that-be.

The interview went well with Bob and I was excited, but I still didn't have the gig. Two days later I got a call from Bob asking me to come in again to meet with another editor. That editor turned out to be Mark Powers, who was coming into the X-Office to head the books under Bob's supervision. When I arrived at that interview, I learned that I was now interviewing to be the assistant editor for the X-Men, and under the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics. If you think I was overwhelmed, you'd be understating my response. It was simply amazing.

And they hired me. That was pretty damned cool.

One of the things Bob said to me in that interview was that Marvel had gone through some pretty traumatic layoffs and changes (aren't they always?), and that he wanted someone who would "bring some fire" to the row. Well, when you are asked to bring fire, and you are fortunate enough to be given that seat in which to do it, you take the mission pretty seriously. And I damned-well did.

And that's how I ended up sharing an office with the X-Men editor and the Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 Continued Here...

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