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Thursday, February 12, 2009


For Massive Comic Geeks Only

99% of the folks who occasionally read Hairshirt can go ahead and skip this post. Seriously, just stop reading. What the fuck are you still doing here? Go pretend to read Huffington Post or something.

Okay, I'm going to assume those of you still with me here are geeks like myself, so I've got a geek question for you. No, really, this question is about as geeky as "What's the Klingon word for 'love-child'?"

The New York Comic-Con was last weekend and, while I resisted the mild urge to just give in and embrace my destiny as a Hulk vs Solomon Grundy-debating fanboy and actually attend the goddamned thing, I did follow the convention-related news on the various comic sites I frequent.

One bit of news coming out of the convention was that an artist whose work I've been enjoying at DC has signed an exclusive contract with Marvel. (For any non-geeks who didn't heed the above warning, an exclusive contract generally means that the artist/writer in question can't work for the other of the two majors for a given term, usually a couple of years, which actually goes by pretty quickly in comic book years.)

My question comes from an article I read today in which the artist talks about the switch. He cites his slavering love for the characters and his deep, deep roots with the company, stemming from his days as a fetus, when his mother would insert issues of Uncanny X-Men into the womb for his reading enjoyment.

This article started me thinking about all the very many similar articles I've read in the past. Whenever someone signs an exclusive with one of the two majors, they invariably talk about how superior the new company is, how the new company's characters are the ones nearest and dearest to their hearts, how the assignment they've been given is the one they've been waiting for all their professional lives. Then, in a few years, they're doing work at the other company again, which I suppose must be absolute torture for them and their spirit must be entirely broken.

Why do none of these guys ever say, "Yeah, Joe Quesada offered me an assload of money, so I'm over there for awhile" or "The reason is that Dan DiDio pissed on my shoes at the DC Christmas party"?

I'd just like a more honest explanation once in a goddamn while, which I know might be a lot to expect from people who draw giant-breasted women who fight crime in bikinis and high-heels.

It's the rare writer or comic-book artist for whom it is all about the character.

Remember the insipid creation of Image Comics in the 90's? Fanboys all over would have been perfectly happy watching McFarlane do Spider-Man or Dale Keown do The Hulk or Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio handle the X-Men for the next decade. But I think we were all glad to see Rob Leifeld leave. That guy sucked.

But they left because Marvel wasn't paying them enough and they wanted the licensing that came with creating their own characters. Or so they said.

All of them should admit to their real reasons behind who they work for. 1) The want to work for one of the big boys and it would be an honor to follow in the footsteps of Kirby, Romita and Byrne. 2) Whomever pays them the most is the company that they have always wanted to work for. 3) Creating their own characters is the ultimate goal because that's where the biggest money is.

Feh. I dunno.
I tried reading this, thinking that maybe being married to a massive comic geek might make this post relevant to me.

Hoping the pasta at the new Italian place works out for you, though.
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