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CrossGen Cleans Some House...
The War Finishes Several Titles...

Over the past few weeks, CrossGen Comics has endured a lot of metaphorical bad weather. While denying overt financial troubles and fending off accusations of failing to pay their freelancers, the beleaguered publisher underwent a major restructuring.

A promised new round of investment turned out to be CrossGen President Mark Alessi himself. At the same time, each aspect of the company's business became separate divisions, so that should one fall, the others won't necessarily follow. And of course, many employees previously considered under exclusive contract were given the choice to seek work with other publishers. Among those were former Green Lantern scribe Ron Marz (returning to DC for a six-issue stint) and, incredibly, George Perez.

The veteran artist later worked out an agreement to still do some work for CrossGen, but he will no longer be involved in The War, nor, by his own account, will he be drawing Solus any longer.

Today, CrossGen announced the reason for that, one long suspected by those of us who had followed the books. Solus, among others, will see their final issues released in January, leading directly into the events of the near company-wide crossover event, The War.

Perez' book was obvious for the chopping block, not because of quality nor even for sales, though CrossGen keeps sales data pretty close to its vest. Focusing on the apparent source of the CrossGen "sigil," the mark of power that tied many titles together, Solus started with an expiration date - once it provided the answers to the three-year mystery of the CrossGen Universe, it would serve its purpose.

But some of the other titles are not so obvious. For instance, Alessi's pet book Meridian, a centerpiece of CrossGen's educational program and possible jewel in an animation deal, will end in January. Several other titles thought to be key to CrossGen's publishing strategy will join Meridian in oblivion, though Bill Rosemann hints that some will return with a different status quo.

Here's the full list of titles ending, as sent out by Rosemann:

  • CRUX #33
  • THE FIRST #37
  • MERIDIAN #44
  • MYSTIC #43
  • THE PATH #23
  • RUSE #26
  • SCION #44
  • SIGIL #43
  • SOLUS #8

    Some obvious, some not. Reading between the lines, it's clear that "the New CrossGen," as Rosemann calls it, will look more like a bunch of completely unrelated titles, as opposed to the vaguely cohesive universe it had been before.

    Among the survivors are Chuck Dixon's Brath, the lead character of which recently lost his sigil. With the success of the historically-based El Cazador (and the potential success of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), I'd bet that the barbarian title slightly repositions itself, forgets that Brath ever had extra power, and just admits that the characters are Celts and Romans.

    A similar fate may befall Way of the Rat, the best Jackie Chan movie the actor never made. With film director Chuck Russell looking to adapt it to the silver screen, it needs to quietly brush away lingering ties to a larger mythos. (Though The Path apparently takes place on the same planet, it gets the axe.)

    My personal favorite, Route 666, also continues, along with, obviously, the Code 6 books independently produced outside the CrossGen bullpen. That's a very good thing, because The Crossovers rocks. And I've got a soft spot for Snake Plissken.

    So has CrossGen weathered the storm? The War should be interesting, if unfortunately sharing the same title as the way Marvel destroyed its New Universe back in the eighties. Rosemann promises that "…the stage will be set for the next generation of adventure."

    Whatever it may be, stay tuned here and we'll let you know.

    Derek McCaw

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