Scott Beatty Takes Over Ruse...

After a tumultuous year and a half that substantially changed CrossGen Comics' approach toward creators, Mark Waid has left the building, quitting his last remaining title, Ruse. Actually, Waid literally left the building months ago, after growing uncomfortable in his job as writing supervisor at the Florida-based publisher.

Before that move, all creators had to work in the CrossGen compound in Tampa exclusively. This policy caused many writers and artists to uproot from across the country to take part in the grand experiment of CrossGen founder Mark Alessi. Waid dropped a high-profile gig writing JLA at DC to work on Crux, Sigil and his beloved Ruse, as well as oversee the work others were doing.

At the same time, CrossGen brought George Perez on board, allowing the artist time away from his exclusivity clause in order to work on the long-awaited JLA/Avengers cross-over.

When Waid stepped down from his behind-the-scenes duties, he, too, was allowed to work outside of the compound while still telling the adventures of Simon Archard and Emma Bishop in Ruse. Marvel quickly hired him to take over Fantastic Four, though his first issue of that title has yet to ship. Rumors burned hotly that Waid was unhappy at CrossGen, fanned by the writer's refusal to accept a Harvey nomination for his work on Ruse.

Both sides denied any problems, but there was no denying Waid's drifting away. Crux and Sigil transitioned over to the pen of Chuck Dixon. And now with issue #13 of Ruse, that title will be written by Scott Beatty, whom Dixon recommended after working with him on Joker: Last Laugh.

Waid and CrossGen cite the usual "creative differences." Ruse had always been described as an equal collaboration among writer and artists. " Since the team wanted Ruse to go in a different direction than I did, we decided to part ways," Waid commented. "It's unfortunate, but these things happen in a dynamic creative environment." He went on to praise Beatty as a writer he respects. "Obviously, Mark helped to set the bar very high on RUSE," noted Beatty, repaying the compliment.

Aside from last fall's Joker cross-over, Beatty has also penned Robin: Year One, Robin, and several Secret Files for DC. He will begin work on Batman: Gotham Knights starting with issue #33.

Interestingly enough, Beatty will work out of his home in Pennsylvania, as CrossGen has him writing only the one title. Is CrossGen going to become more like the Big Two, de-centralizing its artistic staff?

As for the future of Ruse in particular, penciller Butch Guice offered, "the whole team is excited to welcome Scott Beatty aboard. He comes very highly regarded by Chuck and others, and from what we've seen so far, the book won't miss a beat."

Maybe not. But we're going to miss Waid, and though we'll try to give Beatty the benefit of the doubt, some of us are still stinging from that Joker thing.

Derek McCaw


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