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WAITING FOR TOMMY: JASON LIEBIG
By Richard Johnston

As for why I was fired and did I see it coming? Yes, I saw it coming. Reasons given: Painful restructuring. I was laid-off.

The reality is I WAS laid off, but the reasons are several. I was one of Bob Harras' guys. And I WAS. He hired me, and I worked closely with Bob for years. Add to that, I was NOT an easy yes-man or team-player. Anything but. I mean, I was pretty frank with Joe... that must have helped me out the door.

The thing that probably torpedoed me is that I criticized Bill Jemas's Wolverine "origin" idea at our first editorial conference after Joe and Bill took over. ULTIMATELY, I believe that's what did me in. I was a little too honest about what I thought with him. Bill clearly has a lot of decent ideas... that's evidenced by what has happened to Marvel in the last few years. But is he a creep who has a painfully unrealistic self-image and doesn't like any real dissent? In my opinion, absolutely. And I was free and loud with my dissent during my short tenure under Bill's reign.

Whatever my feelings toward Bill & Joe were, and whether or not I was a good editor or not, the fact of the matter was that I wasn't going to happily jump on their game plan. I was going to continue to question things as I always had with Bob Harras and Mark Powers before. Now I was just doing it with TWO editor-in-chiefs: Joe & Bill. And they happened to be two people who didn't like my brand of disagreement. What they needed to forge their vision ahead were people who wouldn't fight them, but who would do their jobs.

So they let me go -- a good decision for them, and for what they were doing. And you know-- I do NOT like them. I think they're pretty immature fellas, each in their own way.

Look, Bill Jemas changed the way credits in comics are written so HIS name, the president's name, was listed with the CREATIVE TEAM of the book. That's just silly. At the time, I figured if the president of Marvel was concerned about getting his name in a comic book, his priorities HAD to be profoundly out of whack. So I found it difficult to get "on-board" with their ideas and drives. So getting rid of me (as much as I disagreed with it) was sound management at the time, because I lacked the ability at the time to put my emotions aside and do my job. I simply would never have been on their team. And in their situation, they needed team players.

RICHARD: What projects are you most proud of at Marvel? What projects never made it that you wished had?

JASON: I'm awfully proud of the Generation X Underground Special. Primarily because it shouldn't have ever existed... and I know that my championing it (and Jim Mahfood's amazing talent) are what got it made. Always lots of mold-breaking being done in comics, and I thought that stylistically that book was a wonderful book for Marvel to do, and it helped people realize that certain molds could be broken.

I'm proud of Heroes Return.. or should I say the Heroes returning to the Marvel Universe. Why am I proud? Because I was too stupid and inexperienced at the time to realize that I should keep my mouth shut. I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I honestly believe I was the first person on editorial row to scratch my head and say, "Maybe we should aggressively go after getting these characters back from the Image guys, rather than just waiting for someone to tell us we're getting them back."

I was part of a very early Saturday meeting at Marvel, an unofficial meeting where we came up with a strategy. The idea was simply to get the books back under Marvel Editorial. At the time, I felt like it was a righteous fight. And I'm proud of the fact that the Marvel Universe didn't become some fragmented thing. That may not have helped the business, but I grew up on the Marvel Universe, and it was a good fight at the time. Oh, and I still have my original sketch where I proposed that somehow the Celestials would be a cool element to the Heroes Returning. My idea. And they kept that idea through an entire editorial conference where Heroes Returned finally WAS planned. THAT'S damned cool. Because that first sketch was really quite awful.

I'm personally proud of Bishop: The Last X-Man. I'm sure people might roll their eyes, but they probably didn't read the book. The thing is, I was given the assignment to launch a Bishop solo series. A solo Bishop series isn't an intrinsically good idea. In the end, Joe Harris and I thought about it, about all of the cliched ways you could go, and finally just decided to do something we thought would be fun. I liked that book a lot, and working with Joe was a great experience. He's a talented writer and he became a good friend, too.

Speaking of which, I was awfully proud to work with Joe Harris and Enrique Breccia on a fully painted Wolverine story. It was a prelude to what would eventually become a fully-painted graphic novel, which did NOT happen. Breccia is a special talent, who has been around for decades, and it's a shame he's not utilized better in this country. I'm disappointed that the existing pages got buried... and that's why I sent out the jpegs I still had.

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

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