|Mark Waid with Gorilla friends Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel|
Mark Waid has what many fans would assume is his dream assignment, writing DC Comics' "JLA." He's helped found a creator-owned imprint, Gorilla Comics, where he's writing "Empire." And he's working on "Gatecrasher" for Black Bull and his "JLA" special, "Heaven's Ladder" is eagerly awaited by fans.
So Wednesday's news that he was walking away from all of that for an exclusive contract with CrossGen Comics in Florida as their senior writer caught many fans by surprise.
"I've been hankering for a long, long time to get back into management and administration somewhere in the field," Waid told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. "I want to do all I can to help make sure comics don't go the way of the automat and the drive-in movie in the coming years, and there's much more I can do from behind that desk than from behind this one. [Company president and CEO] Mark Alessi's the real deal -- a man with passion AND financing AND a plan -- and he sold me. I'm anxious to see what we can do together."
While many fans have at least sampled CrossGen's initial four series, the jury is still decidedly out on them, but Waid is extremely enthusiastic about the company and its potential.
"You need three things to effect change -- motivation, a mission, and means. Marvel and DC on most days score one for three, the major indies have the first two but not the third -- as you'll see in the near future, CrossGen is building momentum like you wouldn't believe."
As for his current projects, they won't be vanishing overnight. Although CrossGen typically wants its creators under exclusive contract, Waid has some leeway regarding his other projects.
"'Empire's' guaranteed at least through issue six, perhaps further depending on how things go. And I'll certainly fulfill my 'Gatecrasher' contract through the end of that book's first year. … And you can rest assured that unless I'm hit by a bus, I'll be the 'JLA' writer through 2001 -- almost two years' worth of stories!"
Waid's hinted-at next Gorilla project has been put on a back burner.
"'Stellarwoman's Boyfriend, Bob Jones,' has been about six years in the making; another year or two won't hurt it."
As for where Waid's current Gorilla project is: "'Empire' #2 will be out sometime in late September, with #3 hot on its heels."