'Amused Numbness:' Waid's fantastic 72 hour roller coaster ride

Wed, June 18th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

[Mark Waid]It's certainly been an interesting 72 hours or so for writer Mark Waid. For those of you who've been sleeping under a rock, we'll recap.

Sunday night Newsarama confirmed a rumor that began spreading about Mark Waid being fired by Marvel's Bill Jemas off of "Fantastic Four." Shortly there after Marvel's Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada responded with an open-letter that can be read here. Those two events really fired comic fans up. Immediately forums all over the Internet erupted in conversation regarding the firing. On our own Marvel Comics CBR Forum, threads about the firing were extremely active and it got so bad over on Newsarama that it overloaded their current server and pretty much took them off line. The majority of the conversation supported Mark Waid, wishing the firing hadn't happened, with a great many calling for the heads of Messieurs Jemas and Quesada. A news story hasn't generated reaction like this amongst comic fans in quite some time.

So, you have to wonder, what has Mark Waid's state of mind been since confirming the news? How does he feel about this reaction? We caught up with Waid to get his feelings on the situation.

"First off, thanks for using the word 'confirmed'; I'm getting weary of reading here and there about how I 'announced' or 'broke' any news given the actual chain of events - Newsarama heard the rumor from God knows where, it spread throughout the Heroes World convention like wildfire that weekend since that's how Mike [Wieringo, artist on 'Fantastic Four'] found out(!), and Sunday night I confirmed once the horse was out of the barn and down the road.

"My general state of mind has been sort of an amused numbness as Mike and I turn our attention towards exploring the future."

Yes, Waid has been dropping by the various fan forums, reading all your posts and sitting there in a state of general amazement.

"It's amazing," said Waid. "It's like being Tom Saywer at your own funeral. It's like the last five minutes of 'It's A Wonderful Life.'

"I'm genuinely overwhelmed. Let me take this opportunity to thank all our well-wishers everywhere from the bottom of my heart. For the rest of my life, I'll never forget how good all those kind words felt as they literally poured into message boards and into my e-mail in-box by the hundreds."

The reaction from fans has even started to get a bit organized. Late yesterday a petition was begun with the hope of getting Waid reinstated as writer of "Fantastic Four." This was news to Waid. We asked him would he return to the title if Marvel were to do a bit of a turn around following the fan response.

"Really? A petition? Returning is very unlikely, and what fun would it be to do the book without Mike?, but I do appreciate the sentiment."

Since Sunday night Waid has been in touch with Marvel, but really has nothing more to say on the subject and is looking forward to moving on.

"[Marvel] made a follow-up call Monday to tell me in general that doors were still open to me at Marvel, and I said that I appreciated the thought, but right now, I have other projects elsewhere that demand my attention. In the meantime, neither side should waste time looking back. Onward and upward."

And what advice does Waid have for the next writer who'll take over the "Fantastic Four?"

"Make sure the book has equal mixtures of Stan and Jack. And listen to Tom Brevoort, still one of the best editors in comics."

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