For Tommy: Ian Edginton and Joe Quesada
By Richard Johnston
Welcome to Waiting For Tommy's first double interview. We
have Ian Edginton, recently of Soujourn, and recently seen
walking out of CrossGen, followed by a kiss-ass kick-arse
interview with Joe Quesada, where I ask him all the questions
about how great he is.
But first, Ian. Ian's often been seen in US comics as the
guy who followed a similar writing track, in terms of franchise
types, as Warren Ellis - on Starship Troopers, The Establishment,
X-Force. Alongside a smattering of comics from most publishers,
in most franchises, he also wrote the astoundingly brilliant
Kingdom Of The Wicked from Dark Horse with Warren's old art-mate,
With his graphic novel, Scarlet Traces having finally been
published, after the collapse of Cool Beans, you'd have thought
Ian would have stayed clear of possible problematic publishers.
Of late, Edginton's been mostly seen working
yonder for CrossGen, as a freelance writer working in Britain.
A rare occurrence and no mistake. This week, he was no longer
working for CrossGen. Time to find out what gives...
JOHNSTON: Ian, how did you first begin working for CrossGen?
What led to it, what impression did you get of CrossGen, why
didn't you move to Tampa, what was the reality, and when did
problems first start?
IAN EDGINTON: I think it was back in 2000 at the San
Diego convention. I noticed the CrossGen stand but didn't
really know who they were, so wandered by to see what was
going on and introduce myself. It was the usual freelancer
routine, pressing the flesh, showing your face, making contacts
and so on.
As luck would
have it, Barbara Kesel was on the stand. She had been my editor
on Terminator: Enemy Within at Dark Horse, the first American
work I'd ever done. We'd never actually met in person so it
was a handy way of making an introduction and finding out
more about CrossGen. Barbara explained the unique set-up,
how everyone worked in-house, that you had to relocate to
Florida, that jobs were purely by invite only and only then
whenever a vacancy should arise.
It sounded intriguing
in a strange, cult-ish kind of way. I took a few copies of
their books but frankly nothing really grabbed me. I didn't
think anything more about it. Life went on.
year, on the spur of the moment I went to the Wizard World
Convention in Philadelphia. Once again there was the CrossGen
stand and yet again I sauntered by, this time around though
I got talking to Ron Marz.
a kind of comic book synchronicity, we had something in common
in that I was writing the sequel to his Batman/Aliens mini-series.
Also by then,
another mutual friend of ours, fellow Brit, inker and artist
Mike Perkins had been taken into the CrossGen fold and was
working at the offices over in Oldsmar.
Ron and I got
on like a house on fire. He explained what life was like working
in Florida and answered all my questions, especially about
how it all seemed to good to be true! As writers, we'd both
been around the block a few times and had hellish tales to
tell, but the situation at CrossGen really seemed to be on
the level. Mark Alessi was sticking his neck out, risking
his own money to genuinely try and do something different.
As such, he engendered an impressive show of loyalty and enthusiasm
from his staff.
Ron gave me his
card and asked me to send in some samples, which I duly did.
I knew there weren't any openings but nevertheless, Ron, Mike
and I all stayed in touch throughout the year and towards
the end of 2001, their emails started taking a more interesting
turn. There were heavily loaded questions such as: "If an
opening should happen to come up over here how interested
would you be?" "How soon would you be able to start?"
It was finally
revealed that I was in the running for a writers post which
I eventually landed. It was an astonishing time. A new job,
a new life in America no less! There were a million and one
things to think about, my partner, her daughter, the cat!
It was an adventure of a lifetime, scary as Hell leaving everything
and everyone behind but worth taking nonetheless.
I flew out in
early 2002. I hate flying with a passion verging on phobia
but within two hours of landing in Florida I was walking knee
deep in the warm ocean, feeling the sand between my toes and
the tension evaporating from my shoulders. Not ten feet away
there were even bloody Pelicans bobbing on the swell. I thought:
"I could get used to this!"
at the office was amazing. The stories about the walls being
lined with original Frank Frazetta and Wally Wood artwork
were all true. If you needed anything, specific pens, inks,
paper they'd be supplied for you. I prefer to work long hand,
sitting on the sofa, scribbling notes. They were going to
buy a sofa for me and install it in my office. I had an office!
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