Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Resurrections & Endings

With the news yesterday that DC Entertainment would be closing down the WildStorm and Zuda imprints, I wanted to say a few words about working with WildStorm and repeat some of the good things I've had to say about them on my Twitter stream.

Flash back to a few years ago - 2005, 2006, somewhere in there - when I was still struggling to find work in the wake of the collapse of Crossgen, where I'd been one of their stable of staff artists. The market was suddenly flooded with amazing talent looking for work, and a handful of us had fallen through the cracks in the race to sign up the big names who were now free to work at the Big Two again. Not a complaint, mind you, just the reality of the comic book industry.

(Given a choice between hiring Butch Guice for a book and hiring me, I'D even hire Butch.)

So I had gone back to working full-time in a bookstore while drawing projects for smaller publishers, and starting to think about developing my writing skills as a way to get out of the comic book industry and find a new way to be creative and make a living at the same time.

And then life intervened. After a string of calamities, I was in desperate need to pick up some paying comic book work to help with a flood of bills and expenses that the bookstore job just couldn't cover. Which is how I ended up sending emails to nearly every editor I still knew asking as calmly as I could manage if there were any fill-in issues or mini-series sitting around that they might be willing to give me a shot on.

One of the people I contacted was Ben Abernathy, who I'd worked with on the HELLBOY short stories I'd done with Mike Mignola. Ben had gone from Assistant Editor at Dark Horse to the head Editor at WildStorm. Like most freelancers I know, I really like Ben. He's always been very positive about my work, and an incredibly nice guy to boot.

I didn't know it at the time, but Ben was looking for an artist for a comic book based on the show SUPERNATURAL and he wanted someone who was a little different and not afraid of using shadows.

In other words, someone like me.

They tried me out on an issue of STORMWATCH:PHD first, and then asked me to draw the first SUPERNATURAL mini-series. And suddenly, my career was alive again, and stronger than ever. I've been working pretty much non-stop since that issue of STORMWATCH, even getting a chance to work on DOCTOR WHO, which has always been my dream job in comics. And none of it would have happened without Ben Abernathy and the rest of the folks at WildStorm.

So I'm a little sad to hear that WildStorm will be shutting down. I liked their books (some of which we're assured will be folded into DC's lineup), and I like the people who worked there (some which we're assured will be folded into DC's other divisions). They took chances with the material, whether it was putting an artist like Sean Phillips on WILDCATS, or giving creators an unprecedented amount of space to create amazing projects like PLANETARY. I sincerely hope the WildStorm spirit will continue on, even without their logo on the books, and that everyone who works there lands softly on a well-playing cushy job, whether at DC or elsewhere.

WildStorm is dead! Long live WildStorm!

So let me just say a public thank you to Ben and the gang for bringing my career back from the dead, especially Hank, Kristy, Scott, and of course, Jim Lee. They were all a pleasure to work with, and I hope to do so again.

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