FOR TOMMY: JASON LIEBIG
By Richard Johnston
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
hired me. That was pretty damned cool.
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.
how I ended up sharing an office with the X-Men editor and
the Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief.
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