For Tommy: Ian Edginton and Joe Quesada
By Richard Johnston
kept working for CrossGen because I knew if I quit, they'd
never pay me what was outstanding and I needed to pay everyone
back what I borrowed. In the end, I simply refused to turn
in anymore work until they paid me. Within about ten minutes
of my sending the email to Bill [Roseman], I had Mark on the
phone playing both good cop and bad cop. He told me that they
wanted me to stay onboard, that I was an important part of
the CrossGen family, that they thought I was a major talent
and that they'd gotten rid of writers such as Ron Marz to
keep me. The latter wasn't even true since Ron left of his
my initial visit I'd found him a little intimidating, now
he seemed weasel-y and desperate. Just before Christmas I
received several payments that almost covered what I was owed
but of course it wasn't quite so simple. A cheque bounced
taking me way past my overdraft and on the receiving end of
a snotty phone call from the bank early one Saturday morning.
I decided to pass the grief along. I have Mark's home phone
number and gave him a wake-up call.
a moderately heated exchange, I simply told him that if the
next words out of his mouth weren't: "Ian, don't worry. You
will be getting your money wired to you first thing Monday
morning." then the last sound he would hear from me, was my
putting down the phone and we would be done as of that moment.
a gamble, but by that point I was too pissed of too care.
If he'd been in the same room, I'd have chinned him.
duly arrived. I explained that from now on, our working arrangement
would be like the exchange of spies at the Russian border.
I give them a plot (not full script), they pay me. I give
them the dialogue, they pay me. I realise this is about as
unprofessional as you can get but by this time, I think CrossGen
had forgone any right to professional behaviour. In one mildly
amusing moment, I was informed that Mark was doing this out
of good faith and that by rights they could hold me to waiting
thirty days for payment. I pointed out that thirty days would
be a luxury given that quite a few of us had been waiting
a lot longer than that to be paid. I do have to give all credit
to Bill for getting the wheels rolling and the cheques sent
of weeks ago, Bill told me to start thinking about winding
up Sojourn with issue 41. He said that the story had pretty
much run it's course and it was time to bring it to a close,
despite it's climbing back up the sales charts and being their
only top 100 ranking book. He also mentioned that Greg Land
was taking a break from the book to work on other projects.
I thought now was a good a time as ever to bow out but, after
everything that's happened, it was the astonishing promo blurb
for American Power that clinched it for me.
who haven't seen it, the cover shows a muscle-bound, gimp
type hero punching out Osama Bin Laden.
Bill if the book was actually some kind of post-modernist,
ironic joke but no, it's art... apparently.
him that if in the light of recent events, it was in questionable
taste publishing a book that could be read by the husbands,
wives and more importantly the children (it is a comic after
all) of the victims of 9/11 and the Atocha station bombing?
He said CrossGen intended it to be controversial hence the
provocative cover and copy for the prequel. I added that since
this book would not have been able to happen if 9/11 hadn't
itself happened, that CrossGen were in fact cashing in on
those people's deaths. He said no. I finally asked him if,
human being to human being, he didn't feel at least a twinge
of morality or conscience? He said, everyone's entitled to
the poor souls who died in 9/11 and at Atocha.
CG's fluctuating financial status, the way this book's been
pitched, it seems intent on appealing to the lowest common
denominator, shamelessly milking peoples tragedy and loss
to put money back into Mark Alessi pocket. He must be more
stuck for cash than anyone imagined.
this is a little off-topic and that I've based my comments
on a single picture and a paragraph of copy but this is one
of those rare moments where the real world bisects with the
comic book business and we're found wanting.
years ago, I had a real-world job working in the press office
of a small, now defunct third world environmental charity
group. We were all about saving the environment but in that
part of the world, poverty, famine and war were all part of
the mix, war especially since it was pretty much responsible
for the other two. I have seen pictures that would chill your
all for freedom of speech, but we can't let the atrocities
of the past few years be the basis for acts of cartoon violence,
however serious or well meaning the intent. It diminishes
those who lost their lives and makes caricatures out of those
who took them.
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