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Sunday, November 09, 2003

Epic Explanation -- I made a joke about Epic earlier today, but a comment from Julio Diaz has me thinking perhaps I should explain a bit further my take on the situation.

I was among the elite corps of Internet Geeks Marvel asked to pitch for Epic in the early days of the program. I was sent a series breakdown written by Bill Jemas and asked to work something up.

In my opinion, Jemas's idea for a series ("The People's Thor") was one of the dumbest goddamned things I've ever read. After talking to a veteran pro with much Marvel experience who happens to be a friend of mine, I really gave this some thought.

Yes, I am a lifelong comics fan. Started reading them in 1972 when I was all of six years old. For the past half-decade I have devoted considerable time, energy and money to writing about comics for Silver Bullet Comics, Comic Book Galaxy and now on my li'l weblog. When the biggest comics publisher in the United States comes calling, it really forces you to look at what you really want to do.

I turned them down, politely but honestly saying that I thought Jemas's proposal was not something I would be able to work with. What I didn't tell them was that their sophistry in contacting comics journalists to write their books had put into (pardon the pun) stark relief the fact that I don't particularly want to write comics, and certainly not superhero comics. So I suppose for that, I am grateful.

I don't feel particularly sorry for the people who did get sucked into Epic. First of all, the initial description of the proposal sounded for all the world like Bill and Joe standing at the bus station waiting for the unsuspecting fresh meat to get off the bus. The nicest thing I can say about this aspect is that they clearly were taking advantage of naive, hopeful, starry-eyed young would-be creators. Welcome to the American comics industry, everybody.

Further, while I had the benefit of Jemas's retarded series description to clue me in, Marvel's history in regard to the treatment of its creative people is very public, and very poor. One did not have to be the editor of a newspaper about comics or a newspaper columnist who writes about about comics to know this entire thing was a disaster waiting to happen. And clearly, even if you were one of those two things, the specious lure of working for Marvel Comics was too much to counter common sense and established history.

In short, when I say the people I feel sorriest for are the children, I really mean John Jackson Miller and Mike Sangiacomo. And all the other suckers like them that should have known better. It looks, from what I've read, like Miller's comics might not suck as much as I would have suspected, so good on him. I hope he takes what he can while he can before the inevitable shithammer falls on him. Because decades of observation have taught me that it may take years (hi, Stan!), but sooner or later Marvel fucks everyone. EVERYONE. It's the nature of the beast. And if nothing else, the Epic creators should have remembered that if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.


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